Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Thursday 18th May 2023 is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)! From their website: “The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion, and the more than One Billion people with disabilities/impairments.” 

Library staff are committed to offering accessible digital resources to those who need them. When we purchase books and other resources, our preference is to buy electronic versions. However, this isn’t always possible due to licence or publishing restrictions. We have access to some additional free services for qualifying users – please get in touch to discuss how we can help you.  

Our email address is, please contact us any time, for any reason. We’re happy to answer any questions: if we can’t help, we’ll find out who can!

A close-up of a person holding tablet device in front of the Sir Duncan Rice Library.

RNIB Bookshare 

RNIB Bookshare is a database of electronic resources offered by the Royal National Institute of the Blind. Their collection includes more than a million books and is completely free to use! All books can be downloaded in various formats and are compatible with screen readers and other assistive software. More information can be found on the RNIB Bookshare website

To request an account, please ask your disability advisor to contact Library staff – this is so that we can make sure you meet RNIB Bookshare’s eligibility criteria. Library staff will create an account on your behalf then send you an email with the login details. Your account can be used until you leave the University. 

Requests to publishers 

Library staff can request free accessible materials directly from publishers. To do this, we must meet one of the following criteria: 

  • at least one print copy of the title in stock, or 
  • have electronic access to the title (but for disability-related reasons the student would benefit from a different file type or format), or 
  • the student will own a personal copy and can provide proof of purchase which will be sent to the publisher 

This isn’t always successful, or very quick, but we are more than happy to make requests. If you need access to a specific item, please email us at with the title, author’s name, year/edition, and the format you require (eg. PDF, EPUB, or even a print copy). All enquiries are strictly confidential: we don’t share your details with publishers, and we’ll never share your personal information without your consent.  

Personal scans 

If you need access to a work available only in physical format, library staff can scan items on your behalf. These are only for personal use and must not be shared with anyone else. To make requests, please email with book/article details. We will get back to you if we have any questions, then email the scan to you. 

A view of the middle floors on

Reading lists 

The library works closely with teaching staff to provide digital reading lists for each course. These are hosted in a web-based software package called Leganto. Leganto is compatible with screen readers and has options to change contrast, font size, and pop-up duration. It is also possible to export your entire reading list into an accessible file.  

When essential materials are only available in physical format, teaching staff can request digital scans. These must comply with copyright law, so are usually less than 10% of the total work (more information on copyright can be found on our website). These scans can be accessed directly from Leganto and can be read using Optical Character Recognition (OCR). 

E-resource providers 

Many of our e-resource providers and databases offer features to help with accessibility. For example, VLEBooks offers a Readaloud feature, allowing you to use text-to-speech from any browser. A list of accessibility statements from providers can be found on our website. 

Library staff member demonstrating how to borrow books on the self-issue machine.

Direct support 

Library staff can also offer one to one support, either in-person or as an online session, at a time that suits you. We can help with a wide range of queries; including how best to use our catalogue, Primo, help with referencing, how to find resources for your assignments, or anything else! 

We can make referrals to other support services if you want them (such as Assistive Technology).  

Physical accessibility  

We can offer a gentle introduction to the library, either for individuals or small groups. We recognise that our users may be neurodiverse, so these can be held at quiet times to minimise distractions. Staff can help with navigating physical spaces and finding an area that works for you, locating and borrowing books, and more. We also offer a book fetching service for our users – let us know if you’d like to access this. 

We hope this information is useful. Our email address is Again, please do get in touch with us any time, for any reason. We’re happy to receive feedback and answer any questions: if we don’t immediately have answers, we’ll investigate and get back to you as soon as possible! 

Vogue Archive now available

In need of a little glamour in your life? The library can now bring you more than 120 years of definitive fashion and lifestyle photography with new online access to the digitised collection of Vogue magazine, (US Version). Delivered through publishers Proquest, every issue and every page from 1892 to the present is available to members of the University through our library catalogue. This is a stunning resource which offers rich rewards to researchers in diverse subjects from gender studies, marketing, modern social history, visual culture and more.

On their website, Proquest describe the Vogue Archive as:

an exclusive partnership between ProQuest, Vogue, and Condé Nast (the global publisher of Vogue) to present the full run of the American Vogue, 1892 to present, for the library market. Every page, cover, advertisement, image, and fold out is indexed, searchable, and viewable in beautiful high-resolution color.

More than 400,000 pages are included, constituting a treasure trove of the work from the greatest designers, photographers, stylists and illustrators of the 20th and 21st centuries. The Vogue Archive is both an essential primary source for the study of fashion and a unique record of American and international popular culture.

You can find out more at the Proquest website.

INFO: New full-text content – ASME conference proceedings

University of Aberdeen staff and students now have access to full-text ASME conference proceedings (2008 onwards) under a new electronic deal negotiated by the Scottish Higher Education Digital Library (SHEDL). The conference papers are a welcome addition to the existing 20+ electronic journals that we subscribed to within the ASME Digital Collection. The conferences, produced under the auspices of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, cover many aspects of engineering including pipelines, energy, offshore mechanics and oil and gas and are available from:

Some things to be aware of:

• Records will appear in the library catalogue in due course but in the meantime please access the papers directly from the ASME site
• Some of the new material will be switched on in our SFX linking service so that if a subscribed ASME conference paper appears in a database such as Scopus you will be able to link through to the full-text in ASME. However, this may not operate for all of our subscribed years (2008 onwards)
• The ASME Digital Collection website includes all of ASME’s electronic material but for conferences we have access only to those published from 2008 onwards
• You can register for a free account within ASME to set up alerts and take advantage of other features
• IMPORTANT: The ASME service is authenticated using IP address. If you are on-campus then you are automatically recognised. If you are off-campus you must set the proxy on a browser. If you forget to do this you will get into the ASME site but will be prompted to pay to view individual conference papers even if they are in the 2008 onwards date range. (Don’t pay – set the proxy!). Information on proxy setting is available at and

Susan McCourt,
Principal Information Consultant – Engineering, Physical & Life Sciences

MAINTENANCE: Web of Knowledge upgrade

WoK is undergoing an upgrade maintenance from Sunday 12 Jan 1400 GMT until Monday 13 Jan 0200 GMT, resulting in intermittent access.

Advisory alert from Thomson Reuters: “Please be advised that Web of Knowledge will release a new look and feel [‘Next Generation of Web of Science’]. This involves an upgrade maintenance… during which time Web of Knowledge may not be available intermittently during that period. We apologize for any interruption this may cause.”

Posted on behalf of Library, Special Collections and Museums

INFO: Merry Christmas!

We hope that you have an enjoyable break over the festive period. For those of you intending to study in The Sir Duncan Rice Library between Christmas and New Year please check our opening hours at And if you are studying or doing some reading at a distance don’t forget about our Virtual Library links available from 

Susan McCourt,

IMPORTANT MESSAGE: disruption to LSC&M electronic services

Due to the scheduled IT service outages as part of the Data Centre refurbishment project, the majority of electronic services will not be available in any library buildings on 13-14 December, although all sites will be open as usual. Access to some online resources will also be affected on these days. Please be aware that this includes all self-issue machines, Primo, the library catalogue, and other digital items such as exam papers. It will still be possible to borrow books, find library material using COPAC, and link directly to e-journals and other e-resources using the Subject A-Z lists or Virtual Aberdeen.

Specific details of library services affected can be found on our website. If you urgently need to request materials for loan before the end of term, please do so by Monday 10 December. If you are planning to return library material before you leave for Christmas vacation we recommend you do so by Wednesday 12 December.

We’re working to minimise disruption, so if you have specific queries about how the outages will affect your library work, and what we can do to help, please email or contact 01224 273330 in advance.

Normal service is planned to resume on Saturday 15 December.

Posted on behalf of Library, Special Collections and Museums