Tag Archives: Formats

IDPF Names New Executive Director: Michael Smith

Michael Smith to Promote eBook Standards for Publishing and Digital Reading

IDPF LogoNew York, NY 11/20/07 – The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), the international trade and standards association for the eBook and digital publishing industry has named Michael Smith its new executive director. As executive director Michael Smith is responsible for leading the operational and strategic efforts of the IDPF and reports to its nine member Board of Directors. The IDPF (www.IDPF.org) is comprised of approximately 100 leading publishing, technology, and non-profit companies and organizations.

“Michael Smith brings to the IDPF over 20 years of book publishing and print production expertise,” stated Steve Potash, IDPF President and CEO of OverDrive, Inc. “Mr. Smith is well prepared to advance the interests of publishers, technologists, and readers by evangelizing the adoption of IDPF standards for electronic reading applications and products,” Potash added. Prior to joining the IDPF Mr. Smith was employed by Toronto based romance publisher Harlequin Enterprises Ltd. where he managed eBook and book production servicing North America, UK and Australian markets.

“It’s an exciting time in the evolution of electronic publishing to be devoting my energies to the mission of the IDPF,” said Michael Smith, Executive Director of the IDPF. “I look forward to working with the stakeholders in the IDPF community for the development of new standards, business and use models, and enhanced electronic reading experiences for consumers of all ages,” stated Mr. Smith.

Earlier this year the IDPF published its “.epub” file format standard, alleviating many of the previous file interoperability and production issues affecting the eBook industry and its customers. Several leading publishing and reading technology companies and organizations have already implemented .epub into their products and workflows. For more information about the new IDPF standards please see: http://www.idpf.org/specs.htm.

TEI v1.0 of P5 Released

TEI <Text Encoding Initiative> BannerSo it is finally here, TEI v1.0 of P5. Around six months ago I did some research into TEI and noted there was some big improvements over P4. If you need a mature XML based markup (perhaps for use as a Master File Format) I would certainly recommend having look at TEI P5.

Here is the official notification of the release;

After more than 6 years of, at times quite intensive, development, it is with great pleasure that I announce the release of version 1.0 of P5, the latest and greatest version of the Guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative, which officially happened Nov. 2 at the TEI Members Meeting in Maryland. You will find the new version online at www.tei-c.org; a PDF and even printed books are expected to appear in due time.

The main development work has been carried out by the TEI Technical Council and the Editors Lou Burnard and Syd Bauman. I would like to take this opportunity to warmly thank all previous members of the Council but also especially the current members, who shared quite a big of the work, which magically increased as the release date was approaching:

David Birnbaum, Tone Merete Bruvik, Arianna Ciula, James Cummings, Matthew Driscoll, Daniel O’Donnel, Dot Porter, Sebastian Rahtz Laurent Romary, Conal Tuohy, John Walsh.

Christian Wittern
Chair, TEI Technical Council

Recently the PG mailing list has had some active discussions on TEI and it looks like more and more people there are utilising this markup format. I’m sure in the near future we will see an influx of PG texts marked-up in TEI.

On a side note: The TEI website has also had a face-lift, which I have to say looks much nicer!

Thanks to Jon Noring for posting this great piece of news to the PG mailing list.

OPS 2.0 is now an official IDPF standard

IDPF LogoNick Bogaty, Executive Director of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) has announced on the IDPF Forums that OPS 2.0 has been Elevated to Official IDPF Standard.

The specifications can be found here and supporting documentation, implementation and tools on the entire .epub standard can be found on the IDPF Forums.

Voting to elevate the specification closed on 2400 EST on Monday, September 10th. All votes by IDPF members in good standing were counted. On August 27th, the start of the voting period, there were 89 IDPF members eligible to vote. The ballot was conducted via a remote material vote requiring a super-majority (or two-thirds) of the number of votes cast to approve the Proposed Document. The established quorum was 45 members and the established super-majority was 45 FOR votes.

The vote count is as follows:

Votes FOR 59

The required quorum and super-majority of votes was met and OPS 2.0 was elevated to a Recommended Specification.

.epub is an open eBook standard that has the potential to revolutionise the eBook Industry. There have been many discussions on the TeleRead site, including some .epub tips and a discussion on the pros and cons of the standard which should give you a nice flavour of what it’s about.

The Mobile Library releases classic and modern literature for cellphones

The Moibile Library Logo

German developer QiOO Interactive hosts the ‘Mobile Library’ – a service that brings classic books as well as modern literature to JAVA™-enabled cellphones. The portfolio ranges from Aristotle over Mark Twain to such extraordinary authors as Algernon Blackwood. As the founder Thomas Lucka states the Mobile Library will continue to release high quality books in the future – completely free of charge. Only older book releases contain a small amount of advertisment to refund the service.

Most of the newer books are launched in cooperation with Project Gutenberg. If people adopt the service there will soon be more mobile books available from Project Gutenberg. Depending on the file size of the texts provided by Project Gutenberg some books require newer phone hardware.

Continue reading The Mobile Library releases classic and modern literature for cellphones

Digitized BRF (Braille) files for Gutenberg.org eBooks

TravelBraille.com is taking requests for Braille transcriptions of
Gutenberg.org eBooks to BRF Braille. The transcriptions will be prepared by a
US Library of Congress Certified Braille Transcriber. There will be NO charge
for this service.

No assurance can or will be given that any particular file will be
transcribed – priority will be given to those files in the Gutenberg Top 100
eBooks, Top 100 eBook Authors, and, quite frankly, the personal taste of the

Some of these files may require detailed editing as to punctuation, Braille
contraction, formatting, chapter arrangements, etc. Volumes will be
approximately 150K each to make them easier to load into Braille NoteTakers,
etc. Formatting, editing, headers, chapter headings, page numbering, etc. will
meet or exceed ‘Formatted Scan Quality’. The files will be structured for both
refreshable Braille and paper embossing.

For now, all requests must be submitted through the website ‘Contact Us‘ page.

As this will be a free service, your patience will be kindly appreciated.

– John Edwin Miller, USA Library of Congress Certified Braille Transcriber.

What is Project Gutenberg TEI?

PGTEI is first and foremost a markup language. Just like HTML puts tags around words to give them some sort of meaning, PGTEI puts tags around words, too. Where a HTML document would italicize a word with <em>emphasis tags</em>, PGTEI would italicize a word with <emph>emphasis tags</emph>, too. Same basic principle, different vocubulary.

So, why not just stick with HTML? A lot more people know HTML and a lot more tools exist to help people use it. And everyone has a web browser that is custom made to read the resultant file, right?

Well, PGTEI solves some problems that may not be immediately obvious to someone coming at it from an end-user/consumer role. Where PGTEI helps the most is during creation and distribution.

The Pain That Is Content Creation For Project Gutenberg

When Michael Hart first started Project Gutenberg, there was one file type: plain ascii text. (In fact, the original files were all upper case plain ascii text, which were converted years later to the normal upper/lower case documents we’re probably all familiar with.) It wasn’t all that long before someone realized that while plain ascii text is great for English language documents, it doesn’t handle letters outside the ASCII character set. So, we started seeing documents in different ISO character sets. In more recent times, UTF-8 has gotten popular as a character encoding since, theoretically, it’ll handle every character you could ever want to throw at it.

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Digital Text Masters: A Future for Public Domain eBooks?

The following article was posted by Jon Noring on the TeleRead blog in February 2007. This is an excellent discussion on why Digital Text Master files should be created along with ideas on how to implement it. — Ed

‘Digital Text Masters’ (Digitizing the classic public domain books)

by Jon Noring

Rembrandt Self Portrait

The recent TeleBlog articles about the Project Gutenberg (PG) text Tarzan of the Apes (see 1, 2), suggest that not all is well in the existing corpus of public domain digital texts.

My personal experience the last twelve years in digitizing several public domain books has helped me to see a number of problems which I’ve mentioned in various forums, including the PG forums, and The eBook Community. For the sake of not turning this already long article into a whole book, I won’t cover here the complete list of problems I found, plus those found by others.

To summarize what I believe should be done to resolve most of the known problems, when it comes to creating a digital text of any work in the public domain, we should first produce and make available what we call a “digital text master,“ which meets a quite high degree of textual accuracy to an acceptable and known print source. From the “master,” various display formats, and derivative types of texts (e.g., modernized, corrected, composite, bowdlerized, parodied, etc.) can then be produced to meet a variety of user needs.

(Btw, what better example to illustrate the concept of a “digital text master” than to show the self-portrait of the great 17th century Dutch master painter, Rembrandt van Rijn, whose attention to detail and exactness is renowned.)

Continue reading Digital Text Masters: A Future for Public Domain eBooks?