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Creating NIMAS Files


This guide is intended to help publishers and conversion houses to respond to state and local education agency requirements to prepare NIMAS filesets when textbooks are adopted or purchased and contains practical information regarding the creation of a NIMAS fileset.

For more information on the NIMAC Validation Wizard contact the NIMAC by email at or by phone at 502-899-2230 or 877-526-4622.

A NIMAS fileset consists of the following:

  • XML content file,
  • a package file (OPF),
  • a PDF-format copy of title page and ISBN and copyright information pages, and
  • a full set of content images in SVG, JPG, or PNG format.

A NIMAS fileset is a set of source files that may be rendered into a variety of output formats, including student-ready versions such as audio books, Braille editions, etc. It is not a post-production product; it is a pre-production product. NIMAS files are intended for use by publishers, authorized entities, and others to produce accessible versions of printed instructional materials. They are not intended to be used as-is and should not be considered finished products. XML content files in NIMAS filesets must be conformant to the NIMAS 1.1 specification, a sub-set of the DAISY 2005-2 DTD. By definition, a NIMAS XML file will validate to the NIMAS 1.1 DTD.

Local Education Agency (LEA)

Agency legally authorized to provide administrative control or direction of publically funded schools.

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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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National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC)

Central national repository established at American Printing House for the Blind to store, validate, maintain and disseminate NIMAS filesets.

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American Printing House for the Blind (APH)

Largest non-profit organization creating products and services for people who are visually impaired.

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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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PDF (Portable Document Format)

Universal computer file type used to exchange and view documents on any computer with Adobe Acrobat or Foxit Reader software installed.

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International Standard Book Number (ISBN)

Unique book identifier used to identify particular book title, edition, publisher, and geographic group of origin.

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

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Authorized Entity

Non-profit organization or governmental agency with primary mission to provide specialized services to blind or other persons with disabilities.

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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 Accessible Information System (DAISY)

Technical standard for producing accessible and navigable multimedia documents.

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Document Type Definition (DTD)

Discrete set of XML tags, targeted at a particular type of application.

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DAISY Structure Guidelines

Last revised June 4, 2008

The DAISY Structure Guidelines were written to assist producers of talking books. They focus on how the textual content file of a DAISY Digital Talking Book (DTB) is to be marked up or "tagged" to clearly define the structure of the book.

Establishing standards for applying structure is a necessity in the international exchange of information. A single standard facilitates the exchange of digital talking books (DTBs) regardless of where they are produced. Global consensus on the organization and structure of DTBs may impact future developments in recording and playback software and devices. Ultimately readers who are blind, visually impaired or print disabled benefit.

The Creating NIMAS Files document provides information on the correct application of the XML element set DTBook, a key segment of the DAISY/NISO standard. Formally, this ANSI/NISO Z39.86 standard is referred to as the Specifications for the Digital Talking Book. Links to the standard and information on its development and use can be found on the DAISY Consortium website.

When a DAISY/NISO DTB includes a textual content file, DTBook elements will be used to mark up that file. The resulting file must be valid to the XML Document Type Definition, the DTBook DTD, as specified in the DAISY/NISO Specification. The file may be synchronized with the corresponding audio file to allow synchronized presentation of content in multiple formats (audio, braille, enlarged type, etc.).

Please note that the DAISY Structure Guidelines provide guidance and detailed examples with sample code and are pertinent to both the creation of NIMAS filesets and DAISY Digital Talking Books.

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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XML element set defining markup for textual content of a Digital Talking Book.

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National Information Standards Organization (NISO)

United States committee working on a specification for Digital Talking Books and much more.

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Format and content of an electronic fileset, comprising a digital talking book and requirements for playback devices.

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