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ADA Accessibility for Library Databases

List of Accessible Databases from the A-Z List

The databases in the list below have web accessibility features.  Where the vendor has provided specific guidance to improve the screen reader experience, SDSU Library has included links to those instructions in the database listing description.

Platform Specific Instructions for Screen Readers

ACM Digital Library specific instructions for screen reader users:

Before entering the database it is necessary to accept the terms and conditions. JAWS does read these automatically. Once heard you can press tab to highlight "I accept the above terms" then enter. The default is to search The ACM Digital Library rather than The Guide,  which is correct, but the search box on the homepage is labelled as The Guide Edit. If your links list your search results, the article title appears first, followed by the full text in PDF and sometimes HTML format.

View the HTML version if available as the PDF files are often without headings and therefore hard to navigate. Before you can download any full text item you will need to disable your pop up blocker as full text opens in a new window.  Use Adobe Reader to convert the PDF, although it still may not read in a linear way. Articles can also be converted to a more accessible format using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) equipment.

Ebsco Databases built in ADA Accessibility Features

All of the EBSCO platform databases (see list below) have a read-aloud feature for HTML articles that may be manually activated.

  • choose the HTML Full-Text option, the Listen icon appears on the Tools list just under the title of the article. Read aloud is not available for the PDF format.
  • you may select three different accents and reading speeds
  • to pause the reading, click on the pause button
  • For more information on searching EBSCO databases with JAWS 8.0, visit:

The instructions mainly relate to screen readers with some information for keyboard-only users.  Resources were tested using Firefox but hopefully, they will be useful for other screen readers and browsers.

Instructions for screen reader and keyboard users:

Access the database, enter your search terms and press Enter to conduct the search. The resulting references are listed so that the Add to folder option appears after the title of the article it relates to.

Full text is provided in HTML or PDF or in some cases both formats. Use the HTML version when available. If only a PDF is provided and you are using JAWS, use Adobe Reader 7.0 or higher to convert the article, but it will not always read in a linear fashion.  If full text is not provided you can check if the Full-Text Finder service has access to it via another supplier.  Add the references you are interested into a folder and opt to list them, then if you use links list in JAWS, the email, print and save to disk options are towards the bottom of the list. To carry out another search choose the Advanced Search link.

For keyboard users there are problems navigating an individual record using Internet Explorer, making it difficult to return to your results.  You are advised to use the links to full text etc provided in the results list or use Firefox instead.

Gale Databases Listen feature instructions

Gale Databases provide a Listen function for full-text articles. This can be found on the detailed display screen, which can be accessed by clicking on the title of the article from the search results.  Articles that are not in full-text do not have this option. 

Further detail can be found at:

Jstor instructions for screen reader users:

Search results appear in the order:

  • Check Box
  • Reference Number
  • Article Title (which is a link)
  • Author
  • Eeference Details
  • Article Information
  • Page of First Match
  • PDF 

To access the full text of articles either choose PDF from the results list, or click on the article title and then choose PDF.  If a PDF is not sufficiently tagged, JSTOR can manually tag PDFs. For more information see the JSTOR accessibility pages.

Nexis Uni (formerly Lexis Nexid Academic) Instructions for screen reader and keyboard only users:

This database is complex and uses frames.  For keyboard users it is recommended that you use F6 and SHIFT+F6 to move between the frames.  There are a few drop down boxes that refresh the screen as soon as you use the arrow key to move to the next option when using Internet Explorer.  To open the drop down box and then select the option you want ,press ALT+ DOWN ARROW, select  your preferred option using UP and DOWN ARROW and then press ENTER to activate it.   The search results pages have five frames.  Listed below are the headings of each frame with a brief explanation of what they cover:

  • Global Navigation Frame enables you to go back to the LexisLibrary start page
  • Results Navigation Frame allows you to manipulate your references by changing the sort order, email and save them etc
  • Results Classification Frame separates and groups the results under type of publication
  • Right Side Frame can be ignored
  • Results Content Frame lists your results instructions for screen reader users:

Pubmed has recently been amended so that article titles now appear as links to further information, rather than the authors, so the database is easier to navigate.

Project MUSE instructions for screen reader users:

To search from initial page list the links and select Search.  Search results are displayed in the order of check box, result number, reference details and then View HTML and View PDF to read the full text.  Select View HTML, which includes heading levels to aid navigation.

ProQuest Platform instructions for screen reader users:

Internet Explorer users who want to specify date ranges in Advanced Search must use ALT + DOWN ARROW to open the Date Range combo box and use the up and down arrows to move through the options.  Press enter to choose the appropriate date range, which may then open another box for you to enter the date details.  If you don't access the combo box this way JAWS is confused when the additional date range boxes are automatically generated as you move through the options and stops reading. Choose Full Text, rather than Full Text - PDF, where available.  Once you are in Full Text, select level heading 2, to move straight to the full text.

This is not a known issue with FireFox.

Accessibility reports for individual ProQuest databases -

SpringerLink instructions for screen reader users:

Search results are listed in order of relevance rather than date.  If you list the links on the page you will hear In the last week, In the last two weeks etc.  These will take you to the references added within these time periods and after each link there will be a number telling you how many references are available.  The article title provides a link to the abstract and full text options, which is usually PDF only.  If you list the links on the page the PDF link reads as Entire Document and HTML, if available as Open Full Text.  The PDF is untagged and needs to be converted using Adobe Reader.  Sometimes when HTML full text appears to be available only a link to the abstract is provided.  We are querying this with the supplier

Wiley Online instructions for screen reader:

Wiley accessibility statement

Text Resizing

The site text can be resized to help readability for individual users. In order to resize the text please follow the instructions below:

PC / all browsers:

  • Increase text size: Hold down the CTRL key and press +
  • Decrease text size: Hold down the CTRL key and press

Mac / all browsers:

  • Increase text size: Hold down the Command key and press +
  • Decrease text size: Hold down the Command key and press

Browser Support

Wiley Online Library has been built using code compliant with W3C standards for HTML and CSS. The site displays correctly in the latest stable versions of Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Opera. For older browsers, visual design may be slightly compromised but all content will be readable, and features will function as intended. The site can also be accessed on tablet and mobile devices, and a selection of pages are optimized for those devices.

Wiley Screen Reader

Before using Wiley screen reader, users need to ensure they have done the following to be able to read the full text.  In Adobe Reader 8, open the Document menu and select Accessibility Setup Assistant.  Click on Next until the fifth screen and ensure that the last option "Display PDF documents in the web browser" is not checked. 

Access the basic search box on the home page by listing the Form Fields on the page and then "Enter words or phrases edit".  A link to Advanced Search enables you to narrow a search by product type (journal or book).  You can also browse by subject or product type.  Search results are displayed in the format article title, journal title, reference details, author name then links to Abstract, References and PDF (full text).  The article title is not provided as a link and not all articles are available in full text.  Full text is not provided on Wiley if you are taken to a page with the heading Access article, Options for accessing this content.  If you have conducted a search you can read the article or chapter titles by listing the Form Fields on the page.  If you browse you will not have this option and will need to read the page linearly.

If you right click on a PDF link and Save target as, it will be saved as HTML, but open in Adobe Reader.