Sustainability of Digital Formats: Planning for Library of Congress Collections

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OEBPS (Open Ebook Forum Publication Structure) 1.2

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Format Description Properties Explanation of format description terms

Identification and description Explanation of format description terms

Full name OEBPS, Open eBook Forum Publication Structure 1.2

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 later known as the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF).

The format 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.

OEBPS 1.2 was a tightly constrained update to the prior version (OEBPS 1.0.1). It provided new functionality in the area of presentation control, including, among other things, improvements in the markup vocabulary (now a pure subset of XHTML 1.1), and greatly expanded CSS support. Further details regarding the changes made in 1.2 from 1.0.1 are found in the specification document. Sustainability factors are unchanged from the earlier version.

Production phase This bundle of files was used primarily as a middle-state format, with dissemination to end-users managed through publishers or aggregators who provided ebooks in forms appropriate for different ebook viewers/players. Its successor wrapper, EPUB_2, is more likely to reach end-users as a final-state format, as well as serving as a middle-state format.
Relationship to other formats
    Has earlier version OEBPS_1_0, Open eBook Forum Publication Structure 1.0.1
    Used by EPUB_2, Electronic Publication, Version 2. OEBPS_1_2 is an optional, but deprecated form for content within EPUB_2. EPUB_2 still uses the MIME media type application/oebps-package+xml for its Package Document based on XHTML. See examples in Open Container Format (OCF) 2.0.1 v1.0.1.
    Used by NIMAS, National Instructional Material Accessibility Standard (NIMAS)
    Defined via XML_DTD, XML Document Type Definition (DTD)
    May contain JFIF, JPEG File Interchange Format
    May contain PNG, Portable Network Graphics

Local use Explanation of format description terms

LC experience or existing holdings No use was made of this version of OEBPS. OEBPS 1.0.1 was incorporated into the standard for the Digital Talking Book developed and used by the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS), which is part of LC. See DTB (Digital Talking Book), NLS extension for AMR-WB+ Speech Codec and Packaging of Electronic Braille Files.
LC preference See the Library of Congress Recommended Formats Statement for format preferences for textual works.

Sustainability factors Explanation of format description terms

Disclosure Openly published specification, originally developed by the Open eBook Forum. In 2005, the Open eBook Forum became the International Digital Publishing Forum.
    Documentation As of early 2012, the documentation for OEBPS version 1.2 was no longer online through IDPF. The Open eBook Publication Structure Specification Version 1.2 documentation is available from the Internet Archive's Wayback machine.
Adoption Use largely superseded by EPUB_2.
    Licensing and patents No concerns
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 Version 1.2 provides more control for content providers over presentation than the previous version.
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 1.2 Package//EN" "">
Pronom PUID See note.  PRONOM has no corresponding entry as of July 2022.
Wikidata Title ID Q2248872
See 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.

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. The three successor modules that constitute EPUB_2 were approved in 2006 and 2007.

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

Format specifications Explanation of format description terms

Useful references


Last Updated: 03/08/2024