EDUPUB Phoenix 2015 Report

March 19, 2015

The EDUPUB community gathered in Phoenix, Arizona at the end of February to plan and decide on the deliverables for 2015. The series of meetings were well attended and graciously hosted by the University of Phoenix. As reflected in the agenda ( feb2015UofPhoenix.html#Summit ) the goals were focused on those tasks required to move the work done over the past two years into the implementation phase. Chief among those tasks was the work needed to gain consensus on the initial requirements.

"Initial requirements?", you may ask, "I thought this was a defined standard."

While EDUPUB is a specification, it is in reality "a collaboration among existing organizations" (Bill Kasdorf, slide 14, files/Events%20pdfs/CONTEC% 202014/EDUPUB%20-%20Bill% 20Kasdorf.pdf ) with the intent to "follow an agile model, with core features and functionality defined in the initial release and less critical features -- or features that require more time to properly detail and implement properly -- following later." ( epub/profiles/edu/spec/ "Status of this Document" ). EDUPUB Phoenix 2015 was all about deciding what would be in that initial release, and what would follow later.

The meeting started by dividing up the attendees into two rooms, to focus efforts on the questions around integration within the learning environment using IMS standards, and those questions remaining around content creation and consumption using the EDUPUB profile of EPUB3. Colin Smythe (IMS Global) and Rick Johnson (VitalSource) lead the conversation on the IMS standards, while Markus Gylling (IDPF/DAISY), Paul Belfanti (Pearson), and Julie Morris (BISG) moderated an interactive session on what steps need to be taken in order to build a coherent model for certification of EDUPUB Content, Reading Systems, and Authoring Tools.

IMS Standards

At the IMS breakout the participants reviewed the recommendations brought forward from an IMS steering committee, and agreed there were 4 key priorities to be considered:

  1. Foundational requirements: support for LTI 1.2, rich outcomes, and some form of offline persistence
  2. Providing metrics for analytics support with the upcoming Caliper specification
  3. Support, via LTI consumer, for LTI links to web-hosted apps/tools that may be embedded in the EDUPUB content.
  4. Support for LTI in a mobile app

There was agreement that the recommendation for the initial EDUPUB specification must include the foundational requirements in #1 above. It was also agreed that while technical demonstrations of such a solution may include code or scripting within an EDUPUB document itself, that approach should not be considered best practice. It is the responsibility of the reader, or the extended reading system to manage the heavy lifting needed for managing an LTI interaction, outcome negotiation, and other tasks. Lastly, it was agreed that the remaining conversations (#2 thru #4 above) would not be initially required, and fall under the agile model to be fleshed out in future conversations before requiring them as a part of EDUPUB.

EDUPUB Content Conformance

In the other breakout, there was agreement that leveraging existing tools, specifically EPUBCheck and the EPUBTest grid, would accelerate the ability to certify content, reading systems, and authoring tools. EDUPUB Content Conformance was defined as the following:

  • It is a valid EPUB 3.0.1 publication & package file
  • Metadata
    • Must have at least one instance of schema:accessibilityFeature
    • Must declare the dc:type value as “edupub”
    • Must specify if teacher-edition or teacher-guide
    • Must specify source when print derivative or teacher edition
    • Other educational metadata is optional (i.e. “Should”)
      • audience, educational role, alignment, activity type, …
      • May be specified by RDFa/ or other
    • Metadata needs to match econtent – the content is appropriate for what has been called out in the metadata (e.g., alternative text for images, MathML)
  • Verify that structural constraints are conformant
  • If a vocabulary is used, validate the vocabulary
  • Validate section/heading requirements and ensure semantics are applied as intended
  • Scriptable components only require a few additional metadata/structural requirements on top of distributable objects
    • All components must be in an <iframe>
    • Must assume it is in a separate domain (that is, no direct scripting access across the iframe boundary)
    • All communication done with postMessage
    • Messaging implementation included in the spine
      • Enables drop-in support if spine level scripting is supported
  • Should we restrict reflowable content to only use scriptable components?
    • Working group tasked with determining whether to tighten scripting to require a scriptable components approach for reflowable content
  • If annotations are included, need to ensure that they are included and conform to open annotation spec
    • The target reference for the annotation needs to be validated
  • For fixed layout documents, the requirement is for an accessible rendition (reflowable alternative) using the EPUB multiple renditions framework
  • If pagebreak markers are included (the source publication is a page), then list nav must be included.
  • Must ensure that the content correctly drives the LTI links and outcome service (with appropriate dependencies on the reading system)

It was recognized that many of these items may not be machine-testable, and that most of the important interoperability checks must be human-tested. The working group is to determine what is machine-checkable and what is not, and was also tasked with determining any global vs. regional conformance issues.

Certifying EDUPUB Reading Systems

  • Content Requirements:
  • Must conform to requirements for EPUB 3.0.1
  • Must conform to the LTI and Rich Outcomes specifications
  • Must support the rendering of Scriptable Components
  • Must support multiple-rendition publications
    • Working Group tasked with assessing if requiring a subset ensure accessibility is sufficient
  • Must support import and rendering of annotations
  • EPUBSC Packaging
    • Must process parameters as defined in epubsc:required-params property
    • Container-constrained scripting
    • If Spine-level scripting is not supported, must support postMessage protocol
  • Annotations
    • EPUB Adaption of W3C Open Annotation (http://www.openannotation. org/spec/core/)
    • Requires XHTML5 for annotation body
    • Requires JSON-LD serialization
    • Uses EPUB CFI for anchoring to target
    • Define specificity levels (release, publication and work).
    • Syntactic restrictions to allow non-RDF-aware processing
    • Allows bundling of collections of annotations (+ zip for transport)… and specifying target audience (teacher, age range, etc)
    • Import Annotations is required, export is optional (i.e “Should”)

A proposal was made to extend current the EPUB Grid working group to determine how to include these tests in the Test Suite, and to coordinate with the IMS working group to align with the recommendations from that team. The Working Group took on the task on analyzing the priority of these requirements and possibly make adjustments for the May release of the specification

Certifying EDUPUB Authoring Tools

The tool must produce valid EDUPUB, and perform validation around the spec (import/enrichment/export).

  • Must be able to create a publication conformant to the content specifications
  • Ensure that the LTI links are correctly embedded
  • Provide an informative capabilities matrix
    • Populated by a third party
    • A multi-level certification (bronze, silver, gold) based on a capabilities matrix was discussed

Next Steps

A number of tasks emerged from the meetings, with defined deliverables:

  • For Content Conformance, the EPUBCheck group was tasked with completing the test implementation. The EDUPUB working group will discuss tightening the scripting spec to the container-contained scripting, as well as audio/video accessibility requirements.
  • For Reading System Conformance, the BISG Grid working group and the IDPF will perform a feasibility study regarding extending the grid for EDUPUB.
  • For Authoring Tool Conformance, it is still to be determined who should own the tasks of providing an informative capabilities matrix to be populated by a third party, and establish benchmarks for multi-level certification based on capabilities.
  • It was decided that the EDUPUB Alliance would serve as an umbrella for organizing a coherent measurement/certification scheme, with the IMS being responsible for supporting the conformance testing of the IMS aspects of the content, reading system, and authoring tools.
Finally, it was determined to convene a taskforce, co-chaired by Bill McCoy (IDPF) and Rob Abel (IMS) to close the remaining questions and create the documentation defining EDUPUB conformance.
We all look forward to the IMS Learning Impact Conference ( ) and IDPF Digital Book Conference at BEA ( ) this coming May, and the release of the initial EDUPUB conformance documentation.