SOAS University of London

SOAS Library

Accessibility when using Library e-resources

File formats to look out for when researching & accessing/downloading materials.

The purpose here is to describe some of the benefits for each of the file formats and also certain things to look out for

HTML
  • Most flexible
  • No accessible limitations
  • Background Colours can be changed
  • Text Colour can be changed
  • Font can be changed
  • Font size can be changed
  • Can be read by a screen reader
PDF
  • Text Based PDF
    Background Colour can be changed
    Text Colour can be changed
    Can be read by a screen reader

  • Image Based PDF
    Background Colour cannot be changed
    Text Colour cannot be changed
    Cannot be read by a screen reader

  • General
    Pages are distinguished and matches closely with the feel of a book
    No adjustment or reconstruction can be made
DOC/X
  • Create structured documents
  • Text Colour can be changed
  • Can be read by a screen reader
  • Background Colour can be changed
  • Font styles and Font sizes can be changed

For specific cases, please refer back to the library team (email libenquiry@soas.ac.uk) so that a discussion can be had with the publisher

Database Comparison

For some journals, you may find that they exist on multiple databases. The different databases may offer the same article in different formats or provide a more accessible version over another database. For instance, JSTOR offers all available articles as PDF downloads. Often this is an image PDF but the text is selectable. As it is predominantly an image, the background colour cannot be changed. You may find that the same article exists on the EBSCO Host as a full text-based PDF.

Invest time in familiarising yourself with the appropriate journals for your area of study and what the best database to access them from. For more information about how to find relevant resources you can arrange an appointment with one of our subject specific librarians who can assist you further.

Further support

For information about the Library support available to SOAS students with disabilities please see Disability Support webpages