Instructional Materials Accessibility Group (IMAG): Where we have been

In 2004 AHEAD established the original AHEAD E-Text Solutions Group (ETSG) and over the years some significant and fairly rapid progress has been made in the realm of access to curricular materials for individuals with Print Disabilities. Some highlights are:

  • AHEAD's critical involvement in the Curricular Accessibility and Distance Education language included in the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act.
  • The high level of AHEAD member interest and participation in the various E-Text Institutes and related trainings offered at the AHEAD National Conference and other professional development opportunities.
  • As an outgrowth of the NIMAS provisions of IDEA the developments of Bookshare for Education and changes to RFB&D products and memberships for students
  • As an outgrowth of the AAP's Altformat Solutions Initiative the development of the Access Text Network.
  • An increasing focus on digital content and eBook accessibility partially as a result of the Reading Rights Coalition inpact on the development of legal guidance.

For a timeline of the progress that has been made thus far: IMAG Timeline

Where we are going

In the summer of 2009 a decision was made to reflect on the process that had been made by the ETSG and to examine the group's current activities and future direction. In consultation with the AHEAD Board and the remaining members of the original E-Text group it was decided to reconstitute the group and restructure our activities under the expanding focus of Instructional Materials Accessibility. This expanded focus is reflected in many of the session for this year's AHEAD conference. Proposed foci include:

  • Policy development, Advocacy and Collaboration
  • Workflow and Production Management for current and emerging instructional materials
  • Advanced Scanning, OCR and production managment procedures
  • Production techniques for digital materials
  • Testing and Assessment Accessibility Math and Science Accessibility
  • Music Accessibility
  • Emerging Technologies and Curricular Accessibility
  • Captioning and Subtitling
  • Alt Media Production Techniques for Faculty and Staff

Our Mission:

The Instructional Materials Accessibility Group is committed to finding solutions to the issue of providing students with print related disabilities access to instructional materials in a manner that is timely and accurate and, as nearly as possible, allows the student to obtain the information needed for his or her education in a manner equivalent to that of their non disabled peers.

The AHEAD Board has asked the Group to prioritize and engage in the following activities:

  • Develop best practices in policies and procedures for the provision of digital and curricular related accommodations in the postsecondary environment.
  • Build awareness and understanding in the AHEAD membership concerning the issues surrounding the legal and philosophical conversion of curricular materials.
  • Collaborate in the development of best practices in the creation of materials from standard text.
  • Train AHEAD members in the creation of digital alternative format materials.
  • Develop a support mechanism to address questions that arise in the implementation of creating text and the provision of accommodations to individuals with print related disabilities.
  • Network and collaborate with the curriculum publishing industry and other stakeholder groups to work towards national solutions to ensure appropriate and timely access to curricular materials for print disabled students

Our Management Group

The operational management of the Instructional Materials Accessibility Group represents a cross spectrum of AHEAD members who have been involved in the issue of curricular access and Alt Format production for a number of years. It is the intent of AHEAD to insure that all member constituencies are represented and to insure a breadth of knowledge and perspective.

The current management group members are:

  • Ron Stewart, Chair and Technology Advisor to AHEAD
  • Gaeir Dietrich, Interim Director High Tech Training Center Unit of the California Community Colleges
  • Jim Kessler, Director Department of Disability Services UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Jeff Senge, Coordinator, Information & Computer Access Program CSU-Fullerton
  • Jim Marks, Disability Transitions Programs Director, State of Montana
  • Roger G. Purdy, Ed.M. Director of Disability Support Services Le Moyne College
  • Robert Beach, Assistive Technology Specialist Kansas City Kansas Community College
  • Teresa Haven, Alternate Format Supervisor Disability Resource Center Arizona State University

Management Group Bios

Our Advisory Group

Another important component of the work of IMAG is the organizations and individuals who are the major experts and stakeholders in the curricular accessibility realm. Most of these individuals and organizations have collaborated with us since the project's founding in 2004. In the restructuring of this project it was important to the management group and the AHEAD board to maintain and cultivate the relationships that have developed over time. We are always seeking to develop new partnerships and collaborations as the work is expanded and our outreach continues. The following organizations and individuals have assisted us in our efforts.

  • Jim Fruchterman - Bookshare.org
  • George Kerscher - DAISY Consortium
  • Christopher Lee – Alternative Media Access Center, University of Georgia Regents
  • Mike Bastien – Alternative Media Production Center, California Community Colleges
  • Deborah Kaplan – California State University-Assistive Technology Initiative
  • Susan Christiansen – Braille Production Consultant
  • Lucia Hasty – Tactile Graphics Production Consultant
  • Chris VonSee - TechAdapt
  • Rick Bowes - Bowes & Associates
  • Steve Noble - Learning Disabilities Association of America
  • Richard Ohrm, Royal National Institute of Blind People
  • Jennison Mark Asuncion, Co-Director, Adaptech Research Network
  • E.A. Draffen, School of Electronics and Computer Science University of Southampton
  • Nolan Crabb, Ohio State
  • Sam Goodin, Michigan State
  • Sarah Hawthorne, UC Berkeley
  • Sean Keegan, Stanford
  • Jeff Diedrich, Michigan Assistive Technology Program
  • Liz Wilkes, Cengage Learning
  • Ed McCoyd - AAP HE Division
  • National Federation of the Blind
  • American Foundation for the Blind
  • American Council of the Blind
  • Center for Applied Special Technology

We are always looking to to expand the membership of the Advisor group to other significant stakeholder groups and if your group is not a participant please contact Ron Stewart


A great deal has been going on with the development of the efforts and activities of the project and we are looking forward to the AHEAD national conference, a meeting of our Management Group and this year's Roundtable Forum.

AHEAD 2010 E-text and Alt Format related sessions

The AHEAD Instructional Materials Accessibility Group is finishing its fifth year of activity, and in what would be considered a very short time in the world of educational change a lot has been accomplished. With the announcement of the Access Text Network one of our first agenda items, a portal for accessing publisher provided source files has in part been realized for the major textbook publishers. AHEAD has been an active participant in this effort and has issued this advisory to its members. AHEAD's notes on the ATN

Our members continue to work diligently on what is a very complicated and problematic issue for the publishing industry. Areas of growing focus are, OpenSource Curricular Materials, STEM content accessibility, and Digital Content accessibility. Our members are working on projects and efforts in this area and we hope to update you soon on the fruits of some of these pursuits.

We continue to collect a variety of resources for the AHEAD membership, some of which you will find on this resource page. If you have materials you think would be of value to others, or would like more information on the effort, or any of its activities please contact me directly: Ron Stewart

The Legal Quagmire of E-Text (an informed layperson's perspective)

One of the most contentious areas involving e-text and alt format production revolves around the issues created by copyright law and obtaining permissions to create the accessible materials needed by our students with print related disabilities. The Chafee Amendment provides some remedies for this complicated topic, but is not typically considered to apply to educational institutions, only to designated "Authorized Entities" such as Bookshare.org, Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, and the various library services for the Blind and Print Disabled. Two position papers have been written on this topic, the first was developed by legal advisors to the AAP and presented at the AHEAD 2004 conference. The second was written by the legal Advisors to AHEAD, and was intended to be a direct response to the AAP's position. Between the two they provide us with a good overview of the continuum of legal opinion on this topic, but you really need to consult your institutional legal advisors for their perspective
Copyright Issues - AHEAD E-Text Position Statement

Copyright Issues – AAP Position Paper Presented At AHEAD 2004

The AHEAD IMAG Institutes

As a part of this initiative AHEAD has developed and delivered two, two-day E-Text Institutes across North America. This training is based on Best Practices that have been identified from a national overview of activities currently undergoing within AHEAD member institutions. At this point these training's have been offered to over 2000 participants and the IMAG continues to look at the development of more training activities with a focus on online webinars and podcasts to increase the support to our members and to overcome all the barriers to Accessible Instructional Materials.

For More Information on the AHEAD E-Text Institutes

Scheduled Training Opportunities:

We are currently offering initial and advanced E-text training. Please contact
Ron Stewart for more information.

Institute Materials

The following training materials are from the standardized curriculum for the AHEAD E-Text Institutes.

Training Outline
Management and Administration of E-Text Production Programs

E-Text Production Strategies and Techniques

Alt Format Production Manual

Alt Format Equipment Recommendations

Equipment Recommendations based on Production Volumes

Resources from the AHEAD E-Text Solutions Group

EASI Alt Format Webinar

A Webinar was hosted by EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information) on the current status of the various Alt Format and E-text related efforts in the United Sates. This archive of this Webinar can be viewed on the EASI website.

EASI E-Text and Alt Format Webinar

AFSI Update from AHEAD 2007
An update session was held
at the AHEAD 2007 conference in Charlotte. Rick Bowes representing the
AAP (American Association of Publishers) provided an update on the cooperative
agreement that is being developed between the major educational publishers
in partnership with the AHEAD E-Text Solutions Group. Here are the slides
from Rick's presentation in both PowerPoint and Outline Format.

AFSI Update Presentation (ppt)
AFSI Update Presentation (rtf)

Other Related Resources from our Members
If you have resources
that you would like to share with the membership please send them in. Once
they have been reviewed by the E-Text Solutions Group the will be added
to the collection. If you use these materials and reproduce them please remember
to credit the source. Operational Manuals http://www.tc3.edu/bcl/altformhandbook/NYS

Alt Format Handbook
Alt Format Production Manual

Format Procedures Manual


Alternate Media Receipt Agreement

Alternate Media Services Agreement

Alternate Text Conversion Request

Alternate Media Contract

Electronic Text Agreement

Electronic Text Contract

Alternate Text Checkout Form

Procedural Documents

Duxbury Conversion Manual
Creating an Alt Format Workflow

Cheat sheet for Creating Daisy Books

California Alt Format Guidelines

Math Type Editing Procedures for Math and Science Materials

OmniPage Conversion Manual

Plain Text Editing Procedures for Math and Science Materials

Standard Alt Format Operating Procedures

Win Triangle Editing Procedures for Math and Science Materials

NIMAS Resources:

What is NIMAS
NIMAS Development & Technical Assistance

E-Text Resources:

General Sources for E-Text

AAP Publishers Contact List

HTCTU List of Publishers Contacts

Promising Practices in E-Text Laws:

The Kentucky Postsecondary Textbook Accessibility Act

California Community Colleges Alternate Media Guidelines

Implementation Guidelines for New York State's Chapter 219

Other Related Resources

NEADS - Access to Academic Materials Report

Uof M Best Practices Model for Blind and Low Vision Students

E-Text Humor (for those days when beating your head against the wall isn't working)

Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge Device

A Fair(y) Use Tale

Sponsors of the AHEAD E-Text Initiative

Dolphin Computer Access

Cal State East Bay

High Tech Training Center Unit of the California Community Colleges

Tompkins Cortland Community College

AHEAD Member E-Text Sites




Partner Organizations

DAISY http://www.daisy.org/
CAST http://nimas.cast.org/
RFB&D http://www.rfbd.org/index.htm

BookShare http://www.bookshare.org/web/Welcome.html
Publishers: http://www.publishers.org/index.cfm
AAUP Net http://aaupnet.org/

Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/nls/
Copyright: http://www.copyright.gov

For more information about the AHEAD E-Text Initiative Contact:

Ron Stewart, Chair
AHEAD E-Text Solutions Group

8300 West Weller St
Yorktown, IN 47396
Mobile: 609 213-2190
Fax: 765 405-1484
E-Mail: ron@ahead.org