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Paresh Raval

Paresh - Sept 2015

Alternative Format Suite Manager

‌Paresh Raval joined the University of St Andrews Student Services in Nov 2004, where he was tasked with creating an Alternative Format Suite (AFS) to produce accessible electronic books (e-books) for print disabled students at the University.

He designed and co-ordinated the in-house build of the AFS by targeting specialist hardware and software to produce Large Print, Audio and Braille books for the print disabled students. He uses the phrase “print disabled” to cover any disability; long term or short; physical injury; hidden disability that prevents a person from reading a printed book in the normal way.

The e-books are produced with adapted texts (VAT “Value Added Text”) to make the e-text as unambiguous as possible, this is an added benefit since the end product is usually a versatile Word document which can be further adapted to almost any format – “One-Style-Fits-All” approach means we do not have to work on the same book again.

The e-books are not on Open Shelf in the University Library due to Copyright constraints and only available to registered print disabled students in the relevant course and registered with Student Services as needing AFS support.

Paresh has trained a pool of highly dedicated and motivated Volunteers who freely offer between 1 or 2 hours per week to help print disabled students – the volunteers are the unsung heroes whose work will help untold numbers of students forever. Many volunteers and print disabled students never meet each other but we get feedback from the students of the value of the support they receive in the form of accessible e-books.

Paresh has developed a good relationship with many Publishers who trust the AFS and offer their Copyrighted materials for legitimate uses. We are often offered between 3 and 5 Years’ Academic Use of their Copyrighted books in the form of PDFs. This support helps with the production of e-books especially if there is graffiti in library copies. Paresh would like to ask all Library Users to STOP GRAFFITI in books, it slows down the e-Production Life Cycle.

Paresh worked part time as a qualified sports coach in N.W. London and Oxford – attaining a high standard in Badminton – competing in the London Youth Games; he’s not bad at Tennis, Athletics, Football, Volleyball and Table-tennis. Coached part time during studying Computing at Oxford Polytechnic (Oxford Brookes University), where he met his future partner, Claire. Eventually they went travelling around the World for 12 months. Upon returning, Paresh found work at the University of Oxford where he managed the equivalent Format Suite. Paresh and Claire have always loved visiting Scotland, managing at least 1 fly-drive visit per year. The AFS opportunity was perfect and they made the move to Fife and have not looked back since – they now have 2 Gorgeous Fife Daughters, Marnie and Anya.



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Scotland, United Kingdom

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