What is the NIMAC?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) of 2004 established the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) to serve as a national repository of National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) source files for accessible media production of textbooks and related printed core materials that are written and published primarily for use in elementary school and secondary school instruction. The NIMAC is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and is based at the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville, Kentucky. We began operations on December 3, 2006.

Back to top

How does the NIMAC work?

The NIMAC receives NIMAS file sets from publishers, catalogs these files, and makes them available for download by Authorized Users, who are identified and registered with the NIMAC by a representative of the state department of education. Once downloaded, the file sets are then converted into a student-ready specialized format. These formats are braille, audio, or digital text which is exclusively for use by blind or other persons with disabilities, and includes large print formats when distributed exclusively for use by blind or other persons with disabilities.

Back to top

Who is eligible to receive formats produced from NIMAS file sets?

IDEA states that access to these files is to benefit blind or other persons with print disabilities in elementary schools and secondary schools. IDEA also defines this population and defines both print instructional materials and specialized formats in PART D. Sec. 674(e)(3). For more information, see: NIMAS and AEM in IDEA

Back to top

Are NIMAS files distributed directly to students?

NIMAS files are source files and are not student-ready. As such, they are not distributed directly to students. Rather, NIMAS files assist those who produce accessible formats by giving them a head start in the production of the needed format. If your school or local district has the resources to convert files locally, you may want to contact your NIMAC State Coordinator for information on how you can receive files you need.

Back to top

How can I search the NIMAC?

Anyone is welcome to search the NIMAC to find out what source files are available in the repository. The public search page (no login required) can be found here: Search the NIMAC

Back to top

I searched the NIMAC but did not find the book I need. What next?

The most common reason that books are not found in the NIMAC is that the book was published/purchased before the NIMAC respository existed. NIMAS went into effect in July, 2006, and was not retroactive to materials purchased before then. The only mechanism for requiring a publisher to submit NIMAS files to the NIMAC is through the language of the purchase agreement or adoption contract. If you are needing help locating a publisher contact to request a digital file for older materials, the list found on this site may be helpful: Publisher Contacts. We are also happy to try to help you with contacts for publishers that have worked with the NIMAC. If the book you are searching for is not an older title, feel free to contact us for more assistance.

Back to top

What is the relationship between NIMAC and organizations like RFB&D, Bookshare, and APH?

As a source file repository, the NIMAC does not distribute any student-ready formats. However, organizations such as Bookshare, RFB&D, and APH convert files into accessible formats and distribute those formats directly to students. States work with these and other accessible media producers to obtain student-ready formats produced from NIMAS files. However, these organizations are completely separate organizations from the NIMAC and should be contacted directly for information on how to access their services:

Learning Ally:


American Printing House for the Blind:

Back to top

Where can I find information about student-ready accessible texts?

Louis, the Database of Accessible Materials for People who Are Blind or Visually Impaired lists the availability of books and other materials in specialized formats, including braille and audio. Louis is a free source of information available via the web at: Louis Database of Accessible Materials

Back to top

How do I find out how my state is working with NIMAS?

Parents and Teachers likely will follow the same channels they always have for obtaining finished specialized formats. However, if you have questions about how your state is working with NIMAS, you may want to contact your NIMAS state contact. A list of these individuals can be found at: Primary State Contacts for NIMAS

Back to top

How can I find additional help for a blind or visually-impaired student?

Parents and Teachers who need assistance for students who are blind may find the list of American Printing House for the Blind Ex Officio trustees helpful: Ex Officio Trustees of APH

Back to top

As a teacher, how can I learn more about how to accommodate students with print disabilities?

For additional information and decision making guidance, many resources are available at the National Center on AEM website: Navigating AEM

Back to top

How can I contact the NIMAC?

Still have questions? Feel free to get in touch! We will do our best to help or to direct you to other resources. Our number is 877-526-4622 and our email address is:

Back to top

Public Search Login to NIMAC