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National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard Report – Version 1.0 (National File Format)


National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum (NCAC)


National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum (NCAC)


The forty-member Technical Panel, representing educators, publishers, technology specialists, and advocacy groups, began its work in November, 2002 and developed recommendations during three, public face-to-face meetings in January, March, and June, 2003, supplemented by extensive teleconference and online discussions. The Panel defined a set of Governing Principles detailing the needs of students with disabilities with respect to obtaining access to print instructional materials and, guided by these principles, achieved consensus on the following recommendations:

  • To eliminate the need for repetitious and ineffective transformations (print-to-Braille; print-to-DTB, etc.), the agreed upon file format must be sufficiently flexible to create multiple student-ready transformations (Braille, Digital Talking Book, etc.) from the same source file.
  • In order to ensure the quality, consistency, and timely distribution of accessible curriculum materials, the NIMAS must address the inefficient policies and procedures hampering the current development and distribution systems.

To eliminate the current struggle to implement solutions on a student-by-student basis (particularly for blind and print impaired students), the NIMAS must establish a unified approach for the development of accessible learning materials. And it must facilitate, at the state level, the development of a systemic approach to providing accommodations for diverse learners by increasing their capacity to acquire and transform digital curricular materials.


Equipment or system where principal function is creation, conversion, duplication, control, display, interchange, transmission, reception, or broadcast of data.

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Print Instructional Materials

Printed materials written and published for use in elementary and secondary school instruction, required by a SEA or LEA for use by students in classroom.

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Digital Talking Book (DTB)

Digitally encoded files containing audio portions and full text to increase quality and availability of information to print-disabled persons.

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Content, activity, or technology that is usable by everyone with equivalent ease of use.

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National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS)

A technical standard used to produce XML-based source files for print-based educational materials.

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Cite As

National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum (2004). National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard Report – Version 1.0 (National File Format). Wakefield, MA: National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum. Retrieved [insert date] from