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Last updated: 8th January 2019

We want everyone who visits Cambridge Core to feel welcome and find the experience rewarding.

What are we doing?

We are continually working to make Cambridge Core as accessible and usable as possible. To help us make it a positive place for everyone, we've been using the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. These guidelines explain how to make web content more accessible for people with disabilities, and user friendly for everyone.
The guidelines have three levels of accessibility (A, AA and AAA). The target for Cambridge Core is level AA.

Available formats

The majority of our content is available in both PDF and HTML format. To open PDF files, you will need a PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader. Please see the following guide for advice on using the inbuilt accessibility features of Adobe Reader: Reading PDFs with reflow and accessibility features.

In addition to our PDF and HTML content our users can generate shareable links to content via the Cambridge Core Share tool. This tool enables authors and readers to easily generate a link to an online, read-only view of a journal article. This link can be freely shared on social media sites such as Twitter and scholarly collaboration networks such as ResearchGate to enhance the impact and discoverability of research and opportunities for collaboration in research. For more information, please visit the services for sharing content page.

Permitted use of content

Subject to your level of access to our Site, the restrictions (specified in our Terms of use), and solely for the purposes of research, teaching or private study, you may:

  • access, view, download, store and print Content; and/or
  • incorporate links to Content in electronic course packs or management systems.

Nothing in the Terms shall in any way exclude, modify or affect any of your statutory rights under applicable copyright law.
For further information regarding the permitted uses and restrictions of content, please visit our Terms of use.

Requests for the Reading Impaired

Cambridge University Press now publishes the majority of its new titles, and many older titles, in accessible ebook formats either for individual purchase or on platforms suitable for institutions. Where a work is unavailable for purchase in a suitable format, we welcome enquiries from both individuals and institutions to provide one. More information and the Accessibility Request Form can be found here. We aim to respond to any requests within 5-7 working days. 

Available functionality

The following is a summary of currently available functionality:

  • Descriptive images have either a descriptive alt attribute, image caption or surrounding text
  • Decorative images have alt value of null
  • Linked images have an alt attribute that describes the destination page
  • Button images have an alt attribute that describes the function of the button

  • Unique, descriptive page titles are present on every page
  • Logical heading structure is used – all pages have unique <h1> followed by descriptive <h2> and so on *
  • Lists are used where possible 
  • The reading and navigation order is logical and intuitive
  • Skip to content links are present
  • Multiple ways to navigate through the site - navigation, sitemap, crumb trail, search, etc.
  • Tables are used for tabular data only, <th> tags used for header rows and header columns

Fonts, colours and contrast
  • Colour alone is not used to convey content (e.g. colour coding)
  • Colour contrast ratio (foreground vs. background) is at least 4.5:1
  • In-built browser functions can be used to adjust both text and background colours. Different browsers include these options under different menus – they can usually be found under Tools, Settings, Options, Content or Reading View depending on the browser.
  • Browser plugins (e.g. Theme Font & Size Changer for FireFox) or third party tools (e.g. ATbar) can also be helpful.

Magnification and reflow 
  • Text is re-sizable without loss of content 
  • Content areas of Cambridge Core use in-page text zoom function (Aa, Aa). For the rest of the site CTRL + can be used to magnify the text. The text will reflow to fit the page. In-built browser zoom function can also be used (-  100%  +)

Text to speech
  • Text to speech has been tested on Cambridge Core with a range of browser plugins and third party tools, e.g. ClaroRead for Chrome browser. Selected text will be read out by clicking the play button. Various settings (e.g. speed of reading, voice, accent, etc.) can easily be adjusted

Audio and video
  • Subtitles and transcript/descriptive text is provided for audio/video *
  • Audio description is provided for video *
  • Audio can be stopped, paused and muted
  • All controls are accessible via keyboard *

Moving Content
  • The user can switch off any time-limits
  • Automatically moving, scrolling or updating content can be paused, stopped or hidden by the user
  • No content flashes more than 3 times per second

  • Buttons have descriptive values
  • All form fields have associated text labels
  • Related form elements are grouped with field set/legend
  • All form labels are unique and informative
  • The form label provides instructions e.g. if required, minimum length, etc.
  • Form error/validation messages are clear and intuitive, providing instructions and suggestions
  • Instructions do not rely on shape, size, colour, sound, etc.

  • Link text is unique, descriptive and makes sense out of context
  • Links are distinguished from surrounding text - e.g. underlined, bold, etc. 
  • Highlighted state of links - active, hover, focus

Keyboard access
  • All functionality is available via keyboard - e.g. forms, tabbing through the links, etc.
  • Access keys / keyboard shortcuts are avoided (due to compatibility issues)
  • Keyboard focus is never locked or trapped
  • It is visually apparent which element has the current keyboard focus (dropdowns open) *

  • No unexpected changes to the page, e.g. on focus or interactions or auto-updates 
  • Content updates (where page load is not required – e.g. search facet selection) are announced by screen readers
  • Consistent elements throughout sites, e.g. navigation, search boxes, general layout etc.

  • Lang attribute is set, e.g. <html lang="en">
  • Page content in a different language is identified, e.g. <blockquote lang="es"> *
  • Significant HTML validation/parsing errors are avoided
  • Mark-up facilitates accessibility including HTML specifications and using forms, form labels, frame titles, etc. appropriately. Use of WAI-ARIA for dynamic content changes, roles and keyboard access

* Currently under review

Known issues

  • Older archive content reproduced from original printed sources is presented in the form of scanned PDFs with accompanying background text, produced using OCR (Optical Character Recognition).
  • HTML content tables are generally presented as images
  • HTML content images don’t include alt tags but most include adjacent description
  • Synchronised captions are present for some videos. No audio descriptions are present

Third Party Software

We use third party software on our site to enhance the reading experience for our users (e.g. Hypothesis annotation tool). Whilst every effort is made to ensure that any third party we work with provide accessible software we cannot guarantee full AA compliance. Please let us know if you experience any problems (contact details provided below).

Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)

The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) is a document which evaluates how accessible a particular product is according to the Section 508 Standards in the US. It is a self-disclosing document produced by the vendor which details each aspect of WCAG 2.0/Section 508 requirements and how the product supports each criteria.
Download VPAT 2.1 for Cambridge Core (MS doc)

Compatible tools

We have tested our platform with the following assistive technology tools:

  • Keyboard only
  • NVDA screen reader
  • JAWS
  • VoiceOver
  • Adobe Read Out Loud
  • Various Text-to-speech software

Browser support

Cambridge Core has been cross-platform and cross-browser tested. It is optimised for modern browsers including Microsoft Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Google Chrome. Older browsers may offer limited functionality.

Mobile device support

Cambridge Core is responsive, it re-organises itself depending on the screen size and orientation of the device being used to view it. We test the experience on various devices including most popular IOS, Android and MS Windows phones and tablets.

Engagement with accessibility services 

Cambridge University Press have engaged with the RNIB Bookshare collections (formerly Load2Learn) by donating digital files to the collection which ensures that accessible content reaches print disabled learners as fast as possible.
We have also taken part in various initiatives and audits, e.g. The ASPIRE project  and The e-book accessibility audit, joint projects between several UK Higher Education Institution (HEI) disability and library services, Jisc and representatives from the book supply industry. The audit supports an inclusive approach by seeking to introduce a benchmark for accessibility in e-book platforms.  The focus is on key areas of practical user experience to measure basic accessibility functionality and guide targeted platform improvement.

Let us know what you think

If you enjoyed using Cambridge Core, or if you had trouble with any part of it, please get in touch. We'd like to hear from you in any of the following ways: