Skip to main content

Accessibility Services

A guide to accessibility services at the Goucher College Library

Definitions and Related Terms

Accessibility: Generally the ability to access, in the context of disability services, usually means the degree to which a place or thing can be accessed by an individual with a disability. Accessibility might refer to the degree to which a building is accessible to an individual with a disability or similar considerations.

Adaptive or assistive technology: Technologies that expand the ability of an individual with a disability to interact with or gain more utility from products or services. Adaptive technologies, generally, allow individuals with disabilities to use regular products. Examples of adaptive technologies include text-to-speech and screen magnification software. Assistive technologies, generally, expand or improve the abilities of individuals with disabilities. Examples of assitive technologies include screen readers and refreshing Braille keyboards.

Americans with Disabilities Act: Passed in 1990, the act "guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, State and local government services, and telecommunications."

Disability: A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. A disability can also include a record of this type of physical or mental impairment, or the fact of being perceived as having such an impairment.

Print-disabled: Inability to read or interact with print material due to a disability. This includes people with visual impairment, dyslexia, or a motor disability that limits their ability to perform actions such as turning pages.

Screen reader: A physical device or software that attempts to interpret and convey visual infrom from a computer or other device screen. Information can be conveyed aloud (e.g. text-to-speech) or using a Braille device.

Statistics: More 50 million (1 in 5) Americans are living with at least one disability. Most Americans will experience a disability some time during the course of their lives.

Text-to-speech: Device or software that renders print text into human speech. A common feature of screen readers and similar devices.

Usability: In this context, the ability to use or learn to use a particular object or product for a specific purpose. Usability testing often undertaken by the designers of web resources and other technological devices, to determine the ease of use and the ease of learning to use said service/item.


The language and statistics on this page are intended to help members of the Goucher College community understand various forms of disabilities and their implications for accessing college resources. Information is taken from the websites of The Americans with Disabilities Act and The Centers for Disease Control..

Goucher College Library, 1021 Dulaney Valley Road, Baltimore, MD 21204 • 410-337-6360 • © 2013-2017 • Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.