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Digital Libraries in Higher Education - An opportunity for improved accessibility, higher efficiency and better practice

| Proposal No: 1912

Bios & Handouts


  • Lars Ballieu Christensen, Senior Advisor, Sensus Aps
  • Tanja Stevns, Senior Advisor, Sensus Aps

Disability Area:          

Topic Area:                

Length of Session (in hours): 1-hrFormat: Lecture Expertise Level: All Levels Type of session: Not provided

Summary of Session

Producing educational material in accessible, alternate formats is time-consuming, costly and complicated. Available alternate formats are often limited and faculty rarely pays attention to accessibility. Offering search, sharing, reuse and automated conversion, digital libraries may be the remedy.


Educational institutions often spend much time and resources to locate and convert files into alternate formats for students, without knowing if the task was already completed elsewhere. High staff turnover and uncertain funding make it difficult to maintain required skills amongst alternate media producers. With limited scope for sharing and repurposing, most media conversions are done case-by-case, rarely considering the benefits of standardised formats and parallel publishing. And faculty seems to have little attention on authoring accessible material. Building on the above issues, the presentation will suggest how a digital library combined with instilled authoring procedures can serve as a foundation for efficient reuse and repurposing of material. It will also discuss how accessibility of material in a library as well as new material can be gradually enhanced, and how student services can be improved through timeliness and availability of material in multiple alternate formats


  1. Efficient reuse and repurposing of material when producing alternate media
  2. How to gradually enhance accessibility of educational material using a digital library
  3. How to improve student services through timeliness and availability of multiple alternate formats

Speaker Bio(s)

Lars Ballieu Christensen

Lars Ballieu Christensen (born 1963) works with technology and design for people with special needs. He advises government, organizations, academic institutions and companies on accessibility and inclusive design. Furthermore, he is the inventor of a range of innovative technologies that support inclusion and self-sufficiency amongst people with special needs, including the award-winning RoboBraille service. Lars holds master degrees in computer science and journalism, as well as a Ph.D. degree in computer science, all from the University of Roskilde, Denmark.

Tanja Stevns

Tanja Stevns(born 1967) works with education and technology to support inclusion of people with disabilities. Tanja has more than 20 years experience working at the Danish National Center for Blind Children. Tanja is a special education teacher, specializing in Vision Impairment, general learning disorders and as a speech therapist.