Athens, Ga. – The Association of American Publishers has signed an agreement with the Alternative Media Access Center, an initiative of the Georgia Board of Regents and the University of Georgia, to develop and launch the AccessText Network, a comprehensive, national online system that will make it easier and quicker for students with print-related disabilities, such as blindness, to obtain the textbooks they need for their college courses.
The program at UGA is part of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.
“AMAC is energized about working in conjunction with the disability community to guarantee AccessText becomes the conduit between the publishing world and post-secondary institutions’ disability programs nationwide,” said Christopher Lee, department head and director of AMAC.”We are charged with making AccessText the national nucleus of post-secondary distribution of approved alternative textbook file exchanges, training and technical support. Our goal is to make the college disability professional’s job easier and, in the long run, help save institutions from the high cost of producing electronic textbooks for their students with disabilities.”
Many college students with disabilities are struggling to use required or recommended print textbooks that are essential to their course success, said Patricia Schroeder, AAP’s president and chief executive officer.
“By improving the efficiencies of our present process, AccessText will facilitate quicker access to content for more students,” she said.
The new AccessText Network will improve the way electronic versions of print textbooks are delivered to campus-based disability student service offices from publishers and streamline the permission process for scanning copies of print textbooks when publisher files are unavailable.
“This project would have not been possible without the early support and direction of Noel Gregg, director of the Franklin UGA Regents Center for Learning Disorders,” said Lee. “The AMAC project was incubated under that center, and Noel was a co-founder of AMAC making the project a reality.”
The network, scheduled for beta launch in February 2009, will ensure that institutions can more easily obtain information about publishers’ course materials, request electronic text files and use more efficient acquisition and distribution channels.
AccessText Network is being funded through donations from publishers Cengage Learning; CQ Press; Macmillan; McGraw-Hill Education; Pearson; Reed Elsevier Inc.; John Wiley & Sons; and W.W. Norton.