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HathiTrust Participates in Accessible Materials Grant

Federating Repositories of Accessible Learning Materials for Higher Education (FRAME), a two-year project funded by a $1,000,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the University of Virginia, aims to address challenges faced by students with print disabilities when accessing academic materials. Students with print disabilities require text that has been reformatted for screen readers, text-to-speech software, or other forms of audio delivery, often with human intervention. Without collaboration across campuses, wasted effort and delayed service are certain.

HathiTrust is one of three digital repositories serving on the grant, along with Bookshare and Internet Archive. With a federated/aggregated central discovery interface to be created at UVA called EMMA (Educational Materials Made Accessible), the repositories will provide a network of secure storage and delivery for remediated materials. The grant outcomes will reduce duplicate remediation efforts across participating universities, enable cumulative improvement of accessible texts, and decrease the turnaround time for delivering those texts to disabilities services offices on behalf of students and faculty.

The pilot group funded by this grant includes six other universities with a history of leadership on accessibility: George Mason University, Texas A&M University, the University of Illinois, Northern Arizona University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Vanderbilt University (current HathiTrust members in boldface). The joint work under the grant will reduce duplicate remediation efforts across participating universities.

HathiTrust Executive Director, Mike Furlough, says, “We are pleased to be a part of this project. The need for accessible materials is so great that  the staff in our universities who support students sometimes struggle to locate and provide materials in the most timely manner. This project will help their students get the remediated materials they need and reduce a great deal of unnecessary duplication of work. HathiTrust is eager to support discovery and download for a wider range of accessible formats from its collection."