Facilitating Accessibility with NIMAS
The National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) was established by IDEA to facilitate access to educational materials by students with print disabilities. Electronic files of books created using the NIMAS can be easily converted into audio, braille, digital text, and large print. The National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) is a repository for publisher source files of textbooks and related core printed materials created according to the NIMAS technical specification. Oklahoma coordinates with the NIMAC to provide specialized formats to qualifying students in a timely manner.
Access to materials created from NIMAS files is limited to individuals with a print disability who are on an Individualized Education Program (IEP), meaning the student has undergone an evaluation and is, or will be, receiving special education services under IDEA. Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) are responsible for obtaining textbooks and other educational materials on behalf of qualified students. However, LEAs do not obtain the materials directly from the NIMAC, but instead get them from Authorized Users (AU) of the NIMAC and Accessible Media Producers (AMPs), who have converted the files into specialized formats of audio, braille, digital text and large print. Bookshare and Liberty Braille are AMPs which regularly convert materials for students in Oklahoma public schools. Eligibility for services may vary depending on the source of materials. (Find AMP contact information in Acquiring AEM section of this document.)
Ensuring Publishers Submit NIMAS Files
For students with print disability to be able to take advantage of the accessibility features enabled through the NIMAS format, those files must be available in the NIMAC repository. Unfortunately, the law does not require publishers to submit such files, unless they have agreed to do so in the purchasing contract. The Oklahoma State Department of Education includes this requirement for materials approved by the Oklahoma State Textbook Adoption committee; however, if a local education agency (LEA) purchases any materials that are not on the State Approved Textbook Adoption List, then the LEA should include the requirement to submit NIMAS files in their purchase orders.
Such purchase orders should require publishers to submit NIMAS-conformant files to the NIMAC for each specific title purchased, or provide assurances that they have already done so. Contract language should also ask publishers to use the MathML3 Structure Guidelines recommended by the NIMAC. Content produced solely in an electronic format are not provided through the NIMAC, therefore, contracts for purchase of digital instructional materials should include the requirement that the materials be accessible to individuals with print disability. See sample contract language below. For more information about MathML3 and NIMAS formats visit www.aem.cast.org.
Recommended Contract or Purchase Order Language
Print Textbooks and Related Core Instructional Materials
By agreeing to deliver the materials marked with “NIMAS” on this contract or purchase order, the publisher agrees to prepare and submit, on or before (insert date), a NIMAS file set to the NIMAC that complies with the terms and procedures set forth by the NIMAC. The publisher also agrees to mark up materials eligible for NIMAS submission that contain mathematical and scientific instructional content by using the MathML3 (refer to latest applicable version) module of the DAISY/NIMAS Structure Guidelines as posted and maintained at the DAISY Consortium web site http://www.daisy.org/z3986/structure/SG-DAISY3/index.html. Should the vendor be a distributor of the materials and not the publisher, the distributor agrees to immediately notify the publisher of its obligation to submit NIMAS filesets of the purchased materials to the NIMAC. The files will be used for the production of specialized formats as permitted under the law for students with print disabilities. For additional information about NIMAS visit http://aem.cast.org/creating/national-instructional-materials-accessibility-standard-nimas.html#.Wuso5tMvw60. For additional information about the NIMAC visit http://nimac.us.
Digital Instructional Materials (Commercial and Open Educational Resources (OER)
Vendor represents that the digital instructional materials delivered under this contract or purchase order conform to, at a minimum, the standards for accessibility as set forth in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. § 794d), and its implementing regulations (36 C.F.R.§ 1194), or Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 (minimum of Level AA conformance). Should any portion of the materials not conform to the aforementioned standards of accessibility, vendor agrees to provide a written explanation of the reason for non-conformance. Submission of a complete Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) will satisfy the requirement to provide a written explanation. Vendor further agrees to provide alternative means for access to the instructional materials during the period of non-conformance to students who may qualify in accordance with the Act entitled “An Act to provide books for the adult blind” approved March 3, 1931 (2 U.S.C. 135a).