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Spring 2007 Table of Contents
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Press Release from the Association of American Publishers (AAP)

Abstract: this article discusses the release of an online database that will allow Disabled Student Services to seek text materials in alternate formats.

Key Words: blindness, visual impairment, Association of American Publishers, braille, Disability Support Services, Alternative Formats Solutions Initiative, News & Views

Washington, D.C. (August 22, 2006) -- Higher education publisher members of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) today launched a beta version of a Publisher Look-Up Service. The online search tool, found at, will enable Disabled Student Services (DSS) professionals who are seeking text materials in alternate formats for print-disabled students to more easily contact publishers.

The Publisher Look-Up Service is a first step in AAP's Alternative Formats Solutions Initiative (AFSI), a national effort to identify ways to provide print-disabled post-secondary students with specially formatted course materials on a timely basis. AFSI research showed that publishers could make an immediate difference by launching the Publisher Look-Up Service, while still exploring longer-term solutions.

The Association of American Publishers heard repeatedly that DSS professionals can have a tough time figuring out whom to contact at a particular publishing house to request either an electronic format of a textbook or permission to scan that book in order to produce e-text. In response, AAP built the Publisher Look-Up Service, a Web site interface to help DSS professionals search for e-text and permissions contacts at college textbook publishing companies, said Ed McCoyd, AAP's director of digital policy.

DSS offices at post-secondary institutions can search by textbook publisher or publisher imprint to access general information about the publishing company and appropriate contact information. Once provided with this information, DSS offices typically work with publishers to acquire an electronic version of a textbook to provide to print-disabled students.

We believe the Look-Up Service is a step in the right direction. Active participation by publishers and DSS professionals will make this beta launch a success, enabling us to enhance and improve the Look-Up Service with publisher-supplied data and user feedback. Our ultimate goal is to have completely accurate, up-to-date information on the site for the spring 2007 semester, McCoyd said.

Publishers-AAP members and non-members-are encouraged to secure a login from AAP that enables them to directly upload, edit, and update company information on the site. To request a login, write .

About AAP's Alternative Formats Solutions Initiative (AFSI): The Alternative Formats Solutions Initiative is a publisher-funded research project that involves colleges and universities, students, disabled students support services professionals, national and state disability advocacy groups, and technology providers in an effort to create a national framework of specific, practical solutions. The AAP-led program, which began in March 2006, is assessing problems faced by print-disabled students, including delays in getting their materials or the inability to receive the proper materials at all.

AAP members were active participants in a federal solution for students in grades K-12, supporting the development and passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) of 2004. Building on that collaborative effort, the Association and its higher education publishers initiated their post-secondary efforts in April 2005 at a meeting of stakeholders in Washington, D.C. In December 2005, AAP hosted a meeting held by the Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD) with publishers, college and university personnel, and other advocacy groups to gather input on how to move the process forward. At this meeting, AHEAD's E-text Solutions Group identified the Look-Up Service as a priority.

About the Association of American Publishers: The Association of American Publishers is the national trade association of the U.S. book publishing industry. AAP's more than 300 members include most of the major commercial book publishers in the United States, as well as smaller and non-profit publishers, university presses and scholarly societies. AAP members publish hardcover and paperback books in every field, educational materials for the elementary, secondary, postsecondary, and professional markets, scholarly journals, computer software, and electronic products and services.