AIM Guide to Accessible Media Producers (AMPs)
Revised March, 2013
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) contains important requirements regarding the timely provision of printed textbooks and related printed core materials in specialized formats (braille, large print, audio and digital text) to students with visual, physical, and other disabilities that prevent reading and using information in traditional printed materials. While only students served under IDEA who also meet copyright criteria may use materials sourced through the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC), IDEA regulations make it clear that all students with disabilities who need accessible instructional materials (AIM) must be provided with them whether or not the NIMAC can be used as a source for the needed materials. IDEA specifically refers to printed materials that are written and published primarily for use in elementary and secondary schools and designated as required reading; however, educators should be aware students needing accessible formats of these materials will typically also require other instructional materials in accessible formats.
There are various sources for acquiring accessible instructional materials; however, not all students are eligible to receive materials from each of the different sources. Keep in mind that many students may need more than one specialized format and may need materials from more than one source. Learn more about who qualifies for specialized materials, and the sources from which they can be acquired in the All About AIM section on the AIM Center web site at http://aim.cast.org/learn/accessiblemedia/allaboutaim.
Authorized Users (AUs)
Only authorized users (AUs) registered with the NIMAC may download files directly from the NIMAC at http://www.nimac.us/ or assign them to an AMP for conversation to student ready materials. Accessible media producers (AMPs) may also be designated as an AU by a state education agency (SEA).
Accessible Media Producers (AMPS)
Accessible media producers (AMPs) are authorized entities that produce instructional materials in specialized formats such as braille, large print, audio, or digital text. AMPs may use source files formatted according to the National Instructional Materials Standard (NIMAS) to convert materials into student-ready specialized formats or they may produce materials from a variety of other sources. Materials produced by AMPs are generally available to students and others who meet copyright criteria to receive specialized formats; however, only those students who are dually qualified (meet copyright criteria and are served under IDEA) can receive specialized formats created from NIMAS filesets obtained from the NIMAC.
The Summary Table
There are increasing numbers of private and nonprofit accessible media producers in the U.S., each offering a distinct set of services. The Summary Table below presents the services and eligibility requirements for three major AMPs that provide services on a national level: American Printing House for the Blind (APH), Bookshare, and Learning Ally.
American Printing House for the Blind (APH): APH materials and products are designed primarily for people who are blind or visually impaired. APH supplies educational materials for registered blind and visually impaired students in the U.S. in early intervention, preschool, elementary and secondary education through the Federal Quota Program. APH uses a variety of means, including NIMAS source files from the NIMAC, to produce instructional materials in digital and hard-copy braille, large print, and digital files for ereaders. APH materials may require the use of mainstream technology as well as assistive technology devices. For more information about APH, visit the web site at http://www.aph.org
Also view the full APH FAQ on this site at http://aim.cast.org/learn/practice/acquisitiondistribution/aph_faq.
Bookshare: Bookshare is a national, nonprofit organization that creates and maintains an extensive collection of accessible reading materials for people with disabilities of all ages who meet copyright criteria. Memberships can be individual or organizational and, because of extensive federal funding, are free to qualifying students in the USA. Bookshare uses a variety of means, including NIMAS source files from the NIMAC, to produce digital instructional materials in DAISY, MP3, and braille-ready (BRF) file formats. Their collection of textbooks and literature titles are downloadable and accessible on mainstream technology as well as assistive technology devices. For more information, visit the web site at http://www.bookshare.org.
Also view the full Bookshare FAQ on this site at http://aim.cast.org/learn/practice/acquisitiondistribution/bookshare_faq.
Learning Ally: Learning Ally, previously known as RFB&D, is a national nonprofit, largely volunteer organization that provides an extensive accessible audio book library. Learning Ally serves qualifying individuals of all ages who cannot read or use standard print. Learning Ally’s collection of textbooks and literature titles are primarily digitally recorded human speech. Materials are downloadable and accessible on mainstream technology as well as assistive technology devices. For more information, visit the web site at http://www.learningally.org.
Also view the full Learning Ally FAQ on this site at http://aim.cast.org/learn/practice/acquisitiondistribution/learningally_faq.
How To Use This Table
The AIM Guide to AMPs Summary Table presents an overview of the services provided by each AMP to students who meet copyright criteria for specialized formats. Review the table to determine if the AMP listed provides the types of services needed and use the links to get more detailed information on the AMPs’ web sites. Please note that services listed are those directly provided by the AMP; however, files obtained from the AMP may be converted into other specialized formats using other software and hardware solutions.
AIM Guide to Accessible Media Producers: Summary Table
|AMP Name:||American Printing House for the Blind (APH)||Bookshare||Learning Ally|
1839 Frankfort Avenue
|480 S. California Ave.|
Palo Alto, CA 94306
|20 Roszel Road|
Princeton, NJ 08540
|(650) 644-3400||(800) 221-4792|
|Fax||(502) 899-2219||(650) 475-1066||(609) 520-7990|
|Web site||APH||Bookshare||Learning Ally|
|Contact for further information||jthompson [at] aph [dot] org (Jane Thompson)|
camback [at] aph [dot] org (Cindy Amback)
support [at] bookshare [dot] org (support)
membership [at] bookshare [dot] org (membership)
|Membership/Services: custserv [at] rfbd [dot] org (customer service)|
|Certification requirements||Any student who is blind or visually impaired in an educational setting below college level.||All registrants must meet eligibility criteria as outlined in copyright law. To receive materials converted from NIMAS source files, K–12 students must have an IEP and be eligible under copyright law.||All registrants must meet eligibility criteria as outlined in copyright law. To receive materials converted from NIMAS source files, K–12 students must have an IEP and be eligible under copyright law.|
|Student registration requirements||Register through the APH annual census.||Register online||Register online|
|Institutions/organizations||N/A||Yes||Depends on circumstances. Fees waived for certain partner organizations and specialty schools.|
|Individual students||N/A||No charge for qualified students of any age; currently qualified non-students pay $50.00/year with a one-time sign-up fee of $25.00. See Membership Options.||Depends on circumstances. Annual subscription fee or hardship waiver application available.|
|Institutions/organizations||N/A||Depends on circumstances. Free to qualifying students in the U.S. and the organizations that serve them. Fees apply to serving qualified non-students.||Yes|
|Membership Description||None; APH is not a membership organization||For further information, see Membership Overview.||Individual memberships for students or adults who meet copyright criteria for specialized formats.|
|Process for Accessing Services||Contact state ex officio trustee||Sign up qualified students, then download books. See NIMAS Textbooks Questions.||Register for services, then order books. See the Learning Ally FAQ.|
|Link to instructions for Accessing Services||Directory of Ex Officio Trustees||Membership Options||Membership|
|NIMAS file conversion|
|Other||(optical braille recognition, tactile graphics, accessible tests, and others)||(training opportunities)||(accessible audio recording services)|
|Services available to:|
|Authorized users (AUs)|
|State education agencies (SEAa)|
|Local education agencies (LEAs)|
|Other||(available for purchase)||(qualified members)||(contact for eligibility)|
|-.brf (BANA compliant)|
|Large print (paper)|
|Large print (over-sized)|
|Font sizes||14 point and up|
|Large print (standard-sized)|
|Font sizes||18 point and up|
|DAISY 2002 (digital talking book)|
|Images||(limited # books)|
|Pre-recorded synthetic audio|
|DAISY 2005 XML (digital talking book)|
|Pre-recorded synthetic audio|
|(-.txt; out of copyright works)|
|File formats accessible on mobile devices|
|Apps needed for mobile devices||No||Yes||Yes|
|Where acquired and what is the cost?||iTunes store [currently] for $19.95 and through Apple Volume Purchase Program. Free Andriod reader available in the Google Play Store.||iTunes store = free app|
|Assistive technology required||No = hard copy braille and large print|
Yes = digital braille files
|Files can be read with Bookshare Web Reader, a DAISY reader, a screen reader, an MP3 player, a DAISY audio, or an AT device with refreshable braille.||Yes = Need software for PC/Mac computers or personal playback device|
|Provided by AMP||No = can be purchased at APH or from other sources||Yes = Bookshare editions of Victor ReaderSoft and Read:OutLOUD free to qualified students, also Go Read from Google Play Store.||Yes = Software provided with membership|
No = Hardware playback devices can be purchased from Learning Ally
|Available from other sources||Yes||DAISY readers, screen readers, MP3 players, or refreshable braille readers||Playback options can be purchased from other sources.|
|Average time from order to receipt of book||Varies||NIMAC books = 1 to 2 weeks|
Other textbooks = 1 to 2 months
|DAISY and audio files: immediate download; CD orders: 7 to 10 typically; NIMAS files = 7 to 10 days for conversion|
|Digital rights management (DRM) policies||Specific agreements with AUs for downloading files from the APH File Repository and inscription on certain products||Digital fingerprint, electronic watermarking, proof of print disability, and signed user agreement required; copyright notice included in books||Files are protected by DRM and only available to members who agree to terms of service. Books include copyright acknowledgement and copyright notices.|
|Return of books when no longer needed||No returns on materials purchased from APH. Check with state ex officio trustee for state policies||Books are student's to keep but may not be transferred to another user||Books do not need to be returned, but CDs should be destroyed when no longer needed. Downloaded books will not be playable past membership period.|
|Data collected||Aggregate annual APH census results are published. Individual customer information is not shared. FERPA compliant.||Proof of disability; valid email address. Individual customer information is not shared. FERPA compliant.||Aggregated statistical information is public; no personally identifiable membership information is shared. FERPA compliant.|
|Link to FAQ on this AIM Center web site||APH FAQ||Bookshare FAQ||Learning Ally FAQ|
|Designated contact for this AIM Survey||Jane Thompson||Betsy Beaumon||Jim Halliday|
|jthompson [at] aph [dot] org (J. Thompson)||betsy [dot] beaumon [at] benetech [dot] org (B. Beaumon)||jhalliday [at] learningally [dot] org (J. Halliday)|
This document was originally developed by the AIM Consortium and the Utah State Office of Education and was funded by Cooperative Agreement No. H327S070003 from the U. S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). The Guide was updated with support from the National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM Center), a cooperative agreement between CAST and the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), Cooperative Agreement No. H327T090001. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, and no official endorsement by the Department of any product or service mentioned is intended or should be inferred. The AIM Guide to AMPs is available for download on this AIM Center web site at http://aim.cast.org/learn/practice/acquisitiondistribution/aim_amp_guide.