2006 Conference Proceedings


Jim Fruchterman
Benetech / Bookshare.Org

480 California Ave., Ste. 201
Palo Alto CA 94306

Phone: 650-475-5440 ext. 106
Fax: 650-475-1066

Email: jim@benetech.org


Presenter #2

Susie Mckinnon

480 California Ave., Ste. 201
Palo Alto CA 94306

Phone: 650-475-5440
Fax: (650) 475-1066

Email: susie.m@benetech.org

NIMAS : National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard
Jim Fruchterman, CEO of Benetech and a member of the NIMAS Technical Committee, and Susie Mckinnon, Bookshare.org, will cover the basics of this emerging standard and a give a glimpse towards future initiatives.

The print and bound book can be a educational barrier for many students with print disabilities. Because these students cannot read a print book like students without these disabilities, they require books in alternative formats. Text in accessible digital format can remove the barriers that these students have with the common text book.

In 1997 IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) made it essential that all students have the same availability to text books and curriculum. Since almost all of these materials come from printed sources this has caused schools and educators across the nation to use varying methods to provide these special needs students with the necessary materials. Because of the difficulty in producing quality accessible books, in many instances students have not received materials in a timely manner.

Methods of providing alternative formats include contacting the publisher directly, scanning and delivering a book, providing digital text format books such as Bookshare.org files, and/or providing recorded books such as those provided by Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic. With book files coming from these differing sources, student access and methods are often quite different. Teachers and school assistive technology specialists nationwide are duplicating their efforts and spending tight budget dollars and valuable time towards providing the same alternative format books to their students. To help address these issues, the Department of Education in the recent past began exploring a common structure for educators and students to receive their alternative format text books. This is where NIMAS got started.

NIMAS (National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard) guides the production and electronic distribution of digital versions of textbooks and other instructional materials so they can be more easily converted to accessible formats, including Braille and text-to-speech. Version 1.0 of the NIMAS was developed in 2002-2004 by the National File Format Technical Panel, which was comprised of forty technology specialists, educators, disability advocates, and publishers, and is based on the ANSI/NISO Z39.86 (DAISY 3) specification. NIMAS is mandated to be in effect throughout the educational system by the end of 2006. This emerging national standard will benefit all students in need of accessible format text books in grades K-12.

Many people are concerned about NIMAS, and how it will change the delivery and accessibility of accessible textbooks. The goal of this presentation is to demystify NIMAS and show how similar NIMAS is to existing accessible books, and show how current adaptive technology already works with real NIMAS books. How to access and use NIMAS books to deliver large print, audio and Braille content will be explicitly and simply covered.  

Bookshare.org and NIMAS
Bookshare.org is the leading provider of digital text e-books in the DAISY 3 format, and has extensive experience creating and delivering these kinds of books. Bookshare.org is actively working with several organizations and federal policy-makers towards helping realize the promise of a single national standard for educational materials.

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