What is the Accessible Content E-Portal (ACE)?

The Accessible Content E-Portal (ACE) is a platform that provides access to a collection of books that have been digitized and made available online in accessible formats for participating Ontario universities and colleges. Users who have registered with a documented print disability through their school’s accessibility department can request access to ACE.

ACE has been developed through Scholars Portal, improving access to university and college libraries across Ontario. ACE is part of the Scholars Portal Books platform, and is one of several accessibility initiatives at Scholars Portal that is focused on advancing equality for library users with print disabilities.


How can I get access to ACE?

If you are a library patron with a print disability at one of our participating universities or colleges, you can get in touch with the local ACE coordinator at your school at any time to determine your eligibility to use this service. The accessibility staff at your institution will help you understand the eligibility criteria for the ACE service, and provide you with your token (a unique string of ten letters and numbers) for logging into the ACE portal.

At the beginning of each academic year, a new set of login tokens is generated. This is to ensure that library patrons who are no longer registered at their university will no longer have access to the ACE portal. As long as you remain an active member of your university community at one of our participating universities, you can request a new token to continue using the repository.


What kinds of books are available, and how do you select them?

ACE contains accessible versions of books that are available in print at one or more of the participating libraries in Ontario. Our collection is continuously growing, and a wide variety of subject areas are already represented. There are no restrictions of the subject matter of books that can be included in the repository, provided a copy is available at one of our participating libraries.

Books are selected for inclusion in three ways:

  1. If a user at one of our participating schools needs an accessible copy of a book in their library’s print collection, they can submit a request to their local ACE coordinator. This way, we can provide on-demand digitization services throughout the academic year for users who need a book in an accessible format, so they can continue on with their studies with minimal interruption.
  2. We have partnered with the Internet Archive Canada, who handle all the digitization involved in this project. We are working with them to incorporate books they have already digitized that are also available at our participating universities, in order to grow our collection.

Please note that while all users can view the complete list of titles in the collection across all universities, they may only download the full text copy of a book if their own university owns a  copy. ACE service is designed to make library print collections accessible so the requesting institution must have a copy of each book in their library catalogue.

If you would like to place a request for a book, please jump to the following FAQ for instructions: I need a book that isn’t available in ACE. Can you get it for me?

Authenticated ACE users are also able to search and download the ebooks that their library has purchased using the Scholars Portal Books platform.


What accessible formats do you provide?

All books available in ACE are provided in the following accessible formats:

Format Description
Colour PDF Downloads in this format are provided both for individual chapters (where possible) as well as for the entire book.
Black & white PDF Black & white PDFs are provided at a lower resolution than our colour PDFs, generating a file that is smaller in size. This option may work better for any software that has difficulty handling large file sizes.
DAISY DAISY file downloads are provided in a ZIP format.
Plain text file (TXT) Downloads in this format provide a plain, unstructured text file in the standard TXT format.
ePub This format is a lower resolution XML standard for digital publications and documents. ePubs can be read on your desktop or mobile phone using free e-reader software like FBReaderAldiko (for Android) or Adobe Digital Editions. It is also supported by most popular e-book reading devices including the Sony Reader, BeBook, IREX Reader, iPhone, and the Nook from Barnes & Noble’s.

Accessibility staff at each institution can help users complete the conversion into a KESI (Kurzweil) file or MP3s upon request.


I need a book that isn’t available in ACE. Can you get it for me?

If there is a book available in print at your school’s library that you need in an accessible format, we can digitize it for you on-demand and upload it to ACE.

To find out how to submit your request, get in touch with your local ACE coordinator and ask if your library participates in the ACE live request service. They will then verify your eligibility (usually by confirming your registration status with your institution’s accessibility services), and forward your request on to the ACE team at Scholars Portal, where we will attempt to fulfill your request as soon as possible. Please do not submit any requests directly to Scholars Portal.

Your local contact can provide you with more information on how long it usually takes to process and fulfill these live requests, as this may vary based on your library’s particular staffing and workflows. Once we have received your request at Scholars Portal, the majority of our requests are digitized and uploaded within eight calendar days. The exact length of time required for digitization can vary based on availability of the book and other factors. You can learn more about this process in our behind-the-scenes video.

Please remember that we are only able to provide you with access to books that are available at your library. If there is a book you need that is not available at your school, please talk to your local contact. They may be able to offer alternative suggestions.


There is a book already available in ACE, but I can’t access it.

While all users can view the complete list of titles in the collection across all schools, you may only access the full text version of a book if your own library owns a copy.

When we upload a new book to ACE, we check it against all of our participating universities’ library collections. If a university owns a copy of this book, we will grant their users access as well. However, this system is not always perfect. If you have found a book in ACE that you can’t access, check to see if your university’s library owns a copy (please note: the book must be the exact same edition). If it does, get in touch with your local ACE coordinator. The team at Scholars Portal can usually grant you access to the book within a day.


What are the terms of use for ACE?

Materials in ACE are subject to Canadian copyright law and are made available for use to persons with disabilities listed under section 32 of the Canadian Copyright Act. No materials downloaded from ACE can be shared with non-registered users.

Users who have been granted access to ACE and provided with a token are required to accept our Terms of Service, which are listed on the ACE login page.


I’m concerned about my privacy. What information do you track?

We understand that your disability status is private, medical information that should be protected. Likewise, we support your intellectual freedom to pursue any research and studies without barriers or restrictions. All users who are granted access to ACE will therefore remain anonymous to the ACE team at Scholars Portal.

Currently a token system is used to restrict access to eligible users. Each year, the ACE team provides each participating institution with a number of tokens. The local ACE coordinator then assigns tokens to eligible users. So your own school’s accessibility staff will know which students have access to ACE, but the ACE team at Scholars Portal is not privy to this information.

Because tokens are used instead of named accounts, your browsing and downloading habits are not directly linked to your name. Your local accessibility staff will know which token belongs to which student, but won’t have access to any information about the resources you have used on ACE. On the other hand, the staff at Scholars Portal track general information about how many books are accessed or downloaded by how many different tokens, but do not know which token belongs to which student.

Scholars Portal would only attempt to identify the user of a token in rare cases where ACE terms of use have been seriously breached.


How can I provide my feedback about ACE?

ACE is continues to grow and change. We would love to hear feedback from any of our users. There are two ways you can send us your feedback:

  • Check the right-hand sidebar on this page, or visit the Contact us page to find our e-mail address.
  • Use the Contact feedback form from the ACE platform.

Other opportunities for feedback may come up from time to time, for example through usability tests or comprehensive surveys. You are welcome to send us an e-mail if you are interested in learning about these opportunities.