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E. H. Butler Library, Buffalo State, The State University of New York

Accessibility: Accessible PDF Exchange for Course Shells Initiative

This guide publicly documents our accessibility guidelines, along with our EIT accessibility policies.

Accessible PDF Exchange for Course Shells Initiative


ornamental image of physical paper documents

During the transition from Blackboard to D2L Brightspace, E. H. Butler Library is providing a form to enter any PDF content you might be using in your course shell and we will try to locate the resource in our library's electronic collection. We are also interested in getting you library resources in accessible formats for your personal use. Do you have an article or book chapter PDF you've been using for years? Let us know and we will try to provide you with: 

1.) An updated accessible PDF version when available and when copyright is not infringed.
2.) A permalink to the library collection to access the resource. This will assist us in keeping track of usage. Some eBook content may have limited concurrent user restrictions based on licensing. Additionally, Permalinks are reliable and almost never change.
NOTE: Not all content may be available in our electronic collection, but we are hoping to provide a measurable improvement in accessibility! 

***For content that we do not subscribe to, we do not suggest you receive the resource via interlibrary loan and place within your course shell for your students' consumption. If you are looking for a personal copy that is accessible, we can attempt to locate the source through our ILL system.

Why PDF Exchange? 

If there are old scans and articles that you are using in your course shell, we can try to find you a more recent version. There are a several reasons for this initiative: 

  • A more recent PDF or other document is more likely to have been remediated to be accessible for screen readers. 
  • Utilizing a library permalink allows our acquisitions team to better gage usage. Usage analytics assists us with collection development. Under-used resources can be subject to cancellation. Butler Library is committed to providing access to top resources while maximizing efficiency. 
  • Providing students with permalinks to Butler Library's electronic resources enhances student discovery of the resources available through E. H. Butler Library, particularly, the library research databases and ALL-Search discovery system. 
What to Expect: 
  • Once you fill out the form, Butler Library's acquisitions team will attempt to locate the article or chapter in our electronic resources collection. If we have subscription access, we will provide you with an up to date PDF and a permalink to the library database where the resource is located. 
  • We can assist you with creating a link and/or document embedded in your Brightspace course shell. 
What if My Document is Not in the Butler Library Collection? 
  • Unfortunately, we may not have access to your resource. If we cannot provide you with an up to date link, we will attempt to find a more recent PDF. We will conduct this search within the acceptable standards of Copyright and Fair Use. Providing course material through interlibrary loan is prohibited. Interlibrary loan is available to find accessible versions of articles and chapters for personal use.
  • Typically, short stories and other works of fiction will most likely not be in our collection.
  • Scholarly journal articles, academic monograph chapters, and reference entries have the best chance of being within our subscriptions. 
  • We are happy to assist you in finding alternatives to the resources you are utilizing if you choose to replace your current content. 
What We Cannot Do: 
  • Unfortunately, we do not remediate PDFs or create an accessible version using OCR. Although, we will attempt to find a recent version and contact the vendor to inquire if there are options. 
  • We cannot break copyright or change formats of existing resources. 
  • We cannot improve the accessibility of documents, web spaces, textbooks, and other resources created by Buffalo State faculty, staff, or students. For this please contact Student Accessibility Services for potential assistance. 

For more information and questions, please contact Chris Hulsman, electronic & educational resources librarian.

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E. H. Butler Library, SUNY Buffalo State
1300 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14222
Phone: (716) 878 6300
Fax: (716) 878-3134
Accessibility Policy