Improving Access

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Public Access Computer Management is a great way to improve access in the library. Also important are Multi-Lingual Access (supporting your ethnically diverse community) and universal design. It is important that resources available in libraries and schools are accessible to all learners. The U. S. Department of Education explains, “Making learning experiences accessible to all learners requires universal design, a concept well established in the field of architecture, where all modern public buildings, including schools, are designed to be accessible by everyone. Principles and guidelines have been established for universal design in education based on decades of research and are known as Universal Design for Learning (UDL). The UDL principles reflect the way students take in and process information” (Rose & Meyer, 2102). Because students take in and process information in many different ways, libraries and schools can utilize available technology to allow for equal access to content. There is a great deal of information that now only appears in digital format, and it is imperative that it is accessible by all learners.

Success Stories

  • PictureAustralia
  • Libraries Australia
  • MusicAustralia

Vendors/Products We Should Know About

If you would like to recommend a vendor/product, please sign your name to the recommendation so that we know it's not from a vendor. An explanation of why you like this vendor/product would be great too!

Kurzweil 3000 is a reading software program that is utilized at the school where I work. The software is installed on many computers in the library on campus and students are provided with usernames and passwords Students who have learning disabilities, vision impairments, and other disabilities are able to utilize the software in numerous ways. Often, we provide students with electronic versions of textbooks, with the publisher’s permission, for students to use within the program. Students can scan in documents to be read to them and they can read from the World Wide Web. There are many other useful applications for the software, so I encourage others to explore this software at the official Kurzweil 3000 website. -Amy Snively, Fairmont, WV

Remote Access

  • Juniper Networks SSL VPNs Enables seamless remote access to electronic, web based resources. No user or resource tables to maintain. Clustering ability enables redundancy, scalablilty. Walkthrough w/ screenshots: J. Murrey Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
  • EZProxy - An excellent product widely used among libraries

Z39.50 search protocol enables remote searching of a catalogue. Examples of useful catalogues that can be searched via this are AGRICOLA, (AGRICOLA Z39.50 help pages), US Library of Congress, (Library of Congress Z39.50 help pages), also commercial hosts such as OVID or EBSCO offer Z39.50 gateway to many hosted databases. A desktop application that is capable of performing a Z3950 search is BookWhere. This product is available in its own right or comes embedded within Reference Manager.

Many federated search engines use Z39.50 and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) web calls to catalogues and database backends. This removes the problem of changes in presentation from record structure, which stays consistent.


  • RedLightGreen -- Book search with citation storage and local library hooks.

Blogs/Websites to Watch

  • OPLIN Research Databases Columbus, OH
  • TechEssence.Info

Specific Blog Posts/Articles to Check Out

  • OCLC Pilots Traditional Libraries into Web Services by Barbara Quint, InfoToday NewsBreaks, July 5, 2005. Discusses a series of pilot projects (eSerials, reference services, and book sales) that "will expand OCLC’s Open WorldCat project into a full-featured, Web-integrated library service."
  • Opening up OpenURLs with Autodiscovery by Daniel Chudnov, Richard Cameron, Jeremy Frumkin, Ross Singer and Raymond Yee, in Ariadne, April 2005.
  • Electronic journals and link resolver implementation by David Younghusband. Serials 2005 18(1) 64-69.