Lightweight Packaging Format (LPF)

W3C Working Group Note

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Laurent Le Meur (EDRLab)
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This section is non-normative.

This specification defines a file format and processing model for packaging into a single-file container the set of related resources and associated metadata that comprise a digital publication.

Status of This Document

This section describes the status of this document at the time of its publication. Other documents may supersede this document. A list of current W3C publications and the latest revision of this technical report can be found in the W3C technical reports index at

This document was published by the Publishing Working Group as a Working Group Note.

GitHub Issues are preferred for discussion of this specification. Alternatively, you can send comments to our mailing list. Please send them to (archives).

Publication as a Working Group Note does not imply endorsement by the W3C Membership. This is a draft document and may be updated, replaced or obsoleted by other documents at any time. It is inappropriate to cite this document as other than work in progress.

This document was produced by a group operating under the W3C Patent Policy.

The group does not expect this document to become a W3C Recommendation.

This document is governed by the 1 March 2019 W3C Process Document.

1. Introduction

This section is non-normative.

A digital publication Package is used:

This specification is based on proven technologies and allows digital publications to be packaged in an easy way, hence the term "lightweight" used in its name.

2. Terminology

This section is non-normative.

This document uses terminology defined by the W3C Note "Publishing and Linking on the Web" [publishing-linking], including, in particular, user and user agent.

In addition, the following terminology is defined for use in this specification:

Codec content types

Content types that have intrinsic binary format qualities, such as video and audio media types which are already designed for optimum compression, or which provide optimized streaming capabilities.

Non-Codec content types

Content types that benefit from compression due to the nature of their internal data structure, such as file formats based on character strings (for example, HTML, CSS, etc.).


Single-file container for the set of constituent resources and associated metadata that comprise a digital publication.

Primary Entry Page

Preferred starting resource for a digital publication, enabling in some cases the discovery of its Publication Manifest.

Digital Publication

Set of constituent resources and associated metadata, organized together in a uniquely identifiable grouping.

Publication Manifest

[JSON-LD] representation of a digital publication as defined in [pub-manifest].

Root Directory

Base directory of the Package file system.

Only the first instance of a term in a section is linked to its definition.

3. Conformance

This section is non-normative.

As well as sections marked as non-normative, all authoring guidelines, diagrams, examples, and notes in this specification are non-normative. Everything else in this specification is normative.

The key words MAY, MUST, and SHOULD in this document are to be interpreted as described in BCP 14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all capitals, as shown here.

4. Packaging format

This section is non-normative.

For packaging the set of constituent resources and associated metadata that comprise a digital publication, this specification uses the ZIP format as specified in ISO/IEC 21320-1:2015 ([ISO21320] and [zip]).

5. Compression of resources

This section is non-normative.

When stored in a Package, resources with Non-Codec content types SHOULD be compressed and the Deflate compression algorithm MUST be used. This practice ensures that file entries stored in the Package have a smaller size.

Resources with Codec content types SHOULD be stored without compression. In such case, compression would introduce unnecessary processing overhead at production time (especially with large resource files) and would impact audio/video playback performance at consumption time.


In some cases, the combination of compression with some encryption schemes might even hinder the ability of user agents to handle partial content requests (e.g. HTTP byte ranges), due to the technical difficulty to determine the length of the full resource ahead of media playback (e.g. HTTP Content-Length header).

6. File and Directory Structure

This section is non-normative.

A Package MUST include at least one of the following files in its Root Directory:

The Root Directory is virtual in nature: a user agent might or might not generate a physical root directory for the contents of the Package if such contents are unpackaged.

The contents of both files MUST not be encrypted.

A Package MUST also include all resources within the bounds of the digital publication, i.e. the finite set of resources obtained from the union of resources listed in the default reading order and resource list of the Publication Manifest.

These resource files MAY be in any location descendant from the Root Directory, or in the Root Directory itself.

Contents within the Package MUST reference these resources via relative-URL strings [url].


The [zip] specification has few constraints on the characters allowed for file and directory names. When crafting such names, authors must be careful to use characters which allow a broad interoperability among operating systems.

7. Obtaining a Publication Manifest

This section is non-normative.

If the Package contains a publication.json file located in the Root Directory, the Publication Manifest is obtained by opening and parsing this file.

Otherwise, if the Package contains an index.html file located in the Root Directory, the Publication Manifest is obtained through the following steps:

  1. Let document be the result of the extraction of the index.html file from the Package.
  2. If it does not have the media type text/html or application/xhtml+xml, terminate this algorithm.
  3. Let manifest link be the first link element in tree order in document whose rel attribute contains the publication token.
  4. If manifest link is null, terminate this algorithm.
  5. If manifest link's href attribute's value is the empty string, terminate this algorithm.
  6. If the href attribute value of manifest link has a non-null fragment identifying an identifier id in document:

    1. Let embedded manifest script be the first script element in tree order, whose id attribute is equal to id and whose type attribute is equal to application/ld+json.
    2. If embedded manifest script is null, terminate this algorithm.
    3. Let manifest text be the child text content of embedded manifest script

    This branch is in use when the manifest is embedded in the primary entry page. The algorithm locates the script element and extract the manifest itself.

  7. Otherwise:
    1. Let manifest URL be the value of the href attribute.
    2. If manifest URL is not a relative URL string, then abort these steps.
    3. Extract the Manifest from the Package using manifest URL.
    4. Open and read the Manifest file, letting manifest text be the result.

    This branch is in use when the manifest is in a separate file. It performs the standard operations to retrieve the manifest from the Package.

If both index.html and publication.json are present in the Package, then the Primary Entry Page SHOULD contain a reference to the publication.json file, following the rules defined in this section.

A. The application/lpf+zip Media Type

This section is non-normative.

This appendix registers the media type application/lpf+zip for the Lightweight Packaging Format (LPF).

Lightweight Packaging Format (or LPF) is a container technology based on the [zip] archive format, used for packaging into a single-file container the set of related resources and associated metadata that comprise a digital publication . LPF and its related standards are maintained and defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

MIME media type name:


MIME subtype name:


Required parameters:


Optional parameters:


Encoding considerations:

LPF files are binary files in ZIP format.

Security considerations:

Security considerations that apply to application/zip also apply to LPF files. For instance, an archive could contain compressed files that expand to fill all available disk space on a hard drive. In consequence, user agents that read LPF files should rigorously check the size and validity of data retrieved.

In addition, because of the various content types that can be embedded in LPF files, application/lpf+zip may describe content that poses security issues, e.g. malicious executable content deliberately included in the package. However, only in cases where the user agent recognizes and processes the additional content, or where further processing of that content is dispatched to other user agents, would security issues potentially arise. In such cases, matters of security would fall outside the domain of this registration document.

Interoperability considerations:

Any format based on LPF, if using content encryption, MUST choose a different MIME media type and file extension than those defined in this specification.

Published specification:

This media type registration is for the Lightweight Packaging Format (LPF), as described by the Lightweight Packaging Format (LPF) specification located at

Applications that use this media type:

This media type is intended to be used by multiple interoperable applications for the distribution and consumption of ebooks, audiobooks, digital visual narratives and other types of digital publications.

Additional information:
Magic number(s):

0: PK 0x03 0x04

File extension(s):

LPF files are most often identified with the extension .lpf.

Macintosh file type code(s):


Fragment identifiers:


Person & email address to contact for further information:

Ivan Herman (

Intended usage:


Author/change controller:

The published specification is a work product of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)’s Publishing Working Group. The W3C has change control over this specification.

B. Acknowledgements

This section is non-normative.

The editor would like to thank the members of the Publishing Working Group for their contributions to this specification:

C. References

C.1 Normative references

Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels. S. Bradner. IETF. March 1997. Best Current Practice. URL:
Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC 2119 Key Words. B. Leiba. IETF. May 2017. Best Current Practice. URL:

C.2 Informative references

Audiobooks. Wendy Reid; Matt Garrish. W3C. 28 January 2020. W3C Candidate Recommendation. URL:
DOM Standard. Anne van Kesteren. WHATWG. Living Standard. URL:
HTML Standard. Anne van Kesteren; Domenic Denicola; Ian Hickson; Philip Jägenstedt; Simon Pieters. WHATWG. Living Standard. URL:
Document Container File - ISO/IEC 21320. ISO. 2015. International Standard. URL:
JSON-LD 1.0. Manu Sporny; Gregg Kellogg; Markus Lanthaler. W3C. 16 January 2014. W3C Recommendation. URL:
Publication Manifest. Matt Garrish; Ivan Herman. W3C. 28 January 2020. W3C Candidate Recommendation. URL:
Publishing and Linking on the Web. Ashok Malhotra; Larry Masinter; Jeni Tennison; Daniel Appelquist. W3C. 30 April 2013. W3C Note. URL:
URL Standard. Anne van Kesteren. WHATWG. Living Standard. URL:
.ZIP File Format Specification. 1 September 2012. Final. URL: