Sustainability of Digital Formats: Planning for Library of Congress Collections

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OEBPS (Open Ebook Forum Publication Structure) 1.0

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Format Description Properties Explanation of format description terms

Identification and description Explanation of format description terms

Full name OEBF, Open eBook Forum Publication Structure 1.0.1

Open eBook Publication Structure (OEBPS) is an XML-based specification for the content, structure, and presentation of electronic books. OEBPS was developed by the Open eBook Forum, a group of organizations involved in electronic publishing and now known as the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF).

The standard comprises a set of files, including a mandatory package file, which incorporates a manifest listing all the other component files and a spine, which indicates logical reading order. In addition to text in XML, a reader for OEB publications must be able to render still images in JPEG and PNG formats. Content components in other formats may be included, but fallback content must be provided in one of the core OEB formats.

Production phase This bundle of files is likely to be used primarily as a middle-state format, with dissemination to end-users managed through publishers or aggregators who provide in a form appropriate for different ebook viewers/players.
Relationship to other formats
    Used by DTB_2002, DTB (Digital Talking Book), 2002
    Defined via XML_DTD, XML Document Type Definition (DTD)
    May contain JFIF, JPEG File Interchange Format
    May contain PNG, Portable Network Graphics
    Has later version OEBPS_1_2, OEBPS (Open Ebook Forum Publication Structure) 1.2

Local use Explanation of format description terms

LC experience or existing holdings OEBPS 1.0.1 is incorporated into the standard for the Digital Talking Book standard maintained by the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS), which is part of LC. The Library of Congress has a small number of .obf files in its collections.
LC preference See the Recommended Formats Statement for the Library of Congress format preferences for Textual Works.

Sustainability factors Explanation of format description terms

Disclosure Open standard
    Documentation Originally an Open eBook Forum Specification. In 2005, the Open eBook Forum became the International Digital Publishing Forum.
Open eBook Publication Structure Specification Version 1.0.1. Since 2012, the documentation for OEBPS version 1.0.1 has not been online through IDPF. The documentation is available from the Internet Archive's Wayback machine.
Adoption Limited use as OEBPS has been superseded by the EPUB format.
    Licensing and patents None
Transparency Text content must be in XML, which rates highly for transparency.
Self-documentation The Package file can include Dublin Core metadata.
External dependencies None.
Technical protection considerations None in relation to publication structure and component files in the core OEB formats (XML, CSS, JPEG, PNG).

Quality and functionality factors Explanation of format description terms

Normal rendering Good support.
Integrity of document structure The logical structure of a document is an essential feature of OeBPS.
Integrity of layout and display This version of the standard focuses on the textual content and the logical structure. Version 1.2 provides more control for content providers over presentation.
Support for mathematics, formulae, etc. Not supported.

File type signifiers and format identifiers Explanation of format description terms

Tag Value Note
Filename extension opf
Recommended extension for the required Package file.
Filename extension xml
For textual content files.
XML DOCTYPE declaration <!DOCTYPE package PUBLIC "+//ISBN 0-9673008-1-9//DTD OEB 1.0.1 Package//EN" "">
Pronom PUID See note.  PRONOM has no corresponding entry as of April 2023 but one is unlikely because this is a complex package of components.
Wikidata Title ID Q2248872
See Note that Wikidata does not specify versions.

Notes Explanation of format description terms

General Conforming reading systems must support XML, CSS, JPEG and PNG files. An OEBPS Publication may contain other kinds of files as well (including audio and video files), but must also provide a fallback version of the content in one of those four formats.
History Version 1.0 of the Publication Structure was created in the winter, spring, and summer of 1999 by the Open eBook Authoring Group. The Authoring Group consisted of over 25 individuals from organizations participating in the Open eBook initiative, which had been launched in October 1998 and was convened and facilitated by NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology.) The Authoring Group included participants representing all aspects of the electronic publishing industry, and was open to any interested individual or organization. Following the release of OEBPS 1.0, the Open eBook Forum (OeBF) was formally incorporated in January 2000. Version 1.0.1, a maintenance release, was brought out in July 2001. OEBPS Version 1.2, incorporating new support for control by content providers over presentation along with other corrections and improvements, was released as a Recommended Specification in August 2002.

In mid-2005, the Open eBook Forum changed its name to the International Digital Publishing Forum.

The last version, version 2.0 was released in September 2007.

Format specifications Explanation of format description terms

Useful references


Last Updated: 09/01/2023