According to the United Nations Organisation, “a disability is primarily a social condition between the individual and his/her environment”. Therefore, it is a prerequisite to build an environment capable of overcoming any related obstacles, in order to put an end to the discrimination due to disabilities. With regard to the library world, the development of new technological applications can enhance the provision of services required by users with disabilities.
The above issues are addressed by the AMELib (Accessible Multi-modal Electronic Library), whose mission is to provide electronic scientific books to students with reading disabilities studying in the Greek Universities.
People with reading disabilities include: a) blind people, b) visually impaired people, who can not acquire a visual function substantially equivalent to that of persons without such problems, and who therefore cannot read publications with the same substantial easiness as persons without such problems; c) persons with a perceptual or reading disability, who therefore are not in a position to read publications with the same substantial ease as persons without such a disability, d) people who are unable to hold a book in their hands or to handle a book or to focus or move their gaze to such an extent that it would normally be satisfactory to read.
The Distance Library and Information Centre (HOU_DLIC) of the Hellenic Open University, with the approval of the HOU Governing Body, has given to AMELib its entire graduate textbook collection. The books, after being appropriately processed, are added to the digital collection of the AMELib. Students with reading disabilities may have access through the AMELib and their university authentication system.
In this regard, the HOU_DLIC is a member of the “Collaborative Network of Accessible Bibliography Holders” (hereinafter the “Collaborative Network-CN”) that operates within the association of the “Hellenic Academic Libraries, HEAL-Link”. All CN members share accessible material, know-how and best practices, on the basis of the copyright exception.
The CN operates in Cyprus and Greece aiming to develop the necessary infrastructure regarding policies, services and technologies in order to eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities, and in particular people with reading disabilities, by serving inclusive education policies.
The Distance Library and Information Centre (HOU_DLIC) is a fundamental associate partner of the DAISSy Research Group of HOU, the Greek partner of the Biblio project, and is actively involved in the project implementation.