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The NIH Library is making every effort to ensure that the information available on our Website is accessible to all users, compliant with Section 508 standards, and compatible with screen readers and other assistive technologies. However, this is an ongoing process and it is possible that some users with disabilities may encounter problems accessing some pages. If you use special adaptive equipment to access the Web and encounter problems when using our site, please let us know.

Please be advised that the actual use of databases, online journals, and online books via the NIH Library website is restricted to NIH staff only due to licensing restrictions. All users can view the lists of resources we make available but the userid and password column will not display if the user is outside of the NIH domain. VPN technology is available to NIH users that require access outside of the NIH domain. Please contact the NIH IT Service Desk at 301-496-4357 or for more information.

Contact the Reference Desk at or phone us (301) 496-1080 and provide the address (URL) of the page on which you need assistance, along with a description of the problem.

The NIH Library website is designed so that you can view it using the text style, color and size that you prefer. You may also use the background color that works best for you. To take advantage of these options, you may need to adjust the settings on your browser (software that you use to view websites, e.g. Internet Explorer, Safari or FireFox.)

Changing Text Size

The two most widely used browsers are Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. Use the following steps to change the text size for each of these browsers.

In Internet Explorer (5.0 and above):

  • From Tools on the main toolbar, choose Internet Options
  • Under the General tab, and the Appearance section choose the Accessibility button
  • Check the box in front of "Ignore font sizes specified in Web pages"
  • Choose OK

Further adjustments can be made to the text size by choosing View on the main toolbar, then Text Size. Choose a relative text size (smallest to largest).

In Firefox:

  • From Tools on the main toolbar, choose Options
  • Under the Content panel, select a default font size and color
  • Under the Advanced button, you can specify default fonts
  • Uncheck the Allow Pages to Choose their Own Font, Instead of my Selections Above option
  • Choose OK

Further adjustments can be made to the text size by choosing View on the main toolbar, then selecting Zoom, and then Zoom In or Zoom Out.

Making Other Browser Adjustments

You can specify the text style and color as well as the background color you prefer when using Internet Explorer. To learn more about how you can make other adjustments, check the Help index of your web browser.

FireFox will allow you to search for text when you start typing, allowing you to quickly navigate to text or hyperlinks on a web page. Check the Help index of Firefox to find more information about accessibility.

Updating your Browser

Certain web pages are best viewed by using recent versions of Internet browsers. If you are using an older browser version, you may have trouble viewing certain webpages.

You can find out what version of your browser you are using by choosing "Help" at the top of your browser and "About (your browser)".

PDF Files

Portable Document Format (PDF) files preserve all the fonts, formatting, graphics, and color of a printed document once it is placed on a website. Several documents on the NIH Library website are provided in PDF format. Most online journals and books are provided in PDF format. PDF files require the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software for viewing. If you have a visual impairment, please visit for help in working more effectively with PDF files.

Other Resources

Alternative Web Browsing

Web Accessibility Initiative: How people with Disabilities use the Internet
Discusses whole range of approaches used for browsing by people with visual impairments or reading difficulties.

Guidelines for Web Users with Low Vision

American Foundation for the Blind
Offers detailed instruction for making adjustments to Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.

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