What Are NIMAS Filesets?

NIMAS is the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard. NIMAS Filesets are electronic files for K-12 textbooks.


NIMAS is a technical standard publishers must follow to produce textbook files that may be used to render the textbooks into multiple specialized formats, such as Braille or audio books, for students with print disabilities.


The source files are prepared using Extensible Markup Language (XML) to identify the structure and elements of the original content and provide a means for presenting the content in a variety of formats. For example, once a NIMAS fileset has been produced for printed materials, the XML and image source files may be used to create Braille, large print, HTML versions, 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, however, human intervention is needed to enhance the source files to provide additional features needed by diverse learners.


The various specialized formats created from NIMAS filesets may be used to support a very diverse group of learners who qualify as students with print disabilities. It is important to note that most elementary and secondary educational publishers do not own all of the electronic rights to their textbooks and related core print materials, and a copyright exemption allows them to deliver the electronic content of a textbook and the related core print materials to the NIMAC, a national repository which began operations in December 2006, as long as the publishers possess the print rights. NIMAS applies to instructional materials published on or after July 19, 2006.


A vast amount of information about NIMAS Filesets is available at http://aem.cast.org.