What is the NIMAC?
We are a federally-funded, national electronic file repository that makes National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) files available for the production of core print instructional materials in specialized formats. Created under IDEA 2004, the NIMAC receives source files in NIMAS format from textbook publishers, and makes these files available for download to Authorized Users in the United States and its territories through an online database. Once downloaded, files can be used to create a variety of specialized formats, such as braille, audio, or digital text, on behalf of qualifying blind, visually-impaired or print-disabled students in elementary or secondary school.
What does "NIMAS" format mean?
NIMAS is the only format we receive. It is an XML-based source file format that is not intended to be used directly by students. Rather, the files are used as the starting point for creating braille, audio, large print, or digital text formats. In most all cases, some type of conversion is needed to convert NIMAS into a fully accessible version for a print disabled student.
How does NIMAS help students get accessible books faster?
The NIMAC provides a mechanism for getting NIMAS source files created by publishers into the hands of state educational agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs) and their accessible media producers (AMPs) as quickly as possible. This helps ensure that the needed specialized format is ready for the student as soon as possible, without unnecessary delays at the beginning of the production process.
If files don't go directly to students, who does access them?
Because files are not student-ready, direct access to the NIMAC is provided to a small number of Authorized Users in each state who are responsible for converting and/or distributing the accessible versions to eligible students. These Authorized Users can also assign files for direct download by Accessible Media Producers who are registered with the NIMAC. Most teachers, parents or students seeking student-ready formats will go through the same agencies and channels as in the past (such as Learning Ally, Bookshare, APH, or your state Instructional Resource Center) to acquire the formats.
Where can I find information about student-ready accessible materials?
The Louis Database of Accessible Materials contains information about accessible books available from over 140 agencies and organizations across the US: Louis Database. You may also want to check the Bookshare catalog: Bookshare. Your state may also have its own system for distributing student-ready materials produced from NIMAS. To locate your NIMAC state contact for more information, visit: AEM State Contacts and SEA Information.
Where can I find information about NIMAS in IDEA?
For more information about IDEA 2004, including definitions for terms such as, "specialized formats," "blind, visually-impaired and print disabled," and "print instructional materials", please see this link at the National AIM Center site: NIMAS and AEM in IDEA 2004.
Learn more about the NIMAC Advisory Council.
As of January 23, 2009, states may name organizations which are "authorized entities" under the Chafee amendment to serve as NIMAC Authorized Users, whether or not these agencies are from within the educational structure of the state. Click here to review the official policy notice: NIMAC Expanded AU Policy
As of June 14, 2007, "Advance copy" file sets will not be accepted by the NIMAC. Click link to review the official policy notice as updated on August 24, 2007. NIMAC Policy Regarding Advance Copy File Sets