Academic journal article Information Technology and Libraries

EPUB 3: Best Practices

Academic journal article Information Technology and Libraries

EPUB 3: Best Practices

Article excerpt

EPUB 3: Best Practices, by Matt Garrish and Markus Gylling. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly. 2013. 345 pp. ISBN: 978-1-449-32914-3. $29.99.

There is much of value in this book--there aren't really that many books outright now about the electronic book markup framework, EPUB 3--yet I have a hard time recommending it, especially if you're an EPUB novice like me. So much of the bookassumes a familiarity with EPUB 2. If you aren't familiar with this version of the specification, then you will be playing a constant game of catch-up. Also, it's clear that the book was written by multiple authors; the chapters are sometimes jarringly disparate with respect to pacing and style. The book as a whole needs a good edit. This is surprising since O'Reilly is almost uniformly excellent in this regard.

The first three chapters form the core of the book. The first chapter, "Package Document and Metadata," illustrates how the top level container of any EPUB 3 book is the "package document." This document contains metadata about the book as well as a manifest [a list of files included in the package as a whole), a spine (a list of the reading order of the files included in the book), and an optional list of bindings (a lookup list similar to the list of helper applications contained in the configurations of most modern Web browsers). The second chapter,

"Navigation," addresses and illustrates the creation of a proper Table of Contents, a list of Landmarks (sort of an abbreviated Table of Contents), and a Page List (useful for quickly navigating to a specific print-equivalent page in the book). The third chapter, "Content Documents," is the heart of the core of the book. This chapter addresses markup of actual chapters in a book, pointing out that EPUB 3 markup here is mostly a subset of HTML5, but also pointing out such things as the use of MathML for mathematical markup, SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), page layout issues, use of CSS, and the use of document headers and footers. After reading these first three chapters, my sense is that one is ready to dive into a markup project, which is exactly what I did with my own project. That said, I think a reread of these core chapters is due, which I intend to do presently.

The rest of the book is devoted to specialty subjects such as how to embed fonts, use of audio and video clips, "media overlays" (EPUB 3 supports a subset of SMIL, the Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language, for creating synchronized text/audio/video presentations), interactivity and scripting (with Javascript), global language support, accessibility issues, provision for automated text-to-speech, and a nice utility chapter on validation of EPUB 3 XML files. …

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