Digital Publishing Interest Group Charter

The mission of the Digital Publishing Interest Group is to provide a technical forum for experts in the digital publishing ecosystem to hold discussions and recommend solutions regarding a future vision of Digital Publishing. This Interest Group is a continuation of the previous Digital Publishing Interest Group whose original charter expires in September 2015, and it adds a more general vision on the future of Digital Publishing to the goals to be accomplished. The Digital Publishing community represents a large community including electronic journals, magazines, news, standards, and book publishing (authors, creators, publishers, news organizations, booksellers, accessibility and internationalization specialists, etc.). The main message of that vision, which has already been discussed by the community, is that the current format- and workflow-level separation between offline/portable and online document publishing should be diminished to zero. While this Interest Group is not chartered to specify Recommendations, it will provide technical direction, identify technical issues, and outline prototype solutions for relevant Working Groups of the W3C to finalize as Web standards. Some of the work will have to be done in a strong cooperation with existing Working Groups at W3C or at IDPF to ensure a full compatibility with the Open Web Platform.

Join the Digital Publishing Interest Group.

End date 1 October 2017
Confidentiality Proceedings are public
Proposed Initial Chairs Garth Conboy (Google)
Tzviya Siegman (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)
Initial Team Contacts
(FTE %: 40)
Ivan Herman (0.4fte)
Usual Meeting Schedule Teleconferences: Weekly
Face-to-face: As needed


Today’s digital publishing market is dynamic, fast-changing, and strong. Electronic books, or 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 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 APIs.

The group is a continuation, under a new charter, of the Digital Publishing Interest Group that started in 2013 and whose original charter expires in September 2015. That group has firmly established the presence of the Digital Publishing Community within W3C and, vice versa, the presence of W3C within the Digital Publishing Community. Work started by that group in the area of Accessibility, Layout & Styling, Pagination, or Content & Markup, will be continued and completed by this newly chartered group. The results of the earlier incarnation of this Interest Group will provide a strong basis for the work of this new Interest Group.

Of particular interest to this group is the advancement of EPUB. EPUB 3 already ensures the introduction of highly dynamic and interactive digital documents whose features resemble more of what the Web generally provides. This can be seen through a new breed of interactive books in, for example, the educational domain. The same technical possibilities in that domain have the potential to revolutionize such diverse areas as journal and magazine publications (including scholarly journal publishing), the archiving of Web content, and in-house publishing of documentations by large corporations.

The vision for the convergence of future of digital documents and the Web, that governs the work of this Interest Group, has also been summarized in a separate white paper entitled “Advancing Portable Documents for the Open Web Platform: EPUB+WEB” as follows:

Our vision […] is that portable documents become fully native citizens of the Open Web Platform. In this vision, the current format- and workflow-level separation between offline/portable […] and online […] document publishing is diminished to zero. These are merely two dynamic manifestations of the same publication: content authored with online use as the primary mode can easily be saved by the user for offline reading in portable document form. […] Publishers can choose to utilize either or both of these publishing modes, and users can choose either or both of these consumption modes. Essential features flow seamlessly between online and offline modes; examples include cross-references, user annotations, access to online databases, as well as licensing and rights management.

Turning this vision into reality, however, requires significant technical work. Some of the issues are already addressed in existing W3C Working Groups (e.g., the CSS, HTML5, or the Web Applications Working Groups) but it is very important that those activities take into account the use cases and requirements of the digital publishing industry through review responses, comments, and direct participation in those Working Groups. There are also a number of technical challenges specific to this vision that will also necessitate targeted specification work. A first set of technical challenges have been identified in the white paper; the most important ones are:

However, it is not yet clear, at this moment, which of these (or other) challenges will require targeted work by this Interest Group and which should be done in cooperation with existing Working Groups. In light of this, the goal of this Interest Group is to

In addition to these work items, the Interest Group will also establish an active collaborative relationship with IDPF around the work on the EPUB 3.1. This work, in discussion to be chartered by IDPF in 2015, aims to include a number of backward compatible changes to EPUB 3.01, adding new features and deprecating others. Many of those changes aim at bringing EPUB even closer to the Open Web Platform and, thereby, contributing to the vision of EPUB+WEB. The Interest Group will act as an advisory group to IDPF on the OWP related features, as well as a conduit to other groups at W3C.

Finally, the Interest Group will also plan for outreach actions aimed at bringing the Publishing Community closer to the general development of the Open Web Platform, and to attract a larger participation in the work at W3C.

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 this group.


The list of deliverables below is not complete; new items may appear, e.g., as a result of the analysis on EPUB+WEB, questions arising in conjunction with the EPUB 3.1 work, or as outcome of the specific works in IG Task Forces.

For the planned Interest Group Notes, the list below only gives the completion dates. However, the group may also publish, as the work advances, intermediate versions as Interest Group Working Drafts or other documents, suitable as information exchanges with other groups.

EPUB+WEB in General
  • Exhaustive overview of the technical challenges raised by the EPUB+WEB vision. November 2016
  • Final version of the EPUB+WEB document, possibly published as an Interest Group Note.  September 2017
  • Interest Group Note on the relationships between the needs of the Publishing Industry and the various W3C Accessibility Guidelines. January 2016
STEM Publishing
  • Publication of the findings of STEM surveys. January 2016
Styling, Pagination:
  • Functional requirements on styling and pagination. May 2016
  • Analysis, with a prototype solution, for pagination based on the latest approaches of the CSS Working Group (e.g., the outcome of the Houdini project). March 2017
  • Interest Group Note on Requirements for Latin Text Layout and Pagination. September 2017
    (Note that this document goes beyond technical requirements on, for example, CSS features, and is planned to provide a general reference on layout and pagination issues of latin character based languages.)
Content & Markup:
  • Finalization of the specification on structural semantics in cooperation with the WAI Protocols and Formats and the HTML Working Groups. July 2016
General Architecture for Online/Offline Publications:
  • Functional requirements on a general architecture. February 2016
  • Analysis, with a possible prototype solution, of some general architecture based on the latest approaches of the Web Application Working Group (e.g., work on Service Workers). February 2017
  • If applicable: charter of a Working Group on an Architecture for Digital Publishing. November 2016
Fragment Identification:
  • Functional requirements on identification and fragments. February 2016
  • Analysis, with a possible prototype solution, for identification and fragmentation, based the latest approaches of the Web Application Working Group (e.g., work on Service Workers) as well as with the TAG on possible Web Architectural issues. February 2017
  • If applicable: charter of a Working Group on Fragment Identifiers for Digital Publishing. November 2016


The timelines below are based on a starting date of September 2015. In case there is a delay in schedule, the milestones below shift accordingly.

The timelines reflect the deliverables listed in the previous section; new deliverables may be defined during the lifetime of the group that may modify/extend the list of milestones.

  • January 2016: Accessibility Interest Group Note; Packaging and Fragment Identification Functional Requirements; Findings of the STEM surveys
  • February 2016:  Last Call Working Draft for the Structural Semantics specification (published formally by the Protocols and Formats Working Group)
  • April 2016: Functional requirements on Pagination
  • June 2016: DPUB IG F2F meeting (in conjunction with the IDPF Digital Book Conference, probably in Chicago)
  • July 2016: Final version of the structural semantics specification as Recommendation (published formally by the Protocols and Formats Working Group)
  • September 2016: DPUB IG F2F meeting (in conjunction with the TPAC meeting in Lisbon)
  • November 2016: Exhaustive overview of EPUB+WEB technical challenges; charters for a W3C WG on Packaging and for Fragment Identifiers (if applicable)
  • February 2017: analysis and possible prototype solution for pagination, for packaging, and for fragment identification
  • March 2017: analysis, with prototype solution, of pagination
  • June 2017: DPUB IG F2F meeting (in conjunction with the IDPF IDPF Digital Book Conference)
  • September 2017: EPUB+WEB White Paper publication as IG Note; Final version of the Latinreq IG Note

Dependencies and Liaisons

W3C Groups

This is an initial list of the activities and groups the Interest Group will consider when starting its work. The goal of these liaisons is to ensure harmonization of the technical requirements and provide feedback. The importance of these will be evaluated during the lifetime of the Interest Group; this also means that some groups may not be contacted if the Interest Group 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, includes:

Some of the groups listed here may change their name (e.g., “Protocols and Formats” dividing into Accessible Rich Internet Applications and Accessible Platform Architectures) or may be merged (“HTML” and “Web Applications”) by the time this charter would be approved. The appropriate editorial changes will be made at the time this charter is approved, or shortly thereafter.

CSS Working Group
CSS has a fundamental importance in formatting any type of digital publication. The Interest Group deliverables on styling and pagination are input to the CSS work in particular.
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 EPUB3.1).
Web Annotation Working Group
The possibility of adding and maintaining annotations on portable documents is crucial in some publication areas (e.g., educational publications or scholarly articles). The work on robust anchoring in that Working Group will also contribute to the Fragment Identifier work planned by the Interest Group.
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 for publications like mangas. As such, SVG plays a vital role for, among other things, the educational publishing market, children’s literature, or high quality illustrations in books.
Math Working Group
MathML is part of the EPUB3 standard and is the format of choice to describe mathematical equations.
Internationalization Working Group
Proper localization and consideration for local typesetting, formatting, etc., traditions can be vital for some publishing markets.
Web Applications Working Group
The Web Application Working Group works on technical components like Packaging on the Web, Web Workers, or Service Workers, that may form the basis of a general architecture for online/offline publications. Furthermore, on-line magazines and journals are increasingly dependent on various APIs 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.
Browser Testing and Tools Working Group
Interoperability of electronic book readers is considered to be a major challenge by that community; cooperating with the W3C testing activities would also provide specialized use cases to the Recommendations in general.
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 (e.g., Battery Status or Ambient Light Events)
Part of the Protocols and Formats Working Group planned to become the Accessible Rich Internet Applications Working Group
The technical work around ARIA has a direct relationship to some of the work around structural semantics in portable documents, e.g., in EPUB. The Interest Group will provide input to the Digital Publishing WAI-ARIA Module and Digital Publishing Accessibility API Mappings, part of the ARIA Working Group deliverables; it will also contribute to the ongoing discussions relating the Web Annotation work with ARIA 2.0.
Part of the Protocols and Formats Working Group planned to become the Accessible Platform Architectures Working Group
Many of the technical work in the Interest Group has important accessibility considerations that may require the expertise of this Working Group for advice and guidance.
Web Accessibility Initiative
Accessibility issues for journals and electronic books are of a major importance, and the overall work of WAI provides crucial resources to digital publishing in this respect. Furthermore, digital publishing represent a major user community for Web Accessibility in general.
Technical Architecture Group
Some of the issues raised by the EPUB+WEB vision (e.g., linking, packaging) may be related to overall web architectural issues and principles.

External Groups

International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF)
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. IDPF is the major partner in developing the EPUB+WEB vision.
Book Industry Study Group (BISG)
BISG’s 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 the Book Industry.
International Press and Telecommunications Council (IPTC)
IPTC 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.
International Digital Enterprise Alliance (IDEAlliance)
IDEAlliance is involved in industry-standard metadata (PRISM) that can be used to build efficient, multi-channel publishing solutions.
Force11 is a community of scholars, librarians, archivists, publishers and research funders whose aim to bring about a change in modern scholarly communications through the effective use of information technology.


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 public-digipub-ig@w3.org with public archives, as well as public GitHub repositories. Administrative tasks may be conducted in Member-only communications.

Public 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 6.1 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.


Ivan Herman, ivan@w3.org

$Date: 2016/09/22 13:33:16 $