This week, the Accessible Content ePortal (ACE) service passed a major milestone.
The ACE collection of accessible books for Ontario academic library users with print disabilities has surpassed 15,000 titles. Each of these titles is held by at least one of our 18 participating universities and 21 colleges, and made accessible with the help of our digitization partner, Internet Archive Canada. This collection has grown consistently since the service launched in 2013, with a 50% growth in the last two years.
ACE supports the research needs of verified students and faculty with print disabilities at Laurier. This service empowers users with immediate access to thousands of accessible texts, fostering the process of serendipitous discovery and learning. Laurier users of ACE can request materials held in print by the Laurier library. These requests are then managed by ACE staff, who work with Internet Archive to digitize the books, convert them into five accessible formats, and make them available through the Scholars Portal Books platform to all participating institutions that hold a copy locally. By building a shared repository, ACE has enabled each participant to access materials that have already been digitized upon request by other institutions across the province, minimizing duplication of labour and building sustainable progress towards eliminating barriers to access. This initiative has helped participating institutions to comply with Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) regulations.
The ACE collection is hosted on Scholars Portal Books, which went live with a new, redesigned platform in early July. The new platform makes it easier for ACE users at Ontario universities to find and use accessible copies of e-books that their library has purchased, further expanding the possibilities for serendipitous discovery and immediate access for Ontario students and researchers.
To learn more about how titles are added to ACE, watch a behind the scenes video.