Digital compendia from paper originals – but what about universal design?


To adjust to the digital era several universities have finally taken the step from printed compendia to digital compendia. Ironically the digital compendia are most of the time still scanned from paper originals of varying quality, spanning from acceptable to almost unreadable, resulting in equally varying digital files.

In Norway educational material is demanded by law to be universally designed, and from early 2017 this law also includes digital material.

So: With these parameters, how do you ensure readable documents with good usability not only for the majority of the student body, but also for students with special needs – without customizing the compendia? And while we´re at it, is it possible to exploit the digital format and create added value through extra features and fuctions? And can we do all of this, and still be cost efficient?

These questions we asked ourselves as the Graphic Centre, the University Library and the Accessibility Service on NTNU launched a pilot together withThe National Coordinator of Accessibility of Higher Education. The results will be presented at this years NUAS.


Line Tørum Amdam, Manager of Graphic Centre, NTNU 


Line is the manager of the Graphic Centre on NTNU, a unit that for over 60 years has made everyday life easier for students and teachers on NTNU by offering services in print and finishing, design, illustration, photography, strategy and communication advice etc. Line has 20 years of experience from the communications and design industry and has worked as a designer, art director, copywriter, illustration artist and communications advisor in both the private and public sector. She first became aware of Universal Design when she worked with design and communications in the Norwegian Housing Bank, an organisation known for it`s extensive focus on universal design. The interest has since grown, and she was the initiator of the pilot for universally designed digital compendia on NTNU.



Tone Fiskaa, Executive Officer, Graphic Centre,  NTNU


Tone works at NTNU Graphic Centre as responsible for production of digital compendia.

She studied in Norway and France and has a wide range of experience from several branches that spans from administrative work in the oil industry, book stores and the publishing industry to journalism and producing printed compendia. She has always been interested in text and written communication, and has become more and more interested in the digital format.

She has worked with compendia for several years, and since January 2016 she has worked with production of digital compendia for NTNU. After having made printed compendia for many years with all the restrictions there is to printed text, she is happy to finally work with the compendia digitally and develop them with all the potential there is with digital material. She is especially interested in this pilot because of the great possibilities of making text equally available for all readers, either with or without individual needs.