EPUB for Education
The EDUPUB Alliance
The EDUPUB Alliance is a collaborative effort between organizations responsible for developing, maintaining, and facilitating the implementation of standards important to education.
The Alliance was initially formed in 2013, driven by the work of three standards organizations:
the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), responsible for EPUB and related standards;
IMS Global, responsible for important interoperability and metrics standards like LTI, QTI, and the Caliper Analytics Platform; and
the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), responsible for most of the fundamental standards that govern the Open Web Platform.
The group has subsequently been joined by the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) the DAISY Consortium and the Readium Foundation, and welcomes the participation of other relevant standards organizations around the world.
The EDUPUB Alliance is more than the standards organizations under whose umbrella it falls, however; the work is being driven by the publishers, educational institutions, reading system and tool developers and other key stakeholders in the education and publishing arenas who make up these organizations.
The intention of the EDUPUB Alliance is not to create Yet Another Standard. Instead, its mandate is to work to ensure that the existing standards maintained by the EDUPUB Alliance organizations avoid conflicts and become ever more interoperable as they evolve.
The EPUB for Education Profile
IDPF's role in this initiative is to develop a profile of EPUB 3 for education. Instead of creating a separate format, an EPUB that conforms to the education profile is also a conformant EPUB 3.
EPUB is designed to broadly accommodate all types of publications and any kind of content. What the education profile does is to add certain specifications and recommendations that optimize an EPUB for education. Thus it adds a few requirements that are optional in EPUB—for example, it requires that its metadata identifies it as an educational publication and documents any accessibility features it contains—and it expands the EPUB Structural Semantics Vocabulary to include terms relevant in education, for example for learning objectives and assessments.
By leveraging key IDPF specifications that expand on core EPUB functionality, the education profile brings the ability to identify distributable objects in the content (reusable "chunks"), the ability to embed reusable scriptable components ("widgets"), and the ability to annotate content and share those annotations. Re-using specifications applicable to all EPUB content also ensures a high level of interoperability with reading systems, and simplifies reuse of content in other EPUB contexts.
The result is a constellation of small specifications that comprise what can generically be thought of as "the Education Profile of EPUB." More information on these specifications and the functionality they provide is available below, and links to them are provided in the menu to the right on this screen.
All of these specifications are currently in public draft status. They are intended to provide sufficient information for initial implementations, and implementations are actively encouraged. However, they are all expected to evolve over time to become ever more useful to the educational ecosystem. Please check http://idpf.org/ongoing periodically to monitor current activities regarding these and all IDPF specifications.
The Education Profile Specification
The specification for the education profile is available at http://idpf.org/epub/profiles/edu/spec. This is the place to start. It provides the principles and goals and the specific requirements and recommendations that make an EPUB conformant to the educational profile. It also references how the other associated specifications should be used in the context of EPUB for education (for example, designating that a given Distributable Object is for education).
Open Annotation in EPUB
The specification for Open Annotation in EPUB is available at http://idpf.org/epub/oa. This describes the current specifications for how annotations should be handled in the education profile.
EPUB Scriptable Components
The specification for EPUB Scriptable Components is available at http://idpf.org/epub/sc/api and http://idpf.org/epub/sc/pkg. The first of these provides an interoperable publish and subscribe (pubsub) pattern by which interactive content can be created and incorporated into EPUB Publications that conform to the profile; the second provides a specification for how to package a scriptable component as an EPUB and integrate it into a destination EPUB.
EPUB Distributable Objects
The specification for EPUB Distributable Objects is available at http://idpf.org/epub/do. This describes how the individual discrete entities within an EPUB (content documents, images, fonts, stylesheets, metadata, and other resources needed by the object) are identified and organized as a Distributable Object, and how to package them into an EPUB for interchange between systems.
Using QTI, LTI, and Caliper Analytics in EDUPUB
IMS Global has published a Best Practices document at http://www.imsglobal.org/edupub/EPUB3QTILTICaliper_BestPracticesvd8.pdf that describes how to use IMS Caliper Analytics™, Question and Test Interoperability™ (QTI), and Learning Tools Interoperability™ (LTI) in the context of the education profile.