DPUB IG Face-to-face, 2015-05-26

The meeting took place at the offices of the Hachette Group, in New York, USA.

See minutes online for a more detailed record of the discussions.


(See the relevant part of the minutes for further details.)

Tzviya Siegman presented some slides to start the discussion on packaging, motivated by the future vision on EPUB-WEB. The goal is to gather a detailed set of requirements on what type of packaging is needed for the purpose of Digital Publishing and EPUB-WEB. At the moment, EPUB is based on OCF, derived from ZIP; other proposals coming to the fore are based, e.g., on multipart mime.

A significant part of the discussion was on the issue whether, for EPUB-WEB, there is a real need for packaging in the first place. Some evolution in the area of Web Applications which, hitherto, considered packaging, are now looking at other directions, like the usage of Service Workers, that may make a specific packaging format unnecessary. There was a consensus that, after all, some sort of a packaging is necessary. However, the coming months should concentrate on defining functional requirements for packaging, as a first step of moving forward. A first draft of such functional requirements is available and will have to be worked on.


(See the relevant part of the minutes for further details.)

Bill Kasdorf gave an overview of the (fragment) identifiers in view of EPUB-WEB. That document already has some entries on what the functional requirements for such identifiers should be in general; this is again a work to be pursued in the months to come. Some issues/requirements that were discussed were:

  • any scheme should reuse existing fragment identification mechanisms that are defined for various media types (and registered by IETF) although it is probably necessary to list the ones that browsers really implement
  • it may be necessary to include some ways to express timing/versions; this is very important in, e.g., references in scholarly publishing
  • the question arises whether fragments should be able to express non-contiguous data (e.g., collection of pages)
  • the exact structure on how fragments are used both in offline and online setting has to be developed (and that may touch on web architectural issues)


(See the relevant part of the minutes for further details.)

Dave Cramer gave an overview of what is currently happening in the CSS Working Group that may affect the way pagination could be done in future reading systems (currently this is huge problem and hack). Two approaches are being considered:

  1. The Houdini project (a joined task force between the TAG and the CSS WG) aims at exposing the internals of the CSS rendering, the box model, etc. If a standard API is defined, then a correct pagination could be built on top of it in a standard way
  2. There is work going on with fragmentation and overflow; the combination of these can be used as a basis to build a pagination system

In effect what this means is that there are two very different ways of approaching the problem. The Houdini approach is more likely to come up with useful ways of pagination, but it is not absolutely clear at this moment when and how that project will be completed.

The group should clearly express its needs in terms of a requirement document; a first version thereof is on the IG Wiki. Note that this document should also emphasize the importance of pagination itself, not only for traditional books but, e.g., the reading experience advantages it may offer on small screen reading. (Reference to such studies have been mentioned at the F2F.)


(See the relevant part of the minutes for further details.)

The accessibility discussion, led by Deborah Kaplan and Charles LaPierre, had two main areas.

On the one hand, the current Accessibility TF is looking at WCAG to see how that document relates to digital publishing: what is relevant (or not) in WCAG for the publishing community, but also what the missing issues and features are. Most of the work has been done, and the group will now focus on the publication of an IG note (before the end of the year).

The other part of the discussion was conducted together with the representatives of BISG. BISG has a group on accessibility, led by Robin Seaman. The BISG group is on outreach, not on developing new things; the goal is to collect all relevant documents so that the book industry uses the same approaches wherever possible.

There was a discussion on the exact role of the BISG group v.a.v. W3C’s WAI Education and Outreach Working Group, whose goals are very similar; it was agreed that the BISG group should refer/use the WAI EO WG output whenever possible. The best way is that the DPUB IG’s Accessibility task force would serve as some sort of a liaison between the two entities.

Education & Outreach

(See the relevant part of the minutes for further details.)

Nick Ruffilo and Karen Myers gave a list of ideas and possible approaches on how to make the results and work of the group more visible. The goal would be to use existing possibilities (e.g., blogs both on the DPUB IG and the W3C levels) but also use the possibilities of press releases, executive summaries, etc. The main goal is to develop relationships with media outlets (e.g., PW, DBW) to regularly inform the larger community of the results of the group, give one or several webinars. It has been agreed that Nick would develop a DPUB PR plan further and try to get some text into one of the major media outlets.

Rechartering of the Interest Group

(See the relevant part of the minutes for further details.)

The current charter of the group expires in September; work has begun on a draft charter. The main shift of emphasis in the new charter is to explicitly refer to the EPUB-WEB “vision” as a guiding principle for future work (this change has already occurred in the current IG, and the discussions of the F2F on packaging and identifiers are clearly related to that). Another important change is that the group would also plan to prepare ‘prototype’ specifications, explore technical avenues more deeply; these can then handed over to other Working Groups or can be served as a basis of the creation of new, dedicated W3C or IDPF groups. If new groups are created then the (new) IG would actively contribute in the chartering of those groups.

Details of the charters were discussed and some amendments and/or clarification were proposed (clarify the exact relationships to EPUB also in view of considering other, non-book documents; that the current task forces on, e.g., accessibility would be continued in the new group). There were also discussions on whether the term ‘EPUB-WEB’ is the good one or whether it is misleading and should be changed (though no real alternative was found). Finally, there were some clarifications on how the the work will be cooperatively pursued by W3C and IDPF (the way the EDUPUB alliance works on its own goals may be a good pattern here).

The goal is to have a final version of the charter by the end of June, to be then submitted to W3C members for vote.

About Ivan Herman

Ivan Herman is the leader of the Digital Publishing Activity at W3C. For more details, see http://www.w3.org/People/Ivan/