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Library Services

Your gateway to a wide range of online information resources

Disabled user support

  1. Library Services
  2. Help and Support
  3. Disabled user support

This page provides information about the resources and services available to disabled students at a distance. For information about the library building at Milton Keynes, see Visiting the library building.

The library provides a number of different services to help you with your studies. To find out more about these go to the Library website select the 'Help and Support' tab and then follow the 'Disabled User Support' link.

Services include: converting inaccessible articles and book chapters, support for literature searching, and SensusAccess which enables print disabled students to convert material into a different format themselves.

Go to the library webpage and click on the 'Help and Support tab at the top of the screen. Then click on the 'Disabled User Support' link and then click on 'Convert a file with SensusAccess'. Scroll to the bottom of the page where you'll see an option to start uploading your file.

If you ever need additional support you can contact the library helpdesk which is available weekdays 9-5 and provides access to an out of hours webchat service. Helpdesk colleagues will be able to help you with general enquiries, but if your query is more specific it will usually be passed to a specialist.

Previous students have found the helpdesk to be an invaluable source of support during their studies.

You can contact the Library Helpdesk to discuss your specific requirements or if you have any accessibility suggestions. Phone the Library Helpdesk on +44 (0)1908 659 001, email us or chat to a member of OU library staff during our opening hours using our Webchat service.

Access to resources

Convert files with SensusAccess

If you have a print disability you might like to try a new online, automated conversion service the OU is piloting called SensusAccess. You can convert material into different formats such as PDF to text, audio, Word or Braille.  You can find more information about the service and access the conversion form at Convert a file with SensusAccess.

Database accessibility

Some of the databases subscribed to by The Open University Library have accessibility issues. For guidance tips on searching them see Databases with accessibility Issues.

Inaccessible online books and journals

If you have a print disability you could try using SensusAccess to convert material into a more accessible format.  For more information and the conversion form go to Convert a file with SensusAccess.

If you are trying to read an online article or ebook which is part of the Library's subscription and it includes tables and figure descriptions which are not accessible, Library Services may be able to provide the material as a Word document, as long as it isn’t available commercially in an appropriate accessible format.  To discuss your needs, please contact the Library Helpdesk


If you are unable to exactly follow the referencing format required by your module, referencing accessible formats provides guidance.

Supported literature searching

We encourage students to do their own literature searching, however certain disabilities can make this process difficult or impossible so we have set up a supported literature searching service.

Accessible formats

A number of organisations provide resources in accessible formats which may help supplement Open University student study materials.

Further help

Services for Disabled Students advice and guidance website

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Contacting the helpdesk

Chat to a Librarian - Available 24/7

Other ways to contact the Library Helpdesk