Internationalization Tag Set (ITS) Version 2.0 is a W3C Recommendation

The W3C MultilingualWeb-LT Working Group has published a W3C Recommendation of Internationalization Tag Set (ITS) Version 2.0. ITS 2.0 provides a foundation for integrating automated processing of human language into core Web technologies. ITS 2.0 bears many commonalities with its predecessor, ITS 1.0, but provides additional concepts that are designed to foster the automated creation and processing of multilingual Web content. Work on application scenarios for ITS 2.0 and gathering of usage and implementation experience will now take place in the ITS Interest Group.

New draft for CSS writing modes

The Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) Working Group has published a Working Draft of CSS Writing Modes Level 3. CSS Writing Modes Level 3 defines CSS support for various international writing modes, such as left-to-right (e.g. Latin or Indic), right-to-left (e.g. Hebrew or Arabic), bidirectional (e.g. mixed Latin and Arabic) and vertical (e.g. Asian scripts). Inherently bottom-to-top scripts are not handled in this version.

Event Report: Multimedia Archives and Metadata for Digital Publishing

The W3C Germany and Austria office has published a report on the Multimedia Archives and Metadata for Digital Publishing September 2013 event, which was jointly held with Xinnovations. The metadata topic is covered in detail in the report and shows high relevance for a wide range of technologies – from Semantic Web to Digital Publishing and Web technology in general – and application areas: from general or scientific publishers and libraries to Wikipedia related communities. More information in German is provided by a dedicated press release.

At the CONTEC Conference

I had the pleasure of participating at the CONTEC Conference last week, taking place in conjunction with the Frankfurt Book fair. /It was really good to be there and I would like to thank Kat Meyer for the invitation to participate. I had lots of conversations, informal or semi-informal meetings with various people; I do not want to list names because I would incur the danger of forgetting, and thereby offending, someone… Suffice it to say that it was really good for networking!

I spent most of my afternoon at two open sessions, both around EPUB 3, namely a session on IDPF and on Readium.org, respectively. Although, through W3C, we of course have a  contact with IDPF, this session was extremely useful to gain a bit more insight into what is happening there these days. I knew about some of the work going on (e.g., the fact that EPUB 3.01 goes to ISO), but others were new to me. For example, I did not know until that day that a work is planned to adapt the Open Annotation Model (developed in the corresponding W3C Community Group) to EPUB. This work makes a lot of sense, portable annotations is a hugely important area for electronic books, and I am quite excited to see this work happening; I will try to keep up-to-date on this. The other extensions to EPUB (e.g., on indexes, usage of dictionaries) also look interesting and important. Finally, it was also interesting to see that IDPF is continuing its efforts in outreach (e.g., that it will take over the Support Grid of BISG and develop it further); I think outreach is yet another area where a future cooperation between IDPF and W3C may happen.

While I of course knew about many things about IDPF, the presentation on Readium.org was different: I only had very vague ideas, previously, about what was going on there. The goal is to develop an open source implementation to be at the core of EPUB3 readers. This “Readium SDK” will sit on top of Open Web Platform based rendering engines like Gecko or Webkit, and should take care of all the core EPUB3 specific features (e.g., table of contents, management of indexes, packaging, etc.). The code is expected to be available at the end of the year, and we can expect first full-blown readers mid 2014. This can become hugely important: it means EPUB3 compliant readers can really come to the fore and, due to the architecture, those readers can evolve in parallel with browser developments.

There was also a separate presentation on the thorny issue of content protection through the separate sub-project called LCP (Lightweight Content Protection). The way I understood it, as a kind of an elevator pitch: consider what is currently available for PDF in terms of password protection and right expressions, and adapt it to EPUB3. It is not a really strong content protection, as far as I know, but it seems that at least the Readium.org participants (which includes a number of publishers) consider it as good enough. I do not know whether this is a solution to the current DRM issues and discussions on books, and I guess it is still controversial, but it was interesting to see that at least new ideas are being sought and are being implemented as alternative solutions. (To avoid any misunderstandings: the Readium SDK is not dependent on LCP; it is up to the final users of the code whether they want to include that module or not.)

Last but not least:-), Markus Gylling and I also had a session on the relationships between IDPF and W3C, entitled “Digital publishing and the open web: The W3C’S digital publishing interest group”. (The slides of the session are also available on-line). We explained the reasons for setting up the W3C Interest Group; that the publishing industry should play a more active role in the development of the Open Web Platform; what has already been achieved; and also how the cooperation between IDPF and W3C is essential in this respect. Although it was not a huge room, it was certainly full with around 50-60 people (out of around 250 attendees overall at CONTEC). It was great to see that many of the participants, who may not have heard of us before, became really interested by the issues around the Open Web Platform; hopefully, this will be the basis for more contact and cooperation in the future!

It was a good day!

Update from the Co-Chairs

In the first two months since the launch of the Digital Publishing Interest Group, we have already identified approx. 36 Use Cases. They include narratives for pagination, annotation, the representation of mathematical and scientific content in reflowable MathML, and accessibility scenarios for personalized learning materials to specific conditions like Dyslexia. Robert Sanderson provided a suite of Use Cases for the basic model for commenting, annotating, tagging with persistent layout, and with that we have a full spectrum of social reading examples. New use cases are added weekly, so please check in regularly with our Directory on the DigiPUb wiki.

Having real-world examples from users is critical in identifying the technical requirements and the Working Groups that will provide the specification for a seamless, portable, and enjoyable reading or learning experience. User experience will no doubt provide more information as our last weekly meeting explored internationalization, second screen / multi-screen, and the convergence of journals, books, and testing. Use Cases for these are hotly anticipated.

Meanwhile, two Task Force developments are underway. Dave Cramer, Hachette Livre, kindly agreed to lead the Pagination team and Suzanne Taylor, Pearson Education will lead Accessibility. Both of these bring attention to the evolving expectations of the digital narrative as we discover different “rules” for the various kinds of publishing, e.g. STEM, Professional, Education – Testing.

Thanks to the participants of the group for their generosity. If we deliver these open specifications, we will surely have the potential to significantly impact and change the way we deliver and consume information. With the recent announcement from Digital Book World magazine of a $13 e-reader called Beagle, the idea of an eventual free e-reader can’t be far off. Smart phones are also beginning to use better e-ink to display text and with 87% of the population owning one, their reach can’t be underestimated

On behalf of my Co-Chair Markus Gylling, we thank you and look forward to keeping you updated with our progress.

Use Cases and Exploratory Approaches for Ruby Markup (Note)

The W3C Internationalization Working Group has published a Group Note, Use Cases & Exploratory Approaches for Ruby Markup.

This document was designed to support discussion about what is needed in the HTML5 specification, and possibly other markup vocabularies, to adequately support ruby markup. It describes a number of use cases associated with ruby usage, and then examines a number of possible ruby markup approaches for each use case, listing pros and cons for each approach.

CSS Style Attributes Proposed Recommendation Published

The Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) Working Group has published a Proposed Recommendation of CSS Style Attributes. Markup languages such as HTML and SVG provide a style attribute on most elements, to hold inline style information that applies to those elements. This draft describes the syntax and interpretation of the CSS fragment that can be used in such style attributes. Learn more about the Style Activity.

Report on the W3C Paris Workshop on Digital Publishing and the Open Web Platform

W3C published today the final report of the Workshop on the Publishing and the Open Web Platform that was held 16-17 September 2013 in Paris. W3C thanks IRI for hosting the event, Intel and Adobe for their sponsorship, and INRIA for their support.

The W3C Workshop in Paris was the third in a series of industry consultation events held by W3C. The goal of this Workshop was first to identify difficulties faced by existing professional publishing organizations in using tools based on the Open Web platform, including the production of printed books, and second to find ways to work on eliminating or ameliorating those difficulties. We received approximately fifty statements of interest and position papers for the two-day event, and approximately sixty people attended the Workshop. Part of the workshop were panels around a selected subset of the submissions, part was organized as open discussions.

Many of the issues raised during the discussions will provide additional input to the work started by the W3C Digital Publishing Interest Group, collecting specific technical requirements of the publishing industry for the technologies of the Open Web Platform. Furthermore, it was felt that an additional activity on education and outreach may be necessary; indeed, one of the challenges of the Publishing Industry overall is to improve technical expertise in-house, also covering the new possibilities offered by the Open Web Platform (e.g., advanced CSS control for complex typography, or interactivity of electronic books provided by scripting), as well as the missing contacts the industry may have with Web Designers and Web Application Developers. It was also felt that W3C should continue to establish liaisons with various industry organizations in the area, and also to reach out to librarians and archivists to collaborate on, for example, the metadata issues of the publishing industry. We anticipate new actions in those areas in the months to come.

An event on digital publishing, multimedia and metadata

W3C has the pleasure of announcing the following event, organized by the W3C Germany and Austria Office together with Xinnovations:

Semantic Technologies – exploitation strategies and metadata convergence
26-27 September 2013, Berlin, Germany

The event is partially in German and in English. Registration is now open.

The 27 September focuses on metadata vocabularies for digital publishing. We aim at bringing together various producers of metadata – news agencies, publishing companies, libraries, the Wikipedia community, … – and consumers: developers of new ways to add value to content via intelligent use of metadata.

The event is closely connected to W3C’s new Digital Publishing Activity. Indeed, the results of the meeting will also provide valuable input to the Digital Publishing Interest Group’s.

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EDUPUB: A Workshop on Digital Publishing for Education

W3C has the pleasure of co-sponsoring the following event:

 EDUPUB: A Workshop on Digital Publishing for Education
  29-30 October 2013, Boston, USA
 (See also the call for participation)

The event is organized by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF).

Digital content in general, and electronic books in particular, are becoming extremely important for tomorrow’s educational market, where electronic books, using EPUB 3 format, and based largely on W3C’s Open Web Platform, have a central role to play in possibly replacing traditional textbooks. Participants at this event will look at the challenges, including the technical requirements, in creating such educational materials.

The event is closely connected to W3C’s new Digital Publishing Activity. Indeed, the results of the meeting will also provide valuable input to the Digital Publishing Interest Group’s.