University of Vermont

The Center on Disability and Community Inclusion (CDCI)


What is NIMAS?

The National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) is a technical standard that curriculum publishers began using in 2006. NIMAS is designed to make it easier and faster to obtain accessible instructional materials. Publishers will send NIMAS files to the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC), when requested to do so through a purchasing contract with a school district or when asked by the state NIMAC coordinator. The NIMAS files can then be used to produce alternate formats, including braille, large print, digital text, and audiobooks, for students with disabilities.

The Vermont DOE Has Agreed To Participate In NIMAC.
To participate in the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC), a district needs to include a NIMAS provision in its contracts or purchases orders with publishers. When purchasing new textbooks, the district should require the publisher to send NIMAS files to the NIMAC, on or before delivery of the books. By doing this, districts will help to build a library of files at the NIMAC.
What Books Are Available Through The NIMAC?
According to IDEA 2004, the NIMAC will maintain a catalog of "printed textbooks and related printed 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." The NIMAC depends on participation by school districts to help to build its library.
Which Students Are Eligible To Use NIMAS Materials?
NIMAS files are available only to blind or other students with print disabilities in elementary schools and secondary schools. See Documenting Student Eligibility for Use of NIMAS Files.
How Can Districts Access NIMAS Files?
In most cases, districts will access accessible materials created from NIMAS files, rather than accessing NIMAS files directly. The following organizations will coordinate the conversion of NIMAS files into several formats, which districts can access on behalf of eligible students with disabilities:
  • Digital text
    Vermont has named Bookshare as an AU. For students on IEPs if a student needs digital text for use with text-to-speech software, educators can download files from Bookshare. Bookshare has received a federal grant allowing it to serve schools at no cost. Files are available for many books, including those published before NIMAS went into effect in 2006. Before files can be downloaded, the district/school/organization needs to sign up for a school or group account, certifying that only eligible students will use the materials. For questions, contact Visit the BookShare FAQs.


  • Bookshare Webinars:
    The ALLTech/Bookshare Webinars are now available for viewing as archived recorded sessions. Please follow the link(s) below to the session you would like to view. You may view these sessions as often as you wish. Upon clicking the link you will be prompted for your first and last name as well as an email address. **You do not have to register any particular email address to access these recordings** Please provide this information and your session will immediately follow. Enjoy the sessions and be sure to let us know if you have any questions/comments.

    These are recorded sessions. Use the player to move ahead/back to skip or re-listen to portions of the Webinar.

    Bookshare...How To (01/25/2010) Recording Final Copy

    Bookshare: You've Downloaded a Book. . . Now What? Recording Final Edit

    Remember also that has archived Webinars too! Go to for more information.


  • Audiobooks
    If a student needs an audio CD, the district can order it from Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB & D). CDs are available for many books, including those published before NIMAS went into effect in 2006. Before materials can be ordered, the district needs to sign up and pay for a membership, assuring that only eligible students will use the materials.

    The new AudioPlus DL is better for students because it gives them the books in a download fashion, which is much quicker than waiting on the mail, and it will be easier for them to load onto their Streams. The other format: AudioAccess is only used on regular MP3 players and does not give you the DAISY accessibility that the Stream does. The AudioPlus DL is what the VI community has been waiting for!

    AudioAccess product RFB&D offers---it must be listened to on the computer it was downloaded on, or synced to a compatible, commercial MP3 player. AudioPlus DL may be burned to CD and played on a DAISY player. It can also be transferred and played on another computer if there is software on that computer that will play DAISY files, and that is authorized by RFB&D. So--- AudioPlus can be downloaded on any computer that has downloaded RFB&D Download Manger. You must have an online account set up with RFB&D and know the username and password. Software that is necessary to play DAISY files are those such as: Victor ReaderSoft, Eclipse Reader or EASE reader. They are available from RFB&D online at


  • Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic® (RFB&D

RFB&D, a national nonprofit, volunteer organization, has been the leading accessible audio textbook library for students for over 60 years.  RFB&D partners with states, counties, districts and schools to help teachers serve students with disabilities such as visual impairment or dyslexia that make reading standard print difficult or impossible. Our membership tends to be 20% BVI (blind or visually impaired) and 80 % LD (print disabled)

Our library provides access to more than 50,000 unabridged titles available in every subject area and grade level.  RFB&D’s digitally recorded audio textbooks are available to members in CD and downloadable formats and require specialized software or players for playback.  RFB&D may also act as an AU (authorized user) or as an AMP (accessible media producer) for states and convert NIMAS files from the NIMAC to provide a student-ready version with synthesized voice and text also in a CD format for our members. In general, between the titles available in our library and available from the NIMAC, RFB&D may be able to supply nearly 100% of the accessible versions of textbooks used in your state.
Registering Your Membership:
Please access the internet and go to our site; .  You may choose to register online or you can download our registration forms and submit your registration through the mail.  If you run into any problems with your online experience RFB&D is available 24/7 with member support services via email: or via phone: 800-221-4792.
Here's what you need to setup your new account (all forms and information available online):

  1. Select an annual membership level for each school.


# Audio Books

Typical # Students Served

Annual Fee

Level 1




Level 2




Level 3




  1. Enter information about your school including name, address, billing, shipping information, and a valid e-mail address as well as the primary contact.
  2. Accept our Copyright Acknowledgment agreement.
  3. Certify Print-Disability for your students. Please review our disability certification requirements.
  4. Select a playback device or software.
  5. Complete your order and pay with a valid Credit Card or Purchase Order.

Using Your RFB&D Membership:
Once a member, schools can search RFB&D’s educational library of over 50,000 textbooks and literature titles by going to  and click on Book Catalog.  Many of your students’ needs are already available in an accessible format.  You may choose from AudioAccess, AudioPlus® CDs or AudioPlus® downloadable.  Delivery of these books can be within hours for downloads and days for CDs shipped out.

If the book is not in the RFB&D library or your student specifically requires a text version of their book, the school contact should search the NIMAC repository at  to see if the book has already been submitted by the publisher for download.

If the book is in the NIMAC, the school contact then emails RFB&D at and submits the following information:

  • book title, author, publisher, ISBN
  • RFB&D member name and RFB&D ID for the school placing the order. 

RFB&D will ship a CD of your book to your school in a student-ready version including electronic text synchronized with synthetic audio, plus any images that the publisher provided.  This shipment will be made as soon as possible.

All answers can be found on: If you would like to download the entire RFB&D document click here: Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic® (RFB&D) (3 pages pdf)


  • Braille and Large Print
    If a student needs braille or large print, the district (through its Teacher of the Visually Impaired) can contact the Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired to request these materials. NIMAS has not changed the Library's policies and procedures; it just offers a more efficient means of providing textbooks in alternate media. Before a district can request materials, it must submit documentation of student eligibility for services.
Can Districts Search Online To Find Out What Books Are Available?
Districts needing digital text or audiobooks can search the online libraries of Bookshare (digital text) and Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (audiobooks). If a book is not found, the district can request that the book be added to those libraries.
Must Districts Purchase A Copy Of A Printed Book For Every Student, Even If Some Students Will Be Using Alternate Formats?
The Department highly recommends that districts purchase a printed copy of a book for every student, regardless of the format that the student may ultimately use. In many cases, it will be helpful for students to have access to the printed book. In other cases, a copy of the book may be required in order to produce an alternate format, such as braille.
What Kind Of Instruction Should Be Provided To Students Who Received NIMAS-Derived Materials?
Students will probably need instruction on how to access the NIMAS-derived materials using the appropriate technology devices. It may be helpful to provide this same instruction to the students' teachers and parents. It is also important to continue providing reading instruction (including braille instruction, if appropriate) so that students will be able to access print as they encounter it throughout their lives. The student, team and family may also need instruction on the use of the Assistive Technology that makes the NIMAS files accessible to a student. (See Assistive Technology considerations).
What If A Student Is Not Eligible To Use NIMAS-Derived Materials?
School districts are responsible for providing accessible instructional materials to students with disabilities who need them, regardless of whether the students are eligible to use NIMAS materials. Schools can investigate purchasing accessible materials directly from publishers, obtaining permission from publishers to adapt existing materials, or adapting materials that are in the public domain (and thus free of copyright restrictions). The resources below provide suggestions.
For More Information:

1. National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standards (NIMAS)
2. National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) (Video Clip)
3. NIMAS Development & Technical Assistance Centers (at CAST)
4. National Instructional Materials Access Center
5. Documenting Student Eligibility for Use of NIMAS Files
6. Accessible Textbooks in the Classroom
7. Accessible Textbooks in the Classroom II

Last modified April 22 2010 05:17 PM

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