Utilization of Assistive Technologies Among Visually Impaired Students in University Libraries in Uganda: Users’ Experiences

  • Patience AgabirweEmail author
  • George W. Kiyingi
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 12051)


This paper presents visually impaired students’ experiences on the utilization of assistive technologies to access digital information resources for academic work. It reports preliminary findings from an ongoing Doctoral study on Information Practices of Students with Visual Impairment using Digital Information Resources in Public University Libraries in Uganda. Using a qualitative approach; stratified purposeful, snowball and convenience sampling techniques were used. Data was obtained from twenty visually impaired students using face to face in-depth open ended interviews. Data was analyzed using software Atlas ti v.7.5.5 following the study themes. Findings revealed exclusion in the provision and utilization of assistive technologies in the libraries studied. Skills, competency and capacity constraints by both staff and visually impaired students on the use of assistive technologies, coupled with insufficient assistive technologies impacted on the gainful utilization of digital information resources for academic undertaking. Obsolescence, limited supervisory and technical support from the librarians, and inadequate information, communication and technology (ICT) facilities were major impediments to utilization of assistive technologies to access digital information resources among visually impaired students. Provision of assistive technologies does not guarantee their utilization therefore, the study recommends designing tailor-made courses in ICT for visually impaired students for library staff, equipping visually impaired students with requisite skills and competencies, purchasing or subscribing to up-to-date assistive technologies, acquiring more computers and designating library staff to manage the special needs section in libraries.


Assistive technologies Digital information resources Visually impaired students University library 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.East African School of Library and Information Science, College of Computing and Information SciencesMakerere UniversityKampalaUganda

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