NIMAS and MathML
What is MathML?
MathML is “Mathematical markup language” that allows math expressions and scientific notation to be coded in XML files (like NIMAS) so that the content can be automatically rendered accessible by software or devices that know how to read the code.
By default, math content is provided in NIMAS file sets as images, as this is how the content is usually supplied in print books. However, images cannot be easily converted into accessible formats like braille or audio.
MathML provides a greatly expanded opportunity for the automated conversion of math content into accessible formats. However, in order for students to benefit from MathML, software developers and AT vendors must build MathML support into their products.
Is MathML required in NIMAS files?
MathML is not a requirement of the NIMAS specification; however in July of 2012, OSERS sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to SEAs encouraging that a MathML requirement be included in the NIMAS language of print book adoption contracts and purchase agreements.
What software can I use to convert or display MathML?
For information on software that supports MathML, please visit the MathML in NIMAS page on the National Center for AEM website. Braille transcribers may also be interested in BrailleBlaster, which can directly import NIMAS XML and will soon provide the ability to convert NIMAS with MathML into braille math. For more information on this software, visit BrailleBlaster.org.
My software can’t work with files that contain MathML. Can you help?
Because not all software or AT supports MathML at this time, NIMAS requires that publishers continue to also supply “fallback” images in the file set. If your software is not yet able to work with MathML, or access the images automatically, just contact the NIMAC for further assistance.