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Request Accessible Copies

ALTR stands for Accessible Library Text Retrieval. It’s a service offered by the University Libraries’ Resource Sharing & Reserves unit in partnership with the Counseling Center’s Accessibility and Disability Service (ADS). ALTR provides text-searchable PDFs of eligible library books that are still under copyright to UMD users with visual impairments and other print disabilities.

Who qualifies?

During the ADS Intake interview, a DSS counselor will determine eligibility for ALTR. Based upon this meeting and supporting documentation, DSS creates an accommodation letter. ALTR is now one of the official accommodations that could be listed on this letter.

More information about ADS eligibility: Eligibility and Registration Guidelines

How to place an ALTR request using your ILL account

How to register for ALTR 

  1. You must be registered with the campus Accessibility and Disability Service (ADS). 
    1. If you are eligible for ALTR, this will be noted in your ADS accommodations letter.
  2. Complete the ALTR registration and agreement form. 
    1. You must register for ALTR through the ADS Alternate Text Unit located in room 1103 McKeldin Library. They will provide a URL and password for you to use. 
    2. You must agree to terms and conditions before using this service. 
  3. You will receive an email from Interlibrary Loan (ILL) staff once your registration is complete. 

How to request a searchable PDF of a library book

  1. Log into your ILL Services Account. There are two ways to do so: 
    1. Log in at 
    2. Find a book in WorldCat UMD, then select Request Item through Interlibrary Loan. 
  2. When asked to choose your campus affiliation, select the first option: University of Maryland College Park – Students, Faculty, Staff, Research Affiliates and Retired Faculty/Staff. Then use your university Directory ID and password to log in. 
  3. Complete the Request Book or Other Loan form. 
    1. Select Yes when asked if you want a searchable PDF delivered electronically. If you select No, ILL staff will provide a print copy of the book instead. Skip this question if requesting audiobooks or other media; ILL staff will try to borrow physical copies of those items. 
    2. Provide the Title (required) and other citation information. This data will populate automatically if the request was initiated via WorldCat UMD. 
    3. Specify the date by which you need the item, and indicate whether you will accept an alternate edition (required). 
    4. After completing the necessary fields, select Submit Request. A confirmation message, with the Transaction Number (TN) for this request will display.

How to download a searchable PDF of a library book 

  1. Within one week, you should receive one or more emails with the subject: “Requested Item Delivered Electronically.” Some books may be delivered as a single PDF, while some may be delivered chapter by chapter. This depends on whether the book was already available in HathiTrust or whether the library had to scan their copy.
  2. Use the link in the email to sign in to your ILL Services Account: 
  3. On the "ALTR Books and Electronically Received Articles" page, a list of items available for download will appear. Select View to open and save the PDF. It is recommended that you save the PDF to a personal computer/device as it will only remain in your ILL Services Account for two weeks from the date of posting. 

Contact Us:

Questions? Contact or 301-405-9178 (Monday - Friday, 10am - 5pm)

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