The American Society for Indexing (ASI) Digital Trends Task Force (DTTF) is pleased to report that the two-year effort by the International Digital Publishing Forum’s Indexes Working Group to produce a standard method for encoding indexes in EPUB publications has come to fruition. On November 7th the IDPF Board approved the EPUB Indexes 1.0 specification advancement to Public Draft status. The effort was enhanced by participation of the Australia and New Zealand Society for Indexers (ANZSI) and extensive comments from the Publishing Technology Group of the Society of Indexers.
The draft specification is available for public comment until December 3rd at http://idpf.org/news/call-for-review-second-public-draft-of-epub-indexes-specification. After this review period, the spec (potentially revised based on comments) will be elevated to Proposed Draft status for a final member review, followed by a member vote to approve it to become part of the EPUB suite of specifications (http://idpf.org/epub/30).
While it will take time for publishers, tool developers, and reading systems to implement this new standard tagging method in their EPUBs and add enhanced index interaction, the possibilities are far-reaching. Reading systems will be able to create new functionalities for electronic indexes and new interactions between the user, the index, the book’s material, and even the search. Headings from an index (metacontent) could be used for book discovery as part of a book’s bibliographic metadata.
Take a moment and peruse the EPUB Indexes specification. It includes an index to the document and, as an example, the index coded using the specification (see Appendix E).
The American Society for Indexing is a nonprofit, professional, membership organization promoting excellence in the indexing of books, journals and other information sources in print and electronic media.