Publishing Maintenance Working Group Charter

The mission of the Publishing Maintenance Working is to maintain the W3C Recommendations, as well as related Notes, in the area of Digital Publishing published by the Audiobooks and the EPUB Working Groups.

Join the Publishing Maintenance Working Group.

Charter Status See the group status page and detailed change history.
Start date 20 June 2023
End date 30 June 2025
Chairs Wendy Reid, Rakuten Group, Inc.
Tzviya Siegman, Wiley
Shinya Takami (高見真也), Kadokawa Corporation
Team Contacts Ivan Herman (0.10 FTE)
Meeting Schedule Teleconferences: On an as-needed basis, at least every quarter.
Face-to-face: None expected.

Motivation and Background

In the past few years the Audiobooks Working Group acted as a Maintenance Group for the Publishing Working Group. Furthermore, with the successful completion, in 2023, of the EPUB Working Group the need for an EPUB Maintenance Working Group was recognized. As the community supporting these groups is virtually identical and there is a major overlap in the technical content, the proposal is to create a single Working Group. This Working Group would maintain the complete roster of Recommendations and Notes in the Digital Publishing activity, with the goal of creating consistency and avoiding duplication of effort.


The Working Group will maintain the Publication Manifest, Audiobooks, EPUB 3.3, EPUB Reading Systems 3.3, and EPUB Accessibility 1.1 Recommendations, as well as related Notes, such as the Lightweight Packaging Format or the EPUB Accessibility Techniques 1.1. For a complete list of documents see the publication list of the Working Group, which originates in the list of the Audiobooks and the EPUB Working Groups’ lists, respectively.

Depending on community discussions and demands, this Working Group may also decide to submit the EPUB 3.3, the EPUB Reading Systems 3.3, and the EPUB Accessibility 1.1 specifications to ISO/IEC JTC1 to be published as ISO/IEC standards. If the decision is to proceed with a submission, this would follow the PAS Submission process. This would obsolete the current ISO/IEC 23736-1-6:2020 standards based on EPUB 3.01 (originally published in 2014), as well as the separate ISO/IEC 23761:2021 EPUB Accessibility standard. The PAS submission would not affect the current distribution rights of the documents, which will remain free on, and it can also be expected that the documents will be available on the ISO Web site at no costs as JTC1 freely available standards. The submission would only permit minor editorial changes on the versions of the specifications submitted to ISO.

Note: this Working Group is a continuation of the previous Audiobook (originally Publishing) and EPUB Working Groups, with similar scopes and reduced focus.

Out of Scope

The following features are out of scope, and will not be addressed by this Working Group group.

  • Removal of any existing features defined by EPUB 3.3. Existing features will only be deprecated if they are not needed to support existing EPUB 3 content, as stated in HTML’s design principles.
  • Class 4 changes to the EPUB 3.3 specifications.
  • Digital Rights Management (DRM) features for Audiobooks or EPUB Publications.
  • New metadata vocabularies.
  • New document identification schemes (i.e., alternatives to DOI or ISBN).
  • New packaging and serialization formats for audiobooks or EPUB 3 files, i.e., alternatives to the Lightweight Packaging or the EPUB Open Container formats, respectively.
  • Any new elements, attributes, properties, or values that would create a fork from Open Web technologies (e.g., HTML, CSS or SVG).
  • Any new Package Document properties or values that influence rendering inside viewports that can be deferred to more appropriate working groups.
  • EPUB or Audiobooks authoring tools.


Updated document status is available, initially, on the publication lists of the Audiobooks and the EPUB Working Group. As new versions are published, the document statuses will become available on the publication list of the Publishing Maintenance Working Group.

Normative Specifications

The Working Group will maintain the following W3C normative specifications:

Publication Manifest

Latest publication: 10 November 2020
Exclusion Draft:
Associated Call for Exclusion 5 December 2019, ended on 3 February 2020
Other Charter:


Latest publication: 10 November 2020
Exclusion Draft:
Associated Call for Exclusion 5 December 2019, ended on 3 February 2020
Other Charter:

EPUB 3.3

Latest publication: 25 May 2023
Exclusion Draft:
Associated Call for Exclusion 21 February 2023, ended on 22 April 2023
Other Charter:

EPUB Reading Systems 3.3

Latest publication: 25 May 2023
Exclusion Draft:
Associated Call for Exclusion 21 February 2023, ended on 22 April 2023
Other Charter:

EPUB Accessibility 1.1

Latest publication: 25 May 2023
Exclusion Draft:
Associated Call for Exclusion 21 February 2023, ended on 22 April 2023
Other Charter:

Other Deliverables

The Working Group will maintain the non-normative documents already published by the EPUB and Publishing Working Groups, namely:

The Working Group may also publish new non-normative documents.

Success Criteria

In order to update the Recommendation, each substantive change is expected to have at least two independent implementations of every feature defined in the specification, where interoperability can be verified by passing open test suites.

Each substantive change should contain a section detailing all known security and privacy implications for implementers, authors, and end users.

To promote interoperability, all changes made to specifications should have tests.

This Working Group expects to follow the TAG Web Platform Design Principles.


For all specifications, this Working Group will seek horizontal review for accessibility, internationalization, privacy, and security with the relevant Working and Interest Groups, and with the TAG. Invitation for review must be issued during each major standards-track document transition, including FPWD (if applicable). The Working Group is encouraged to engage collaboratively with the horizontal review groups throughout update or development of each specification. The Working Group is advised to seek a review at least 3 months before first entering CR and is encouraged to proactively notify the horizontal review groups when major changes occur in a specification following a review.

This group is expected to coordinate with the Publishing Community Group on consensus-based proposals related to content changes for the Publishing Maintenance Working Group Deliverables. The Chairs of this group should reject proposals that are incompatible with this Charter.

Additional technical coordination with the following Groups will be made, per the W3C Process Document:

W3C Groups

Accessibility Discoverability Vocabulary for Community Group

The primary objective of this Community Group is to maintain and develop the vocabularies for the accessibility discoverability properties in, that enable discovery of accessible content. The vocabulary is essential for publishing and used, for example, by the Publication Manifest.

Accessibility Guidelines Working Group

The Accessibility Guidelines Working Group develops guidelines to make Web content accessible for people with disabilities, and is responsible for the development and maintenance of the WCAG series of Recommendations. The EPUB Accessibility specification is already based on WCAG, and a liaison will be set up to ensure that any new features in EPUB 3.3, in particular EPUB Accessibility 1.1, would continue to refer to WCAG 2.X, when applicable.

Accessible Platform Architectures Working Group

The APA WG provides horizontal review of potential accessibility issues in the architecture, including knowledge domains for STEM accessibility; as well as accessibility impact of a specification. That Working Group may also develop new technologies that may impact future versions of Digital Publishing standards, such as the specification for Spoken Presentation in HTML.

ARIA Working Group

The ARIA Working Group is responsible for the development of ARIA and the development of DPUB-ARIA Module 1.1. The EPUB 3 Working Group will support the ARIA Working Group’s work to maintain this specification.

Publishing Business Group

The Publishing Business Group will provide business cases and guidance to the working group as needed. The PBG will also provide support for industry outreach.

Publishing Community Group

The Publishing Community Group functions as an incubator group to explore, test, and possibly specify new ideas that may be included, eventually, into updated versions of EPUB 3.3 Recommendations or Working Group Notes.

Synchronized Multimedia for Publications Community Group

Coordination on new synchronized multimedia features and on way they would interoperate with audiobooks and/or EPUB 3 publications.

External Organizations

DAISY Consortium

The DAISY consortium currently manages, the support grid for EPUB. They also provide support on specification writing, accessibility, and feedback on EPUB implementation. Their feedback on the further development of EPUB in general, and EPUB Accessibility in particular, will be essential.


EDRLab is actively working on the different Readium projects and develops an open-source and highly accessible desktop reading application (called Thorium) for EPUB 3 and Audiobooks.

The EPUBCheck Community

EPUBCheck, the EPUB validation tool, is an open source software, currently maintained by the DAISY Consortium on behalf of the W3C, and widely used by virtually all major publishers around the World. The EPUB 3 Working Group worked closely with the developers of EPUBCheck, and this cooperation should continue with the Publishing Maintenance Working Group.

International Standards Organization (ISO)

The ISO/IEC JTC1 committee has published, and maintains, some EPUB based ISO standards. A liaison with this committee will be maintained, for example to be prepared for the eventuality that this Working Group decides to submit EPUB 3.3 Recommendations to be published as ISO/IEC standard via the PAS process. See the Scope section for further details.

Readium Foundation

The Readium projects are at the core of a number of EPUB 3 reading systems around the world, and they also implement the Audiobook specification. As such, the feedback of that development will be essential to the maintenance work of these specifications. Community Group

Synchronization on the terms used in the Publication Manifest and in EPUB 3 (e.g., for accessibility).


To be successful, this Working Group is expected to have 6 or more active participants for its duration, including representatives from the key implementors of this specification, and active Editors and Test Leads for each specification. The Chairs, specification Editors, and Test Leads are expected to contribute towards the Working Group as needed. There is no minimum requirement for other Participants.

The group encourages questions, comments and issues on its public mailing lists and document repositories, as described in Communication.

The group also welcomes non-Members to contribute technical submissions for consideration upon their agreement to the terms of the W3C Patent Policy.

Participants in the group are required (by the W3C Process) to follow the W3C Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.


Technical discussions for this Working Group are conducted in public: the meeting minutes from teleconference and face-to-face meetings will be archived for public review, and technical discussions and issue tracking will be conducted in a manner that can be both read and written to by the general public. Working Drafts and Editor’s Drafts of specifications will be developed in public repositories and may permit direct public contribution requests. The meetings themselves are not open to public participation, however.

Information about the group (including details about deliverables, issues, actions, status, participants, and meetings) will be available from the Publishing Maintenance Working Group home page.

Most Publishing Maintenance Working Group teleconferences will focus on discussion of particular specifications, and will be conducted on an as-needed basis.

This group primarily conducts its technical work on GitHub issues. The public is invited to review, discuss and contribute to this work.

The group may use a Member-confidential mailing list for administrative purposes and, at the discretion of the Chairs and members of the group, for member-only discussions in special cases when a participant requests such a discussion.

Decision Policy

This group will seek to make decisions through consensus and due process, per the W3C Process Document (section 5.2.1, Consensus). Typically, an editor or other participant makes an initial proposal, which is then refined in discussion with members of the group and other reviewers, and consensus emerges with little formal voting being required.

However, if a decision is necessary for timely progress and consensus is not achieved after careful consideration of the range of views presented, the Chairs may call for a group vote and record a decision along with any objections.

To afford asynchronous decisions and organizational deliberation, any resolution (including publication decisions) taken in a face-to-face meeting or teleconference will be considered provisional. A call for consensus (CfC) will be issued for all resolutions (for example via email, resolutions recorded on public meeting minutes, GitHub issue, or web-based survey), with a response period from from 5 to 10 working days, depending on the chair's evaluation of the group consensus on the issue. If no objections are raised by the end of the response period, the resolution will be considered to have consensus as a resolution of the Working Group.

All decisions made by the group should be considered resolved unless and until new information becomes available or unless reopened at the discretion of the Chairs.

This charter is written in accordance with the W3C Process Document (Section 5.2.3, Deciding by Vote) and includes no voting procedures beyond what the Process Document requires.

Patent Policy

This Working Group operates under the W3C Patent Policy (Version of 15 September 2020). To promote the widest adoption of Web standards, W3C seeks to issue Web specifications that can be implemented, according to this policy, on a Royalty-Free basis. For more information about disclosure obligations for this group, please see the licensing information.


This Working Group will use the W3C Software and Document license for all its deliverables.

About this Charter

This charter has been created according to section 3.4 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.

Charter History

The following table lists details of all changes from the initial charter, per the W3C Process Document (section 4.3, Advisory Committee Review of a Charter):

Charter Period Start Date End Date Changes
Initial Charter 20 June 2023 30 June 2025
5 October 2023 Dave Cramer, W3C Invited Expert, stepped down as co-chair

Change log

Changes to this document are documented in this section.