Current options to have ebrary books read aloud – overview

Currently we have several options to have ebrary books read aloud:

  • Open a book online in the ebrary interface and use a screen reader such as JAWS, NVDA, or VoiceOver.
    • Most users who require text to speech are already familiar with a particular screen reader.
    • When reading an ebrary book online, the default mode is not screen-readable text.  You need to use a screen reader such as JAWS, NVDA, or VoiceOver to detect and select the option for screen-readable text.
    • To turn on screen-readable-text mode, have the screen reader start reading the ebrary page.  It will “read” an option to view in screen-readable-text format.  Once that is turned on, the text of the ebrary book can be read by the screen reader.
    • For additional details, see: more info
  • Or, do a full download of the ebrary book, if possible.  Then read the downloaded book in Adobe Digital Editions version 3 or later.  The displayed text will be readable by programs such as JAWS, NVDA, or VoiceOver.
  • Or, do a print to PDF of a particular page range of the ebrary book, then try using it with Kurzweil 3000 standalone, a popular OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and “read aloud” program.
    • We do not yet certify nor guarantee that a particular ebrary PDF will work with Kurzweil 3000, but we know it works on many of our PDFs – it depends on how the PDF file was delivered to us from the publisher.  Free trials of Kurzweil 3000 standalone are available for download off the web.
    • ebrary PDFs are “image PDFs”, so the first step in having one read aloud is to convert the picture of letters into decipherable letters. To do this, use an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) program.

ebrary plans to offer epub format in the future, which will provide flowable text and will allow for additional read-aloud options.


Using a 3rd-party text-to-speech screen reader in the online ebrary interface

Officially supported/certified by ebrary:
  • JAWS 15 on IE 11
  • VoiceOver on Safari (latest versions)

Not yet certified

  • NVDA, but works fairly smoothly
  • Firefox (accessibility issues in latest version)
  • Chrome (low support for screen readers)
  • Non-keyboard input (e.g. gesture or voice)
  • Turning accessibility mode on and off

Accessibility mode can be turned on and off in the following ways:

  • Using a screen reader in the patron interface
  • By contacting
The following areas of the ebrary interface are screen-reader accessible:
  • Global navigation
  • Remote authentication
  • ebrary Detail Page
  • Reader features and functions
  • Help (for Detail Page and Reader only)
  • Session timeout
  • Special characters and equations don’t always render the same as in standard ebook (due to plain-text translation of ebook content)
  • Session timeout is 20 hours in accessibility mode (rather than 1 hour)
  • Instructions to turn accessibility on/off are read only when navigating to Detail Page or Reader using keyboard, or going to URL directly (but not when using mouse)
  • Selected radio button and checkbox is not being read on IE (reads in Safari)
  • Certain instructions are read twice on IE (reads once on Safari)
  • Toolbar is re-read after patron activates Share Link or Cite on IE (not re-read on Safari)
  • Certain elements are read as clickable in VoiceOver when they are not (known issue with Safari)

For JAWS-specific tips, see:


    Admin: Different terminology for your ebrary site identifier

    For your ebrary site, there is only one unique identifier:  your ebrary site identifier. It is the part of the URL to your ebrary site that is unique to your institution.

    For example, if your URL is:

    Then “hometownschool” is your ebrary site identifier.


    Discovery systems may ask for your ebrary site identifier by a different label:

    • OCLC asks for “Channel ID” or “Linking ID” or ”Provider ID
    • Summon and 360 Link ask for “Custom ebrary database URL

    For all of these, it is your ebrary site identifier they are asking for, e.g. “hometownschool”.  In some cases, Summon and 360 Link want the entire URL, e.g.

    Admins: An overview of PDA and Loans

    PDA stands for Patron Driven Acquisition.  It is sometimes referred to as DDA – Demand Driven Acquistition

    • The key feature of PDA is being able to provide a broader set of titles for your patrons – without having to purchase all those titles up front.
    • No distinction is made to your patrons about whether or not you’ve already purchased a title – they just know it is a title  available to them.
    • You can restrict the set of titles in your PDA collection as narrowly or broadly as you like – the PDA collection you make available should only contains titles you are happy to have purchased/loaned should they encounter sufficient usage.
    • We provide MARC records for all the titles in your active PDA collections so that you can make those titles discoverable.
    • Untriggered PDA discoverable titles will show as “Limited-user Title” until the title is triggered for loan or purchase, regardless of the purchasing model you’ve chosen (multi-user preferred, or single user).
    • Before your PDA account can be activated, you will need to allocate PDA funds via your sales rep or
    • Your PDA account is set to either purchase only single-user licenses, or to purchase the highest-user license available for each book:
      • If you request single-user-purchases, then every PDA-triggered purchase will be purchased as single-user.
      • If you request highest-user license available, then every PDA-triggered purchase will be purchased as the highest-user license available for that book:
        • if available as multi-user, it will purchase as that;
        • if not, but available as 3user, it will purchase as that;
        • if not, it will purchase as single-user.

    Loans refer to short-term loans of ebrary titles.  Loans work much like PDA except that “sufficient usage” of a title causes it to be loaned first, not purchased. Features of Loans:

    • A loaned title is available as a single-user title for the duration of the loan period – the title can be used by different patrons during the loan period, but just one patron at a time.
    • A loaned title cannot be full-document downloaded
    • A loaned title can be copied, printed, and page-range downloaded just like a purchased title.
    • Profiles can be set for 1-day or 1-week loans
      • 1-day loans are typically charged at 10% of single-user list price
      • 1-week loans are typically charged at 15% of single-user list price
      • But rates do vary by publisher
    • Profiles can be set to loan up to 3 times
    • The cost of the loans are not deducted from purchase price if the title is purchased.
    • If the profile is set up as PDA+Loan, then after the max number of loans have been exhaused, additional sufficient use will cause the title to be purchased.
    • If the profile is set up as just Loan, then after the max number of loans, the title will be removed from future loan consideration.
    • The email address(es) listed in the profile AND in the fund code assigned to the profile (if there is one) will be notified by email on a daily basis of all loans initiated (if there are new loans to report).  The admin can at that point choose whether to:

    a. Make no changes regarding a loaned title
    b. Purchase a title outright (thereby preempting the cost of future loans)
    c. Remove it from the profile’s active collection (thereby making it no longer available for loans or PDA purchase)

    • Loans are not available for Corporate or Government sites due to publisher restrictions

    ebrary MARC auto-update for September 2014

    ebrary MARC record pages were auto-updated on 2014-09-25.  And the OCLC numbers have been added for new-to-ebrary titles.

    If your ebrary MARC records page did not auto-update on this date, it is most likely because you had manually updated earlier in the month.

    You can manually update your ebrary MARC records page at any time by clicking the “Update MARC Data” button.  If there have been any changes since the previous dated/time-stamped line, a new dated/time-stamped line will be created with the additions and deletions since then

    Note, we post information about significant additions to and deletions from ebrary subscription collections in the category:  “Content News”.  RSS feeds are available for Platform News, MARC News, and Content News.