by Bill McCoy
EPUB is structured and semantically enhanced Web content, packaged for reliable use in interchange and delivery of digital publications. But, in an online/browser-centric world, monolithic single-file representations of content are increasingly out of step with the focus on delivering richer experiences over distributed data sources. And the very notion of an “eBook” or “publication” as a discrete entity can be questioned in the context of a future of socially and dynamically created, assembled, and consumed content. This talk will explore the future of distributed and networked digital publications from a content representation perspective: how will we get there from today’s single-file .pdf’s and .epub’s? Will there be a role for publication-level standards in that future world?
by Eric Hellman
What is a book, anyway? An examination of the EPUB 3 draft standard reveals that most of the differences between an EPUB book and a website boil down to one core difference: the book is self-contained. The fact of self containment is at the same time limiting and liberating. While some aspects of interaction are cut off by the self-containment, an EPUB book can be untethered from a website, just as a print book, once sold, is untethered from its publisher. The untethering of books supports new and old peer-to-peer and community interaction modes. Although network-based, tethered books can simulate these interactions, the tethering creates eavesdropping and censorship vulnerabilities. Business models such as Gluejar’s crowdfunding model have the potential to make the untethered ebook economically viable.
by Michael Jensen
by Bob Stein
The transition from hand-scribed manuscripts to printed books was marked by a quarter-century interaction design lag. This stretch of the 15th century is known for the production of incunabula – printed books lacking the interface design advancements that have since become standard navigational features of book user experience such as page numbering, the table of contents, punctuation, and footnotes.
This lag may be attributed to market expectations – early book consumers wanted books that navigated like the manuscripts that preceded these moveable type facsimiles. Just as early book buyers expected books to work like manuscripts, modern eBook consumers expect eBooks to work like printed books. This has resulted in a wave of electronic incunabula – most interactive reading platforms lack interaction design innovations that take advantage of platform-specific features. Good brainstorming, user-centered design, and the application of basic interaction design principles can lead us out of the incunabula and into an era of progressive e-reading design.
Reports from the two recent NISO/IA meetings on bookmark and annotation standards at the Frankfurt Book Fair (2011 October 10) and BiB (2011 October 26).
Update on the OPDS v1.1 revision with support for faceted browse and search, and indirect acquisition. Additional discussion of future retrieval options and serializations.
26th–28th October 2011