ARACU Frequently Asked Questions

Who are we?

ARACU stands for Accessible Resources Acquisition and Creation Unit and we've been around for nearly 30 years. We're part of the Bodleian Libraries and you may know of us under our previous name of Oxford University Resources for the Blind.

What do we do?

We create alternative formats for disabled students who can't access printed materials.  We can provide material in electronic format (both Word and PDF Image), audio DAISY CD, Braille and also tactile diagrams.

Who do we help?

Primarily we help visually impaired students, but we undertake work for anyone with a print impairment (dyslexia, chronic fatigue). Our main users are students and departments at the University,  but we also do work for individuals and others at outside institutions.

How can you start using the service?

Contact us by email or telephone 01865 283862 or mention us to Disability Advisory Service when you are discussing other needs and they will put you in touch with us. We'll meet up with you, take a few details of the material and how you would like it, get your reading lists and take it from there.

How long will material take to get to you?

This depends on the material you need, what format you would like it in, where the material is in libraries and how soon you get reading lists to us. We need to work in advance of you starting your course because we have several people we provide work for and we need to order books from various libraries and coordinate reading lists. We usually get material to you at least one week, if not two before the week you need it.

On average, audio recordings will take around 6-8 weeks to complete, Word files 3-4 weeks, PDF scans and Braille around 1-2 weeks. For Braille, if material is provided in electronic format it will take less time, longer if we need to scan and convert to Word). It helps if you can tell us your tutorial dates and we will endeavour to get material to you one week in advance. Also, delivery times will be affected by the size of the materials to work on.

Do we charge for the service?

Yes we do, but it is only a cost recovery fee, we never make a profit. If you are a UK student you will be eligible for Disabled Students Allowance and will be assessed for various pieces of software. You should also mention that you will be using our service for your material and they will factor this in to your allowance costs. If you would like us to give you a quote for material, email or telephone and we can also give you average prices.

Can we help with using certain types of software?

Yes we can. We have an area in the Unit that students and staff are more than welcome to use for trying out various pieces of ergonomic equipment and assistive software. We have a database of holdings in ARACU for testing and also for lending to students to trial and if needs be, to use for their studies. Details can be found on the Equipment pages.

Can we help with access to libraries?

ARACU's manager is also the Disability Librarian, so if you are having difficulties with any of the Bodleian Libraries' 30 libraries, please email or telephone 01865 283861. Look at the Access to Libraries web page for more information.

What about Disability Advisory Service?

We work closely with Disability Advisory Service in every aspect of what we do. They contact us if students require alternative texts and we provide advice on assistive software.

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