Authorized User FAQ

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General Questions

What if a publisher denies my request for a file or a permission? By signing the Authorized User agreement, am I waiving any exemptions or defenses I might be able claim under U.S. copyright law in creating an alternative text for a student?
A publisher denial of a request is simply that, a denial of a request. The publishers that participate in Access Text do so because they want to help put accessible texts in the hands of students. A publisher may have reasons for issuing a simple denial, and those reasons may or may not have any bearing on the legality of any particular DSS action. If a publisher denies a request and the DSS seeks a general explanation or further information from the publisher regarding its position, it is recommended that the DSS office contact the publisher, and take the publisher’s position into account in deciding how to proceed.
How much will it cost?
Basic service is free for qualifying schools. The annual membership fee for the expanded service package is $250 and the membership year spans for one year from the date that your account application is approved.
How does this affect state laws requiring publishers to provide files for free?
The membership fee covers operating costs and additional services provided by the AccessText Network. Publishers will still accept requests for files pursuant to the various state laws in effect.
What publishers are involved?
The eight publishers providing initial support are Pearson, Cengage, McGraw-Hill, Wiley, Elsevier, WW Norton, Macmillan, and CQ Press, who account for 9 out of 10 textbooks purchased. Additional member publishers are FA Davis, Springer, Jones & Bartlett & Lynne Rienner Publishers.
Who provided the initial funding for this system?
The eight charter publisher members provided the initial funding for the project in cooperation with the Association of American Publishers (AAP).
When will more publishers be added?
We will be bringing more publishers online over time. If you are a publisher interested in joining AccessText please go to for more information.
How many titles are in the ATN database?
More than 335,000
Is the system accessible?
The AccessText system is required to be accessible as part of the agreement between the AAP and AMAC. AccessText wishes to be notified immediately of any accessibility issues encountered by one of its members.
Who is AMAC?
AMAC Accessibility Solutions ( is an initiative of the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents. AMAC provides alternative media services to public and private schools in Georgia and other regions.


Who can sign up?
Any public or private institution of higher education in the United States or its territories. Also, Alternate Media Centers operated by state educational agencies.
How does the ATN verify the DSS office is valid?
ATN staff will verify the integrity of the data submitted on the application form by checking the supplied URL, using web search to confirm the validity of the email domain, and looking for any discrepancies between publicly available information about the institution and the data on the application form. Staff will note any significant discrepancies in the notes filed of the AU record. All AU staff must have a valid institutional email address. ATN staff will call the phone number listed for the primary AU contact. If the staff person is unable to confirm the phone number is for the correct institution (example, direct to voice mail without announcement, etc), staff will try other listed numbers or possibly flag the application for more detailed review.
Do I have to sign up for AccessText to request a file?
Only AccessText members will have access to the order tracking data and file exchange system. Non-members may still request files directly from publishers.
What happens when a staff person leaves?
You should notify the ATN staff as soon as possible so their login information can be removed. Next, you should notify us of their replacement and we will assist them in getting access to the application.
Can I use a generic email address for requests?
As long as the ATN staff knows the institutional email address of each staff person, you can use a general email address as your fulfillment email. Please see Authorized User documentation for more details.
What happens to our data when a staff person leaves?
Request data is associated with an institution, not an individual. As long as the institution remains a member in good standing, their request data will be maintained.
What other services will be offered?
Beyond the publisher file request system and the DSS to DSS file exchange system, AccessText will provide resources to DSS offices for the production and management of alternative text materials. There will also be useful information for faculty, students, and publishers. AccessText will also be looking for suggestions as to related services that would be of value to its DSS members.


What students are eligible?
Students must have a documented print-related disability that prevents them from accessing standard print. They must be enrolled at the school and in the course for which material is being requested, and the material must be required for the student's success in that class.
How long can a student keep files?
As long as it is consistent with the publishers terms of use, this is a policy decision to be made by the DSS office.
Does the student have to buy the book?
The requirement is that at the time the alternate text is provided to the student, the student must have purchased a copy of the book or a copy must have been purchased on their behalf.
Can I request a file before the student has bought the book?
As long as the student is enrolled in a class and has received their reading list, the DSS member can make requests for those titles. However, the DSS office must verify that the student owns the book or has lawful access before providing an alternative text file to the student.
What records do I have to keep?
In addition to the documentation usually kept by a DSS office, such as that listed by the AHEAD best practices guide, the DSS office should keep a record of request made through the AccessText system. These will be available online but can also be printed out and kept on file.
Can students request files themselves?
No. The AccessText Network is designed to assist DSS offices and Alternate Media Centers directly, and is not suitable for use by students.
Will I be required to enter confidential data about my students?
No. The AccessText application does allow DSS members to link student information to requests in order to make their own systems easier, but the information is not required.

Requesting Files and Permissions

What books can I request?
Members can request books that their qualified students have been assigned that are published by AccessText member publishers. If a publisher does not have an electronic file available for a title, they will notify the requesting member and update the title record in the database.
What if a book I need isn’t in the system?
If a book is not listed in the database but is published by a member publisher, the AccessText staff will add the title to the database and notify the publisher.
Can I provide a file I received for one student to another student?
In most cases, yes. Members will need to notify the publisher using the AccessText application, and some publishers may require that the DSS office wait until receiving authorization before providing the file to an additional student.
What formats are available?
Publishers are generally providing files that were used in the production process, which means the PDF format. But other formats such as Word may be available depending upon the publisher.
Will I be able to request textbook bundles?
Publishers may process requests for bundles of materials in different ways. AccessText will allow publishers to list the books that are in a bundle if they prefer members to request titles individually.
Can I request custom editions?
Some custom editions may not be in the AccessText database due to the nature of the custom publishing business. Members will still be able to request custom editions but in some cases the publisher may offer a file for the standard edition.


How long will it take to get a file?
Publishers have committed to responding to all requests as quickly as possible. Response times may increase during peak periods such as Fall and Spring rush. Some files will be sent the same day they are requested, while other files may take 2 or 3 weeks. If a publisher is having difficulty providing a file the DSS office will be notified.
What if the file I get isn’t usable or has problems?
The AccessText application has a Support Case system to ensure quality and service issues are tracked and resolved satisfactorily. Specific file issues are generally handled by publishers on a case-by-case basis.
How do I comment on the quality of the file?
We are developing a rating and evaluation form to allow members to provide feedback on file quality.
How will I receive files I have requested?
Publishers are encouraged to send files via the AccessText file transfer system. In this case, the DSS office will receive an email notifying them that a file is ready for download. They then use the AccessText application to download the file. Publishers may also use their own systems which could include email attachments, FTP, or CDs sent via various methods. The publisher will document the method of fulfillment in the request record.
What if I need another copy of a file?
DSS members can use the Support Log feature to contact the publisher to request a replacement file.
How long do I have to download my files?
Files expire in 14 days when the AccessText file transfer system (FTP) is used. Publishers using their own system may have different expiration periods.
My file is listed as ‘expired’. What does this mean?
This means the time allotted to retrieve the file has passed, and the member should create a Support Log to request the file be resent.

File Exchange, Support, and Other Issues

How can I share my files with other schools?
The AccessText Network will include an Exchange for members to share files they have created for use by students with disabilities. More details will be provided after the launch of the application.
How long can I keep files?
A DSS office can store files securely for as long as they need them. The only requirement is that files be deleted if the DSS office no longer functions in that capacity.
Can I contact the publisher directly if I have a question?
AccessText provides a Support Log system to track issues with publishers. If the issue is not resolved in a timely or satisfactory manner, the member should contact the AccessText staff for assistance.
Can I request multiple formats of the same book?
Generally, most publishers will only provide a file in one format. However, if the publisher is willing to accommodate a request for an additional format, the request can go through the AccessText system.
Will the publishers stop providing files if they sell an ebook for that title?
One of the goals of the AccessText project is to encourage publishers to sell accessible ebooks that students with disabilities can purchase and use on an equal basis with their non-disabled peers. When publisher make that option available, they will be able to notify AccessText members of that situation. But DSS members will still be able to make requests on behalf of students whose needs may be different than what the commercial version of the material can accommodate.
What kind of training is available?
There will be initial training and support in using the application to make, track, and receive requests for publisher files. We will be adding training modules to our wiki and in other areas as the need arises.
How do I know what software to use with the file I received?
There will be training materials on the AccessText wiki to assist DSS members who have questions pertaining to the effective use of alternative text files. There will also be a Forum for members to exchange information and assist their peers who may be less experienced.