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National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS)

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The 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.

Read the original National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard Report – Version 1.0 (National File Format), published in 2004 with the recommendations of the National File Format Technical Panel. The panel unanimously agreed that the adoption of the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard Version 1.0 (NIMAS) would significantly enhance the opportunity of students with disabilities to access, participate, and progress in the general education curriculum.

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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XML (EXtensible Markup Language)

Universal format for structured documents and data. Set of rules, guidelines, and conventions for designing text formats for data.

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Audio

Digital form or representation of a sound which may be used for non-visual access to text and images.

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Print Disability

A person who cannot effectively use printed materials because of a disability.

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HTML (HyperText Markup Language)

Non-proprietary markup language based on SGML. Created and processed by a wide range of tools from simple to complex.

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Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY)

Technical standard for producing accessible and navigable multimedia documents.

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Text-to-Speech (TTS)

Artificial production of human speech, using special software and/or hardware.

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National File Format Technical Panel (NFF)

Provide Secretary of Education with technical specifications, timeline, and process for assessing standards implementation.

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