Helping W3C help us: help wanted!

Helping W3C help us: help wanted!

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) are keen to engage with the digital preservation community for comment on their draft Web Publications standard ( – a possible parent specification for future EPUBs.

They would like to ensure that this specification, and future Web Publications based on it, are well prepared for archival. This is an excellent opportunity for this community to make a small contribution now, that could result in considerable preservation benefits further down the line.

The Digital Preservation Coalition and Open Preservation Foundation are inviting our collective members to join in a small working group to review, discuss and provide feedback on this developing standard.

As a broad indication of the work involved, we expect:

  • To hold an online call with a W3C representative to provide an overview of the standard
  • For participants to then individually review and provide comment on the standard to the digital preservation working group (via google doc)
  • Further call(s) to review and discuss the comments as necessary
  • To subsequently submit issues to the Web Publications Github project
  • For participants to follow up on responses from the W3C to posted Github issues.

We welcome all those who are interested and committed to getting involved in the above work to get in contact with either Paul Wheatley at the DPC or Peter May at the British Library/OPF.


  1. johan
    August 28, 2018 @ 1:17 pm CEST

    Just came across this, which is a pretty good explanation about Web Publications,
    Packaged Web Publications and EPUB 4:

    (This is from 2017 so I don’t know how up-to-date this still is; also note this is not an official W3C publication!)

  2. johan
    August 28, 2018 @ 1:07 pm CEST

    Thanks Peter!

  3. Peter May
    August 28, 2018 @ 9:50 am CEST

    Thanks Johan, I’ve adjusted the text to be clearer.

    However, the principle still remains. With the potential for EPUB to be a profile of the Web Publication specification, it would still seem favourable to ensure the WP specification is suitable for preservation.

  4. johan
    August 27, 2018 @ 3:24 pm CEST

    I may be wrong here, but I don’t think the statement that Web Publications is “a possible replacement for EPUB” is completely accurate. Last year’s W3C Interest Group Note “Web Publications for the Open Web Platform” (link: says:

    “It may be desirable for what is currently an EPUB to become a particular type (and thus a profile) of Packaged Web Publication.”

    I also came across this W3C document on The Importance of EPUB and the Need for EPUB 4 (link:, which states:

    “EPUB 4 must not be in conflict with Web Publications; it must be a type of Web Publication that provides the predictability and interoperability that this ecosystem has come to rely on.”

    Based on this, rather than “replacing” EPUB, it would appear that future versions of EPUB will simply be a profile/subtype of the Web Publications standard.

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