The Paradigm Shift in Realising the Right to Read: How Ebook Libraries are Enabling in the University Sector

Disability and Society, 29 10: 1658-1671, 2014

Posted: 27 Jun 2015

See all articles by Paul Harpur

Paul Harpur

University of Queensland - T.C. Beirne School of Law

Nicolas Suzor

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

Millions of people with print disabilities are denied the right to read. While some important efforts have been made to convert standard books to accessible formats and create accessible repositories, these have so far only addressed this crisis in an ad hoc way. This article argues that universally designed ebook libraries have the potential of substantially enabling persons with print disabilities. As a case study of what is possible, we analyse 12 academic ebook libraries to map their levels of accessibility. The positive results from this study indicate that universally designed ebooks are more than possible; they exist. While results are positive, however, we also found that most ebook libraries have some features that frustrate full accessibility, and some ebook libraries present critical barriers for people with disabilities. Based on these findings, we consider that some combination of private pressure and public law is both possible and necessary to advance the right-to-read cause. With access improving and recent advances in international law, now is the time to push for universal design and equality.

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Harpur, Paul David and Suzor, Nicolas, The Paradigm Shift in Realising the Right to Read: How Ebook Libraries are Enabling in the University Sector (2014). Disability and Society, 29 10: 1658-1671, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2623332

Paul David Harpur (Contact Author)

University of Queensland - T.C. Beirne School of Law ( email )

Brisbane, Queensland 4072
Australia

Nicolas Suzor

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law ( email )

GPO Box 2434
Brisbane, Queensland 4001
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://nic.suzor.net/

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