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June 2012 Standards Update

2012 June 30
by Amaya Webster

At the DIAGRAM Asilomar meeting, we identified a number of standards that we should be more closely tracking and possibly coordinating with. The list includes the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative, the standards coming from IMS Global, and a growing list of others. Watch this space for news of ideas that were germinated at Asilomar and that we will be taking forward.

MathML and NIMAS

MathML, the standardized markup language used to express math on the Web, has proven critical to accessibility of math content. It provides a standard way of encoding math so that it can be rendered by numerous devices and software, allowing users to adjust the size, format, and other characteristics of thefinal rendering. An equation in MathML is not a static image; it is an adaptable, interoperable, transformable item.

Acknowledging that “use of MathML3 will improve the format and presentation of mathematical and scientific content and assist SEAs and LEAs in providing accessible core instructional materials,” the Department of Education issued a “Dear Colleague” letter on June 22 recommending the use of MathML in NIMAS files. While not making MathML a hard requirement, the letter encourages “SEAs and LEAs, however, to ask publishers to use the MathML3 Structure Guidelines recommended by the Center when requesting NIMAS files.” The full letter can be downloaded here:

Many members of the DIAGRAM community are involved in these standards efforts, so please stay tuned for more news on this front.

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