Authorized User Reference Manual

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The AccessText Network is designed to help colleges and alternate media centers (‘Authorized Users’) serve students with print-related disabilities by improving the process by which electronic files and permissions to scan and redistribute files are requested from publishers. The design and workflow for the AccessText application was derived from information provided by the Association of American Publishers' Critical Issues Task Force and the AccessText Advisory Committee. The membership agreement between authorized users and AccessText, which is operated by AMAC Accessibility, details the specific terms of use and application service levels for the system.

Publishers, Titles, and Imprints

Each publisher has their own profile page, showing the publishers address, contact information and application settings for approval methods (more on approval methods below). One important factor in the success of the AccessText application is our database containing current, complete, and accurate information about the textbook titles published by the member publishers.

This data enables authorized users to request the appropriate book titles that their students have been assigned, and it will allow publishers to provide useful information about the types of electronic files they have available and the approximate timeframe expected for requestors to receive files.

Authorized User Verification Process

The majority of AccessText Authorized Users (AU) will be Disabled Student Services (DSS) offices at public and private colleges and universities in the United States and its territories and Canada, but there are also expected to be several Alternate Media Centers (AMC) as members. AMCs make requests on behalf of other DSS offices. The AU office staff are the people making requests for files and permission through the AccessText system.

When an AU applies for membership, the AccessText staff will verify their eligibility to ensure that only qualified personnel receive access to the application.

Note: Publishers have access to AU profiles and to the cumulative record of all file and permission requests made for that publisher's titles. Publishers will not be able to view titles that the AU has requested from other member publishers, nor will an AU be able to view any information about other AUs.

Making Requests for Electronic Files from Publishers

The first step in the process involves an AU logging on to AccessText. As specified in the membership agreement, requests must only be made on behalf of qualified students with disabilities for assigned textbooks. The AU will locate the required title in the database and create a new request record, which will be used to track the request throughout the fulfillment process.The AU must select the type of request, and for file requests, the type of file preferred (Note: Publishers are not bound by this selection and may provide a different format). To complete the request, the AU saves the record and the request is passed to the publisher.

Titles Associated with Related Titles

Publishers may add information to a title record about related titles. For example, if the title is for a bundle of three books, the can list the ISBNs of the related titles in the title record. They may set the status of the bundled title to unavailable with an explanation that the AU should request the titles in the bundle individually.

If a Title is listed as Unavailable

If the publisher has set the status of a title to Unavailable, they should have entered a reason or an optional method of obtaining the title. It may be that an ISBN refers to a bundle of material that the publisher would prefer the AU to request individually. The AU can still request permission to scan the title or permission to redistribute an existing file to another qualified student.

If a Title can not be Located

There are several reasons a title may not be in the AccessText title database:

  • The title is not published by a member publisher
  • The title is by a member publisher but is missing from the database
  • The title contains an incorrect ISBN or other data

If the title is published by an ATN member publisher but can not be located in the title table, the AU should add the title into the system. This can be done by searching for the title via ISBN and if it is not in the database, the add-title page will appear.

If the title is not published by a member publisher it can not be requested through the AccessText Network. Please refer to the publisher table to verify the correct publisher information. For non-member publishers, please consult for contact information.

Note: Several publishers have informed ATN staff that some of their custom titles or bundled titles may not be included in the Books in Print database used for the ATN title table. ATN staff will work with ATN members to try and improve this situation as the application evolves.

Canceling a Request

If a file that has been requested is no longer needed by a student before the file has been received by the AU, the AU should cancel the request so that the publisher can move on to other requests. To cancel a request, locate the request record for the title, open the record for editing, click on the Cancel button in the top right corner. Populate the required field and click save.

How Requests for Files are Fulfilled

Once a request for a file has been approved, its status is considered to be 'pending fulfillment'. The general steps in the fulfillment process are:

  • The requested file is located and retrieved by the publisher.
  • The file is sent to the AU directly, or the AU is notified by email where to obtain the file.
  • The request record is updated by the publisher with the fulfillment date and method, which changes the status of the request to fulfilled.

Fulfillment Methods

When the publisher is ready to complete a request they will update the request record with the fulfillment method and send the file to the AU. When the request record is updated an email notification is automatically sent to the AU. The AU will then log on to the AccessText system to see what delivery method was selected and download the file if the publisher used that fulfillment method. The methods the publisher may use to transmit the file are:

  • Mail The publisher has burned the file(s) on a CD and mailed it.
  • Email The publisher will send an email directly to the primary contact. The file(s) were either attached to the email or the email contains instructions for the AU to retrieve the file.
  • FTP The publisher sent the file using the FTP server provided by the ATN.
  • Publisher FTP The publisher used their own FTP or web-based file transfer system.
  • Stored File The publisher has stored a file on the title record for auto-fulfillment of requests for that title.

Requests that can not be Fulfilled

There are a number of reasons why a publisher may not be able to provide a file for a request: Titles are acquired from other publishers without the source files, books are too old to have usable files, things get lost, etc. In these cases, in addition to informing the AU that the request cannot be fulfilled (and the reason), the publisher may offer to provide a desk copy of the book or offer another option at their discretion.

If an AU has requested a title that a publisher will not be able to fulfill, the publisher should update the title record for that title indicating it is unavailable and giving a reason why. This will save the AU and the publisher time by avoiding making requests for titles that are not available. The publisher may note pertinent information on the title record when files are available for a related title. The publisher will enter one of the following denial codes in the request record as appropriate:

Denial Codes

  • Requestor may scan print materials.
  • Publisher does not hold copyright for title.
  • Third-party copyright restrictions.
  • Third-party-copyright restrictions. Requestor may scan specific portions of print material.
  • Denied for other reason [publisher will provide additional explanation].
  • Desk Copy Offered

Making Requests for Permission to Scan or Redistribute Files

AUs will use the AccessText application to request permission from publishers to scan books in order to create alternative media for their students, and also to redistribute files in their possession to other qualified students with disabilities for the same purpose. The AU will go through the same process as when creating a request for a file (see 'Locating a Title' above) but will indicate that the request type is 'permission to scan' or 'permission to redistribute file' on the request form. For these types of requests the publisher is not being asked to provide an electronic file.

Permission to Scan

If the request is for permission to scan and the publisher has set the approval method for this type of request to manual, the publisher will have to manually approve the request. When they have done so, the system will send an email to the AU letting them know the request was approved and permission was granted. If the publisher has set the approval method to automatic, the AU will receive an automated email generated by the AccessText application shortly after they submit the request.

Permission to Redistribute File

When an AU wishes to provide a file obtained through the ATN system for one qualified student to another qualified student who needs the same file, the AU must request and receive permission to redistribute the file from the publisher.

The publisher can either approve these requests automatically or manually. If they approve them automatically the AU will receive an email shortly after they submit the request. If the publisher has opted for manual approval the AU should wait until they receive notification that the request has been approved before providing the file to additional students.

Questions about Requests

For questions about a specific request, the AU can message the publisher at the bottom of the request.

Technical Support

For questions related to technical support or how to open or unzip files, etc... the AU can send an admin message to ATN or can email or call us at 866-271-4968

Application Help Icons

The ATN application has a built-in Help Icon system, in which a blue 'question mark' icon is shown next to some fields that has help text associated with it. ATN developers have created help text for any application field that requires explanation.

Wiki-based Support Materials

  • The wiki contains a detailed Reference Manual and Instructions for Authorized Users. The materials will be updated as changes are made to the application.
  • The FAQ section answers many questions about the application.

ATN Staff Support

The ATN staff are available to assist with questions and concerns via email and also a toll-free phone line Monday through Friday 8-5 ET. ATN staff will also process