Using Alternative Format Texts

Students who are approved to receive alternate format course materials must read the statement of rights and responsibilities below.  Please sign the alternative-format text (AFT) agreement in the AIM Student Portal.

Alternative Format Text Procedures

All requests should be submitted through the AIM Student Portal.

Please submit all requests at the beginning of each quarter so we can get you your books and course materials ahead of when your readings are due; please do not wait until right before you need them. If you find out you need additional readings mid-quarter, please submit additional requests as soon as you know what you need.

Students approved for Alternative Format Texts can be given access to an individual Bookshare (repository of electronic texts free to qualifying students) account that will allow you to search and download texts from Bookshare without needing to request the books from SDS. If you have not already done so, please contact us to set up your individual account.

  1. Each quarter you will need to request accommodations for each of your classes for which you wish to use alternative format texts. If you have not selected accommodations for the quarter, you should be able to do this from your Dashboard after you log in to the AIM Student Portal. The default view is for the current quarter, so if you are requesting accommodations before the start of the next quarter, you will need to click on the link for “next term” to see your classes for the upcoming quarter. NOTE: Graduate students – requesting accommodations via AIM is for alternative text only. Instructors will not be notified of your accessibility requests via AIM.
  2. To make the requests for your course materials, go to the Alternative Format module in AIM by clicking on “Alternative Formats” under “My Accommodations” in the left navigation.
  3. There should be a list of books associated with your classes available through the bookstores in the “Request Alternative Formats” section. You can click on the “Select” link in the row of the book you need in order to create a request for that title. Please look for “EBK” at the beginning of book titles. EBK means the book is available through the bookstore as an EBook; you should purchase the EBook version instead of a physical copy and you do not need to request this text. You can make all requests before purchasing your books. NOTE: The Co-Op Bookstore textbooks for the quarter will not be added until the last week of the previous quarter; please check back for updates.
  4. If you do not see the book(s) you need in the “Request Alternative Formats” section, you can submit the request for them manually. Please submit one book per request. We can also convert inaccessible articles or chapters; please request these through AIM using the manual request form or contact us about being added to your course in Canvas at the beginning of the quarter.
  5. If you need course readings in Canvas or other materials to be converted into alternative formats, you should contact to discuss these requests.
  6. Books and other readings that you have requested will show up at the top of the page under “List Books Currently Being Processed.” Here you will be able to see the status of your request (i.e. Needs to be Processed, Waiting for Receipt, Available for Download) and can download completed files from here. We will send email notifications through AIM if we need you to take any action (reminders to upload receipts or bring a book in to be scanned) and when your request is available for download.

Providing Proof of Purchase

All students are expected to purchase their textbooks (if students will be using books on reserve there are exceptions) so please upload scans/screen caps of your receipts for proof of purchase or let us know you need scans of books on reserve. There is a place where you can include notes with each receipt that you upload; please let us know which books are on the receipt you are uploading or enter any other information you think it would be helpful for us to have in the note field. We will then check the receipts against your book request and mark off the books as having proof of purchase. You do not need to purchase the book through the UChicago bookstore.

Obtaining Alternative Format Texts

In processing requests for accessible texts, SDS will first search for the book in available etext sources, such as Bookshare, Access Text, HathiTrust, or the publisher.

If a book is not available in a digital format, SDS will convert a physical copy of a text into a digital copy. In keeping with copyright guidelines of sharing accessible texts, you must submit a receipt for the text that you are requesting in the AIM Student Portal with your Alternative Format Request.  This process may take several weeks given the shipping time of the book to the service, processing the text and the shipment to you. We will continue to convert requests prioritizing by due date and by the order that they are received, so please make your requests as early in the quarter as possible.

If you need more detailed instructions or have any questions, please review Requesting Alternative Format Course Materials in AIM (PDF) or email


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