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Accessibility Features of Library Databases

Highlighted features of frequently used databases

Accessibility of SCC Library databases

Library databases come from a variety of domestic and international companies. EBSCO, ProQuest, and Gale provide a substantial number of research databases whose vendor statements document that they are compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and/or W3C WAI WCAG 2.0. Highlighted information about accessibility of several database vendors is provided below, and full vendor accessibility informaiton is linked.

Usability testing results from independent evaluators

Independent evaluators periodically conduct usability testing. To see objective reports of accessibility, the following evaluation summaries and full reports are recommended:

People in conversation

Have questions?

Contact an Spokane Community College librarian with questions including those about accessibility information for databases not on this guide.

EBSCO: Article databases

Summary of features:

  • Keyboard-only navigation
  • Text-to-speech functionality on HTML full-text articles (Choose an article, then click the LISTEN icon)
  • Translation of text into multiple languages
  • Transcripts for videos and audiobooks
  • Descriptive page titles and alternate text for meaningful images
  • ARIA landmarks to assist users with screen readers
  • Many ebooks are available DRM-free and in EPUB format

PDF content

Newer PDFs in EBSCO are ADA compliant. EBSCO Publishing began providing its scanned PDFs with an Optical Character Reader (OCR) text layer in September 2004. For assistance with older pdfs, contact the SCC Disability Access Services staff.

Additional information from the EBSCO company

Link to SCC Library databases

ProQuest: Article databases

Keyboard navigation: Using the TAB key

Use the TAB key to navigate through the main elements of a page, such as links and form fields.

  • Press the TAB key to move forward to the next feature.

  • Press SHIFT and the TAB key to move back to the previous feature.

Note: Default settings in Safari are to press Option and the TAB key to move through each link on the page.

Skip navigation

If you use a screen reader or your keyboard to access ProQuest, you can bypass the site-wide navigation links and jump directly to the content of the page using the “Skip over navigation to the main content” link at the top of each page. This link is usually hidden from view but can be revealed on screen by pressing the TAB key or Accesskey 2.

Screen reader or keyboard users can also use the TAB key or Accesskey 8 to bypass the list of suggested subjects on the Search Results list. Screen reader users can also use the TAB key to go to a link that allows them to turn on/off hit highlighting for speaking browsers.

Pop-up windows

ProQuest makes use of pop-up windows to provide some content. Pop-ups do not provide advertising in ProQuest; they always contain ProQuest content only. Links which trigger a pop-up window include warning text to inform you that content will load in a new browser window.

If you have a pop-up blocker activated, you will need to disable it for full access to ProQuest content. Alternatively, most pop-up blockers can be configured to allow pop-ups for sites you select, while still blocking pop-ups from other sites. Refer to your browser help for details on how to disable your pop-up blocker or to allow pop-ups within ProQuest.

PDF content

ProQuest databases contain many PDFs which are ADA compliant. However, older content was created from scanned images of original text that is not accessible to screen readers. This content is identified throughout ProQuest with the label "Scanned image PDF." 

For assistance with older pdfs, contact the SCC Disability Access Services staff.

Text-to-speech is not embedded.


Additional information from the ProQuest company

Link to SCC Library databases

Gale: Article databases

Summary of features:

  • Text-to-speech functionality on HTML full-text articles (Choose an article, then click the LISTEN icon)
  • Translation of text into multiple languages
  • Adjustable Text Size: Allows learners to change the text size of periodical HTML full-text documents for increased visibility. The text size persists throughout the user’s session. Resources also support browser resizing.

Tools which display at top of an article: Translate, Decrease font, Increase font, Change font, and Listen.

Additional information from the Gale company

LInk to SCC Library databases

Other article databases