This charter has now expired, and has been superceded by the Interest Group's new charter, issued for the 1st of September, 2015.


Digital Publishing Interest Group Charter

The mission of the Digital Publishing Interest Group, part of the Digital Publishing Activity, is to provide a forum for experts in the digital publishing ecosystem of electronic journals, magazines, news, or book publishing (authors, creators, publishers, news organizations, booksellers, accessibility and internationalization specialists, etc.) for technical discussions, gathering use cases and requirements to align the existing formats and technologies (e.g., for electronic books) with those used by the Open Web Platform. The goal is to ensure that the requirements of digital  publishing can be answered, when in scope, by the Recommendations published by W3C. This group is not chartered to publish Recommendations; instead, the goal is to cooperate with the relevant W3C Working Groups to ensure that the requirements of this particular community are met.

Join the Digital Publishing Interest Group.

End date 1 September 2015
Confidentiality Proceedings are public
Proposed Initial Chairs Markus Gylling (IDPF and the Daisy Consortium)
Tzviya Siegman (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)
Initial Team Contacts
(FTE %: 40)
Thierry Michel (0.2fte)
Ivan Herman (0.2fte)
Usual Meeting Schedule Teleconferences: Weekly
Face-to-face: As needed


Today’s digital publishing market is dynamic, fast-changing, and strong. eBooks compete with printed versions, and there is a wide choice of hardware and software available for eBook readers. Journals and magazines are also made available digitally on the Web or in specialized applications and, in some cases, their printed version is even abandoned in favor of a purely digital version. The formats used by eBook readers and tablets for electronic books, magazines, journals and educational resources are largely based on W3C Technologies, such as (X)HTML, CSS, SVG, SMIL, MathML, or various Web API-s.

However, the alignment of these formats and the W3C Recommendations, is not perfect. Necessary features may be missing in the W3C documents, or are in draft only; as a result  EPUB3, the standard for electronic books, introduced its own extensions to cover the needs of publishing. More specifically, the EPUB3 Standard relies on some W3C technologies that have not reached a stable state yet; some of them are already Candidate Recommendations but some others are still Working Drafts, considered unstable by the W3C Process. These should be harmonized with the W3C Recommendations to ensure that no unnecessary forking of the technologies occur. The Workshop on eBooks and the Open Web Platform, jointly organized by W3C, the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), and the Book Industry Group (BISG) (see also the report of the workshop) revealed a number of issues and areas where the needs of the publishing ecosystem is not yet adequately reflected by current W3C Recommendations; such areas include improved paged media, CSS writing modes, advanced font management, internationalization, adequate metadata vocabularies, content protection, accessibility, or HTML templates.

Although that W3C Workshop concentrated on electronic books only, similar concerns can be raised for publishers in general who may want, for example, to offer digital versions of their high-end magazines through the Open Web Platform. Electronic versions of journals and magazines also have demands for highly structured data formats (for example to ensure very fast indexing through search engines); on-line advertising, that is often a core part of the business model for digital publishing, may also have the very same high-level requirements as book or magazine publishing; the online education market may have very high quality publishing requirement for textbooks, online tests, illustrations, etc.

The goal of this Interest Group is to provide an in-depth and exhaustive overview of where the discrepancies between the Digital Publishing industry and the development of the Open Web Platform occur, backed with specific and well documented use cases and technical requirements. These documents should be developed, whenever appropriate, in  cooperation with the relevant Working Groups listed in the liaison section.

Success Criteria

The group has succeeded if

Out of Scope

This Interest Group is not chartered to develop final specifications, i.e., Recommendations. That must be done in relevant W3C Working Groups, either pre-existing or newly chartered, with a direct participation of the interested parties.

This Interest Group is not chartered to work on issues and use cases that are relevant exclusively to non-W3C standards and specifications (e.g., Unicode), although the evolution of those Specifications should be followed as they may influence the deliverables of the Group.


The deliverables include:

The Interest Group should also set up structures (e.g., Wiki sites, Mercurial or GitHub archives, etc.) that help these interactions among communities to continue even after the Interest Group is closed.


  • November 2013: first face-to-face meeting, in conjunction with the W3C TPAC week in 2013.
  • January 2014: draft of the technical issues relevant to other W3C Groups (see the first deliverable above), based on the results of the three W3C Digital Publishing Workshops (February 2013 in New York, June 2013 in Tokyo, and September 2013 in Paris), the planned face-to-face meeting of the Interest Group, and input provided to the Interest Group.
  • July 2014: first stable set of technical issues and requirements (in the form of a W3C Interest Group Note) relevant to W3C groups (see the first deliverable above), documented by use cases, and delivered to other W3C groups. These documents may also include requirements presented to existing W3C Working Groups, and/or proposed new work requiring a new Working Group to be chartered.
  • July 2014: first stable set (in the form of a W3C Interest Group Note) of a detailed overview of W3C specifications (see the second deliverable above), relevant for the Digital Publishing industry.
  • November 2014: face-to-face meeting, in conjunction with the W3C TPAC week in 2014.

Note that the Group may decide to republish drafts between January and July 2014, as part of its development process. In the second year of the group’s activities it will publish revised versions of the Interest Group Notes, based on the evolution of both the W3C technical work and the Digital Publishing industry at large. The group may also decide to organize a face-to-face meeting before the release of the deliverables of June 2014.

The detailed timing of the contribution of the Interest Group to W3C’s overall testing efforts will have to be synchronized with the relevant activities at W3C.

Timelines for review of work from other groups will also depend on the deliverables from those groups being available. Participants in this group should expect between two and four weeks to review relevant deliverables.

Dependencies and Liaisons

W3C Groups

This is an initial list of the activities and groups the IG will consider when starting its work. The goal of these liaisons is to ensure harmonization of the technical requirements and provide feedbacks. The importance of these will be evaluated during the lifetime of the IG; this also means that some groups may not be contacted if the IG does not find any issues and problems worth raising after all. The list of these groups, with a short description of the technical area of interest, is:

CSS Working Group
CSS has a fundamental importance in formatting any type of digital publication.
HTML Working Group
(X)HTML is the document format of choice for electronic books and, of course, for magazines and journals published on the Web, which also includes a general transition towards HTML5 (e.g., in EPUB3).
WebFonts Working Group
High quality fonts are fundamental for many areas within the digital publication industry.
SVG Working Group
The latest publishing standards (e.g., EPUB3) include SVG, also as a possible replacement of HTML as the “top level” format. SVG will play a vital role for, e.g., the educational publishing market, children’s literature, or high quality illustrations in books.
MathML Working Group
MathML is part of the EPUB3 standard and is the format of choice to describe mathematical equations.
Web and TV Interest Group
Some electronic books are served as streaming content, with, possibly, embedded video content.
Voice Browser WG
Electronic books may be rendered by voice readers.
Internationalization Working Group
Proper localization and consideration for local typesetting, formatting, etc, tradition can be vital for some publishing markets.
Rich Web Client Activity
On line magazines and journals are increasingly dependent on various API-s to make their content more interactive and appealing; EPUB3 has also introduced the possibility to include scripts in electronic books, which may be important for, e.g., the educational market.
Web Testing Activity
Interoperability of electronic book readers is considered to be a major problem by that community; cooperating with the W3C testing activity would also provide specialized use cases to the Recommendations in general.
Semantic Web Activity
In case the Interest Group engages in the metadata vocabulary issues, to ensure that the vocabulary development process is in line with the approaches of the Semantic Web Activity.
Device APIs Working Group
The main market for digital Magazines, book readers, journals, etc., are on mobile space, like tablets, smart phones, or specialized devices.
WAI Technical Activity
Accessibility issues for journals and electronic books are of a major importance. Although IDPF has direct relationships to other consortia (e.g., the Daisy Consortium) whose results are reflected by the EPUB3 standard, the various technical work done in the WAI TA are directly relevant to the accessibility of electronic books, too (e.g., the results of the IndieUI Working Group).

External Groups

IDPF is the body where the major eBook standard, EPUB, is developed and maintained. IDPF is also part of a joint (temporary) committee with ISO to work on an ISO version of EPUB3.
BISG's of involvement with Book metadata vocabulary development, as well as their testing/evaluating platforms for EPUB, make them a major player in the electronic books ecosystem.
The body responsible for the main metadata vocabulary used by (traditional) books.
The International Press and Telecommunications Council regroups the news publishing industry.
Daisy Consortium
The Daisy Consortium is a global consortium that plays an essential role in ensuring the accessibility of Web sites and of electronic books.
The National Information Standard Organization in the USA takes an active role in exploring library and publication metadata issues.


Participation in the Digital Publishing Interest Group is open to all W3C Members. Individuals who wish to participate as Invited Experts (i.e., they do not represent a W3C Member) should refer to the policy for approval of Invited Experts. Invited Experts in this group are not granted access to Member-only information. Effective participation in the Interest Group is expected to consume one day work per week for each participant.

The group may decide to create Task Forces within the Interest Group to concentrate on major relevant constituencies, for example electronic books, journal/magazine publishing, or educational publishing. These Task Forces may organize separate teleconferences, meetings, and may be responsible for one or more deliverables.

There are no minimum requirements for participation in this group. Participants are strongly encouraged to take advantage of frequent opportunities to review and comment on deliverables from other groups.

The Chair may call occasional meetings consistent with the W3C Process requirements for meetings.


This group primarily conducts its work on the mailing list with public archives. Administrative tasks may be conducted in Member-only communications.

Information about the group (deliverables, participants, face-to-face meetings, teleconferences, etc.) is available from the Digital Publishing Interest Group home page.

The role of dependencies and liaisons with various external groups is fundamental to the success of this Interest Group; the group will therefore set up active liaisons early in the process to ensure that the use cases and requirements are provided to other groups in a timely manner.

Decision Policy

As explained in the Process Document (section 3.3), this group will seek to make decisions when there is consensus. When the Chair puts a question and observes dissent, after due consideration of different opinions, the Chair should record a decision (possibly after a formal vote) and any objections, and move on.

A formal vote should allow for remote asynchronous participation—using, for example, email and/or web-based survey techniques. Any resolution taken in a face-to-face meeting or teleconference is to be considered provisional until 5 working days after the publication of the resolution in draft minutes sent to the group's mailing list.

If the group decides to create Task Forces, these may be responsible for one or more deliverables. However, final decisions are taken at the Interest Group level as described above.

This charter is written in accordance with Section 3.4, Votes of the W3C Process Document and includes no voting procedures beyond what the Process Document requires.

Patent Disclosures

The Digital Publishing Interest Group provides an opportunity to share perspectives on the topic addressed by this charter. W3C reminds Interest Group participants of their obligation to comply with patent disclosure obligations as set out in Section 6 of the W3C Patent Policy. While the Interest Group does not produce Recommendation-track documents, when Interest Group participants review Recommendation-track specifications from Working Groups, the patent disclosure obligations do apply.

For more information about disclosure obligations for this group, please see the W3C Patent Policy Implementation.

About this Charter

This charter for the Digital Publishing Interest Group has been created according to section 6.2 of the Process Document. In the event of a conflict between this document or the provisions of any charter and the W3C Process, the W3C Process shall take precedence.

The charter has been modified compared to the version published on the 8th of May, 2013, when the call for review was sent out. The change is a response to a member objection, and involves a change in the details of the Decision Policy which now explicitly allows for an asynchronous participation. A diff between the two versions is also available.

Edited on 2014-01-06: The co-chair of the IG has changed: Madi Solomon has stepped down, replaced by Liza Daly. See the AC announcement for further details. See previous version or diff.

Edited on 2015-03-25: The co-chair of the IG has changed: Liza Daly has stepped down, replaced by Tzviya Siegman. See the AC announcement for further details. See previous version or diff.

Edited on 2015-08-31: Added a notice to the top of the charter signalling that the charter is expired and forwarding to the new one.

Ivan Herman,

$Date: 2015/08/31 13:50:09 $