What is the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS)?

NIMAS is a technical standard used by publishers to produce source files (in XML) that may be used to develop multiple specialized formats (such as Braille or audio books) for students with print disabilities.

The source files are prepared using eXtensible Mark-up Language (XML) to mark up the structure of the original content and provide a means for presenting the content in a variety of ways and styles. For example, once a NIMAS fileset has been produced, the XML and image source files may be used not only for printed materials, but also to create Braille, large print, HTML, DAISY talking books using human voice or text-to-speech, audio files derived from text-to-speech transformations, and more.

The separation of content from presentation is an important feature of the NIMAS approach. In most cases, a human will need to enhance the source files to provide additional features needed by diverse learners.

The various specialized formats created from NIMAS filesets may then be used to support a very diverse group of learners who qualify as students with print disabilities. It is important to note that most elementary and secondary educational publishers do not own all of the electronic rights to their textbooks and related core print materials and a copyright exemption allows them to deliver the electronic content of a textbook and related core print materials to the NIMAC, a national repository which began operations on 12/3/06, as long as the publishers possess the print rights. The NIMAS applies to instructional materials published on or after 7/19/06.

See also the Opens new windowU.S. DOE NIMAS Q & A web page and the History of NIMAS page.

NIMAS Workflow Graphic

The NIMAS Workflow Graphic provides details regarding the various steps involved in the whole NIMAS cycle from states adopting NIMAS and agreeing to coordinate with the national repository (the NIMAC), the role of states and local districts in prompting publishers to develop and deliver NIMAS filesets to the NIMAC, the file validation process, the downloading of files from the NIMAC by Authorized Users appointed by states and by Accessible Media Producers when requested by Authorized Users, the preparation of accessible specialized formats, and, finally, delivery to students that qualify.

Specialized formats are intended to be used by students who are blind, have low vision, have physical disabilities, and/or have reading disabilities due to organic dysfunction such as dyslexia. The graphic also features a shortcut promoting a market model when publishers are able to obtain the electronic rights to the content and then prepare and sell specialized formats directly to schools.

The NIMAS Workflow Graphic is also available in Opens new windowPDF format.

A text description alternative to the NIMAS Workflow Graphic is also available in Opens new windowWord format.

NIMAS Workflow Graphic


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Last Updated: 10/28/2013

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