The Librarian Team can work with you to help you find the best learning resources for your course and avoid access issues that can affect your students. There are some key issues to consider when selecting learning resources.


Provide accessible resources

If asked, encourage your students to contact a Student Adviser to discuss their situation and activate UQ and Library Support services.

Accessible content

The Create accessible content guide will help you to make your content accessible and understand why it is important.

Awareness of digital accessibility on Workday (UQ staff login required) is a self-paced course on digital accessibility and how to overcome some of the common barriers to learning.

Scanning service

You can request to have items scanned into an accessible electronic version.

Accessibility for eBooks

Accessibility information for using eBooks includes tips on using screen reader software, accessibility features available on eBook platforms and flexible formats.

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Compliance with the Higher Education Standards Framework

Teaching staff should be aware that the provision of textbooks and readings should be compliant with Schedule 1, Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021 (Cth):  

3.3 Learning Resources and Educational Support

3. Access to learning resources does not present unexpected barriers, costs or technology requirements for students, including for students with special needs and those who study off campus. 

Issues with non-compliant eBooks

eBooks with restrictions and other barriers may not be compliant with the Higher Education Standards Framework. 


eBooks may have:

  • limitations on how users can access them including removal of rights to print, copy, and download PDF chapters. 
  • highly restrictive access models for libraries with limited numbers of simultaneous users being able to access a single text at any one time, reducing the Library’s capacity to provide access and thereby disadvantaging students. 
  • restrictions on printing which impact adversely on students with disabilities, who often require access to print materials. 
  • highly restrictive access with some only being available to be accessed for 12 to 72 hours. 
  • embargos, meaning that they are not available until many months after a print version is available, reducing the opportunity for students and researchers to access the latest information and disadvantaging students who require access to electronic copies. 
  • "Restricted Country Rights". 

Impacts on student use

Some eBooks:

  • have unclear and inflexible parameters on loan conditions and procedures which can impact learning and assessment, particularly in exams.
  • cause confusion for users when the different access rules apply to multiple copies of the same title. 
  • have poorly designed student interfaces. 
  • have pagination issues creating difficulties in referencing material in learning resources and assignments. 

Current publisher business models reduce the opportunities for the Library to make content available.  The CAUL Procurement: Statement on eBook provision (PDF, 198KB) provides more details about these issues. 

You can check the publisher, platform, and usage conditions of a title via Library Search or by contacting the Librarian team

Alternatives for non-complaint eBooks

If your textbooks or readings are not compliant with the Higher Education Standards Framework you may wish to consider alternatives, including Open textbooks and other Open Educational Resources. 

This section is adapted from the CAUL Procurement: Statement on eBook provision (PDF, 198KB) by the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) shared under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic Licence

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Equal access for all

Access barriers may mean that not all your students will be able to use a resource when they need it e.g. during open book exams or when completing assignments.

Print book and traditionally published ebooks can have access barriers, including:

  • Too expensive for students to buy.
  • Only a limited number of physical copies are able to be held by the Library in line with our Collection Management Policy.
  • Licensing conditions for ebooks may be restrictive e.g. concurrent use limits, only a certain percentage of an ebook can be downloaded or printed, downloaded copies are only available for a short time.
  • The Library cannot always provide access to eTextbooks for courses due to restrictive conditions imposed by publishers.

Open educational resources (OER), including open textbooks, are licensed in ways that allow us to legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them. You can adapt an open textbook for your course.

Open Textbooks @ UQ is an open textbook creation platform you can use to author an open textbook for your course or work with students to co-create resources.

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Indigenous and diverse perspectives

Resources that present Indigenous perspectives and diverse viewpoints can engage your students and allow them to experience an inclusive teaching environment. Select resources by authors with different identities, backgrounds and ethnicities.

Use Indigenising Curriculum Resources to find a rich and curated collection of library resources and innovative approaches for embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander curriculum and inclusive teaching practices. The resources include:

  • the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives guide - a comprehensive list of resources with an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander focus
  • Indigenising Curriculum reading list - has resources organised by Faculty and notes indicating resources authored by Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander or Indigenous writers
  • the Library's curated collections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Resources.

Use the How diverse are my reading lists guide from Huddersfield University, UK, to assess your reading list for diversity.

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Different formats

Choose a range of resource types, including videos, data sets, websites and digital objects, to support different learning styles and to increase student engagement with the resources.

Our How to find guides explain techniques to find specific information formats, including:


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It is important to ensure that your learning resources comply with copyright. If you have uploaded a PDF into your course, rather than linking to it, you may be in breach of copyright.

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