Digital accessibility of Library collections

Updated: August 2023

UC Berkeley Library is committed to making its spaces and technologies accessible to all users. For more on the Library’s disability resources and accommodations, please see our general disability resources page.

This digital accessibility of Library collections page addresses the ways in which UC Berkeley Library makes the electronic content it offers — its website, online catalog, licensed content and collections, and digital collections—accessible to all users. The Library’s efforts in this regard also satisfy UC’s Information Technology Accessibility Policy (ITAP) and UC Berkeley’s Web Accessibility Procedures where applicable.

If you experience a barrier that affects your ability to access any digital Library content, let us know via the form on the campus web accessibility page and the request will be routed to us.

Library website and online catalog

The Library’s website and the online catalog (called UC Library Search) are how users find electronic materials in the Library’s collections. We have designed and maintain the Library website and the online catalog to be as accessible as possible, and to comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level AA.

We have also built our website and online catalog to work across all devices regardless of operating system, browser or screen size. Please tell us via this form if you discover content that you believe does not comply with these standards, or if you encounter any barriers while using these resources.

Library electronic resources

When you search the Library website or online catalog to research or locate electronic collections or materials, you will generally come across two different kinds of digital content that the Library offers:

  • Licensed resources, such as eJournal articles, eBooks, data sets, audio-visual materials, or indexing databases that the Library makes available to campus by entering into license agreements with publishers or distributors; and
  • Digitized collections, such as print materials or media that the Library owns and has digitally imaged and made available online.

Licensed resources

The Library’s licensed resources (and the technological platforms through which they are hosted) are created, built, and maintained by outside entities, distributors, and publishers. The Library does not control the electronic content we acquire from these providers. If you are a user with a disability who experiences any barrier using our licensed resources (or those resources we have borrowed for you from another library), you can take advantage of various tools and Library services that may be able to convert inaccessible content into content that is compatible with assistive technology.

In addition, the Library continuously advocates for better accessibility of licensed resources from the start, by asking distributors and publishers to make assurances of accessibility in compliance with Federal and state laws and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level AA. Some of the specific ways we engage in advocacy include:

  • Asking distributors or publishers and distributors or aggregators to submit and keep current a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT). In a VPAT, the distributor or publisher explains how their technology, content, and documentation satisfy Federal standards for accessibility.
  • Asking distributors or publishers to warrant in our license agreements that they comply with applicable Federal and state accessibility laws and satisfy WCAG 2.0 AA guidelines.
  •  Asking distributors or publishers to bear the legal liability for breaching their warranty or failing to provide us with content that complies with applicable accessibility laws.
  • Asking that distributors or publishers work quickly to resolve any complaints about accessibility, and provide us with accessible versions of materials on demand once issues are resolved.

Digitized collections

The Library also is home to millions of specialized materials—rare and unique special collections, books, manuscripts, images, photographs, newspapers, media, and more—that we have acquired through gift or purchase. Our WCAG 2.0, Level AA-compliant Digital Collections portal provides online access to the subset of specialized materials that we have digitized and made available online for the world to use. Please tell us via this form if you need additional support accessing or using these materials.

Beyond the Library

For more information about the University's broader support and services beyond the Library, please visit the websites of UC Berkeley’s Disability Access & Compliance department for general accessibility compliance information, Disabled Students’ Program for student related accessibility information, and Digital Accessibility Program for digital accessibility information.