In addition to machine-intelligible formats XML and JSON, Elementa content will be published in HTML, PDF, and Mobipocket formats. Elementa is also one of the few scholarly publications that will also publish in EPUB3. We spoke to Todd Carpenter – the Executive Director of the National Information Standards (NISO), who explained the importance of EPUB3 in the context of scholarly research. In his Scholarly Kitchen article, he explains what EPUB is, and the key differentiating factors of the new version.
“EPUB is an open specification published by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). The EPUB specification is “a distribution and interchange format standard for digital publications and documents.” It defines a structure for representing, packaging, and encoding structured content for distribution in a single file. Importantly, the standard is not solely focused on electronic books, which is why it is called “EPUB” rather than “EBOOK”. The new 3.0 version of the specification includes very robust ways to incorporate fixed layout multimedia, support for MathML, and important metadata and enhanced accessibility features.”*
As Todd continues to explain, “Scholars are becoming increasingly accustomed to using more robust technology and adopting a variety of methods to communicate research, including images, video, and animation. The visual nature of much of the research conducted within fields related to the science of the Anthropocene is ideally suited to be communicated through rich multimedia. EPUB3 allows for this, and video content will be able to be embedded within articles upon launch.”
EPUB3 also provides accessibility to content for the visually impaired, due to structures within EPUB that provide more easily text to speech functionality. Additionally, it is a particularly efficient format in which to publish. Compatible with HTML, it is a robust, stable format in which to host content digitally, ensuring the longevity of digital content without costly future content migrations.
EPUB3 is an ideal format through which to offer access to Elementa content in its support of metadata, multimedia, and enhanced accessibility features. The format
allows for an elasticity of content delivery through a variety of devices, in comparison with print-compatible PDFs. By offering a suite of formats through which to access content, Elementa aims to assist scholars in conducting their research with convenience and efficiency, expediting the research process.
* Carpenter, Todd, “Is It Time for Scholarly Journal Publishers to Begin Distributing Articles Using EPUB 3?”, Scholarly Kitchen, March 19, 2013