Reading JSTOR articles with NVDA

Giles Turnbull

Hi all,

as an author, I often need to research things for what I'm writing. In my sighted days I found JSTOR very useful and I'd like to use it again now. With a free personal account, it is possible to read up to 10 articles per month (100 at the moment thanks to an increased amount due to coronavirus).

The website is generally very accessible (there are a couple of "button" buttons, but that's the worst I've noticed).

I used advanced Search to find articles relating to the Irish town of Lisdoonvarna, which appears in what I'm writing at the moment. In the results was an article from the September 2016 issue of The Poetry Ireland Review. On that article's page I can find the text viewer frame, but the text appearing in that frame does not appear to be accessible with NVDA. I don't know whether you'll be able to find anything on this page unless you have a JSTOR account (free or institutional) but this is the link:

I have actually just purchased an annual subscription to the JPASS, which lets me download 120 PDF versions of articles per year, because I know I'll use that and I know I'll be able to read the text whether it's accessible text or in need of running through OCR. I just wondered whether anybody else has used JSTOR and found a way to read the text without needing to download the PDFs ... I don't want to download a PDF in order to find out whether there is anything in the PDF that is relevant to what I'm interested in!

The JSTOR Accessibility Policy page, says that their website is accessible to screen readers like NVDA and JAWS, but it doesn't say anything about the text viewer application. I have just emailed their support services for advice, but thought I'd ask here as well :)

Thank you,


Giles Turnbull

Well I didn't expect that! A reply from JSTOR arrived in the time that I was typing my message on this list! Although the solution is a tiny bit fiddly, the result is very acceptible.

This is what they told me:
Dear Giles,

Thank you very much for your message. We are always happy to provide you with screenreader-compatible copies of articles upon request and free of charge. You can email us at support@... or use the prompt that you hear on the article page to send us an automated request.

Alternately if you run out of JPASS downloads quickly as you download articles that do not feel relevant, we will replenish your downloads at no additional cost to you.

The article you requested today is attached to this message as a high-quality PDF. It is saved as the following file: 26779641.pdf

If you have any further questions, please feel free to get back in touch!

Kind regards,

* And I have downloaded the PDF file they attached and it is ordinary text, not a scan that needs running through OCR.