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:


    With Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) 3.0 or more recent, full-document downloads can be read by screen readers

    For more info, see Adobe Digital Editions FAQs at:

    Click “How do I use it with screen reading technology?

    To upgrade to the newest version of Adobe Digital Editions, proceed as if to install Adobe Digital Editions, and it will detect that you’re upgrading:

    1. From your computer, go to
    2. Scroll down and click: “Download Adobe Digital Editions ›
    3. Follow the steps as prompted


    Tips for using JAWS software with ebrary Accessibility Mode

    The following are “best practices” from advanced users of JAWS with ebrary’s accessibilty mode:

    Begin searches as follows:

    • Select CTRL HOME
    • Arrow down
    • Go to “Skip Navigation”
    • Then use either arrows or CTRL F to reach the desired link.

    To get to the Links list view:

    • Select INS F7

    Note, once you successfully select a page number, and the page loads, you need to press ESC (escape key) to get to the text on that page.