Transfer of literature - conversion service of the SZS

Adaptation of study materials for blind and partially sighted students

The conversion service of the SZS is available for blind or visually impaired students and their lecturers at KIT. The conversion is an adaption of study material based on the individual working technique of each student. We do not only convert scripts, scientific papers, slides and documents but also written exams, books and other study-relevant material which are necessary for the participation in lectures and exams. Please find information on the cooperation with the SZS under written exams.
The study material will be converted by the SZS and made available to the students on a safe platform. The material can be downloaded and read on a computer with magnifying software (e.g. screen reader or braille display) or alternatively printed in Braille. Many graphics are also available in tactile form.
The conversion itself is carried out in accordance with the current criteria of scientific text processing and is permanently improved resp. adapted to the students’ needs.
The type of media the study material will be converted to is generally defined by the student.

Organisation and transfer of literature

The literature is transferred by student tutors who normally work 20 to 40 hours per month for the SZS during the semester. They are not assigned to defined students but are responsible for the proper processing of their project (e.g. transfer of a script, book etc.).
Generally, the material is not made available as a complete piece of work but accompanying the respective lecture piece by piece (e.g. as chapters) and available via the platform. Thus the students have early access to the literature and can use it for their studies. The aim is to reduce the wait time to a minimum in terms of equal opportunities compared to their seeing fellow students.
Tutors and students are in close contact with each other – normally via e-mail but also by phone or in personal meetings at the SZS – to answer questions or solve problems jointly.
As soon as the literature is completely transferred it is added to the SZS literature catalogue. In addition to that, transferred books are reported to the Zentralkatalog der Medien für Sehgeschädigte (Sehkon) in Dortmund, Germany, and can be borrowed there via interlibrary loan.

How does the processing work?

Generally, the student directly addresses his/her lecturer and establishes the contact to the SZS. This happens in most cases via email to materialSth5∂szs kit edu.
To convert the documents the SZS needs either a digital copy or a printed copy of the material as well as the following basic information:

  • Name of student
  • Date by when the conversion is to be completed. It is helpful if comprehensive material is provided early as the conversion takes more time. As a rule: the sooner the better!
  • Objective and type resp. name of lecture (e.g. seminar XY, WS17/18, lecture)
  • Name and contact details (e-mail, phone number) to get in touch with the lecturer in case of questions

What should the source material look like?

The study material can be processed quicker and more efficiently when the following aspects are taken into respect:

  • The text to be processed should be available in digital form or in a format that allows digitisation including all bibliographic information.
  • Text should be ideally saved as  LaTeX source code or as a Microsoft Word compatible file. Other formats might work but the conversion will take longer.
  • Graphics can also be made accessible. As they require more time it is useful to provide them as vector graphics (CorelDraw, Inkscape, LibreOffice Draw Power Point or the like)

Counselling, training, support

It is needless to say that we are happy to help all authors of student materials.
On a regular basis we also offer training on the different kind of techniques to convert texts and graphics for tutors and students. Respective guidelines are available.

In addition to that, all students and authors can be provided with electronic equipment by the SZS.

For questions and further information

Partner for literature conversions in the SZS is Dr. Thorsten Schwarz.

For inquiries send an email to material∂ or just call and/or pass by.