Document conversion with SensusAccess

SensusAccess is an online document conversion system supporting the transformation of text and image-based file types into different formats. This service is available for free for University of Maryland students, faculty and staff. Users must have a valid umd.edu email address to access the service.

Process

  • User uploads a document (file, url or text) through the online form.
  • User selects the output format
  • SensusAccess processes the information sent by the user
  • Converts it to the specified file format
  • Sends the converted file to the user via an email attachment or link

SensusAccess is also available as a tool within the ELMS-Canvas platform. The integration allows for faculty and students to access the tool to convert documents in their ELMS files. Instructors can access SensusAccess through ELMS-Canvas by dragging the SensusAccess tool up in the course navigation settings. Students can access SensusAccess by selecting the tool on the ELMS-Canvas course navigation. For additional information, refer to document on how to use the SensusAccess ELMS-Canvas integration.

Conversion Options

Use SensusAccess for:

  • Accessibility conversions: Image and PDF files can be converted to more accessible formats (tagged PDFs, Word documents, HTML, etc.)
  • Braille services: Documents can be converted to and from contracted and uncontracted Braille. The documents can be formatted and paginated, and delivered as ready-to-emboss files in a variety of digital Braille formats.
  • Audio services: Files can be converted into plain MP3 files as well as DAISY books, including those with spoken math. MP3 audio versions are created using high-quality, customizable computer generated text-to-speech voices.
  • E-book services: Documents can be converted into EPUB, EPUB3, EPUB3 with media overlays and Mobipocket (Amazon Kindle) e-book formats. Furthermore, EPUB may be converted into a Mobipocket and vice versa. To accommodate users with low vision, the baseline of the body text in an e-book may be raised to allow for more appropriate text scaling in mainstream e-book readers.
  • Reference the conversion options document for more information about the available output formats.

Confidential Data and Copyrights

SensusAccess users must only use this service to convert files with data listed as low and moderate in the UMD Data Classification Standards. This service cannot be used for documents containing FERPA data.

All copyright provisions apply to the use of the SensusAccess service. Individuals submitting files for conversion must have appropriate copyright permission to upload materials to SensusAccess (i.e., you own the copyright, you are using the material under fair use or the disabilities provisions of copyright law). Note that the resulting file likely has the same copyright restrictions as the original. Direct questions about Copyrights to lib-copyright@umd.edu.

Best Practices

The quality of a conversion is dependent upon the quality of the original document.

For instance, if you upload a poorly scanned image file for conversion to a text format, the resulting text document may include recognition errors in the output file. However, a Microsoft Word document containing the heading style markup for chapters (e.g., Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.) will convert into a more usable DAISY or ePub format with the relevant chapter navigation elements. Creating accessible Microsoft Word documents will support the conversion for more accessible documents in several formats. 

Review conversion best practices to identify simple methods to prepare the file before converting in order to achieve a high-quality output.

Training and Support

The SensusAccess e-learning course is intended for students, staff, faculty and others who are converting material into alternate formats such as audio books, e-books, digital large-print and Braille, either for themselves or on behalf of others. The course also covers how SensusAccess can be used to improve the accessibility of documents and to make documents easier to work with.

If you have any questions, need support or would like to provide feedback regarding the SensusAccess system, please email itaccessibility@umd.edu.

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