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NIMAS in Purchase Orders & Contracts

SEAs and LEAs play an important role in obligating publishers to submit NIMAS-conformant files of textbooks and related core instructional materials to the NIMAC. This is accomplished by contract or by including appropriate language in purchase orders. When a publisher has already submitted the NIMAS-conformant file for a specific title and version that is to be purchased, an assurance should be given to the SEA/LEA.

MathML facilitates the creation of accessible math and science content, especially for students with vision impairments. Visit MathML in NIMAS to learn more.

In addition to NIMAS-specific language, MathML should be referenced. A June 2012 letter from the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) specifically encourages SEAs and LEAs to "ask publishers to use the MathML3 Structure Guidelines recommended by the [NIMAS] Center when requesting NIMAS files.” These guidelines reflect the most effective method of providing accessible instructional materials involving mathematical and scientific content and do not conflict with the minimum requirements in the NIMAS specification.

Applicable Materials

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) defines the types of materials for which NIMAS files can be requested. The published statute refers to "printed textbooks and related printed core materials." A May 2020 Notice of Interpretation clarifies that the definition includes digital instructional materials. However, only a limited range of digital instructional materials can conform to the NIMAS specification. SEAs and LEAs should request NIMAS files of digital instructional materials that:

  1. Otherwise meet the definition of print instructional materials in IDEA 2004, which is:
    Textbooks and related core materials that are written and published primarily for use in elementary school and secondary school instruction and are required by a state educational agency or local educational agency for use by students in the classroom. 
  2. Are documents or publications that are formatted similar to print books, such as sections with headings, a linear reading order, and static text and images. Specific examples of formats for which NIMAS-conformant files may be submitted to the NIMAC include PDF, HTML, and EPUB formats that are not primarily or substantially composed of interactive or audiovisual content.

Visit NIMAS for SEAs and LEAs for more information and links to related federal statute. 

Sample Contract Language

A sample statement that could be included in an SEA or LEA contract or purchase order follows:

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 [month/day/year] a NIMAS fileset to the NIMAC that complies with the terms and procedures set forth by the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) (IDEA Title I, Part D, sec. 674(e)).

The publisher also agrees to mark up materials eligible for NIMAS submission that contain mathematical and scientific instructional content by using the MathML modular extension of the DAISY/NIMAS Structure Guidelines, as posted and maintained at the DAISY Consortium website (refer to the latest applicable version).

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 accessible formats as permitted under the law for eligible students (IDEA Title I, Part B, sec. 612(a)).

For additional information about NIMAS and the NIMAC, please refer to NIMAS & NIMAC and the NIMAC website.

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