EDUPUB Conference Coming Up

28 October 2013

IDPF, ePub3, Education, Opinion

The EDUPUB Conference hosted by the IDPF is on the 29th October with some interesting items on the agenda. It's a two day conference on the important aspects of digital content in education. The agenda almost reads like the contents of this blog post over the last couple of years... except it will probably achieve nothing.

Apparently great minds think differently!

The EDUPUB Conference hosted by the IDPF is on the 29th October with some interesting items on the agenda. It's a two day conference on the important aspects of digital content in education. The agenda almost reads like the contents of this blog post over the last couple of years. It is a very North America closed shop.

The U.S. education system has substantially failed millions in their own country while the rest of the world moves ahead in this world significant area. The sad fact is the IDPF is not about education or people. It's a trade organization. It's about money for its' members.

This Sam Harris Article puts a significant dimension on the trivialization of education encompassed in the EDUPUB Conference. The article is a little old; but does seem relevant.

Can the world continue the U.S. metaphors and discussion? Without a doubt the IDPF is the Republican Party of digital content production and delivery. They live in a land where they think people should do what they say and what they say is the only truth. They don't notice the fact everyone ignores them. Business has moved on from the IDPF version of digital content "truth".

Now let's look at the Conference agenda!

We little people can access the agenda here. EDUPUB 2013 Agenda.

It's a "Theme" based conference

The "Themes" are pretty much what anyone would expect except Accessibility is 3rd instead of last. It's hard to tell whether that is because Theme 4 is more boring, or Theme 3 is more "PC".

Theme 1: Educational Interoperability Landscape

In the modern e-learning environment, several standards and protocols need to interoperate to create the context in which institutions, teachers, and students can interoperably utilize the environment with maximum efficiency. Which are the standards available today for describing and connecting the various components of an e-learning environment, and how are they evolving? How does an ebook "connect" with the surrounding context to become integrated with a range of learning environments? How will e-books be shared, launched and enabled for analytics across a wide variety of use cases? These and many other related questions will be answered in this session, where experts in the field will discuss and demonstrate the current state of affairs, and identify areas where further development may be needed to enable full interoperability.

 Interoperability will never happen and should never happen. The lines between reading systems and Learning Management Systems become blurred. Interoperability always means content quality compromises. The mechanization of content

It's difficult to understand why this is on the agenda when core adoption is failing with ePub3.

Theme 2: Rich and Interactive Content

With the ability to use the full power of the Open Web Platform in ebooks (not true), virtually endless possibilities arise in terms of creating new and enriched reading experiences. How are these features best deployed pedagogically in the education realm, now and in the future? This session will discuss challenges and opportunities that publishers face today with regards to the production and integration of rich and interactive content.

These questions have of course already been answered by the App environment and anyone who has a 7 Y.O or older kid/neice/nephew/grandchild.

This shouldn't be about challenges. It should be about best practices, speed to market and internationalization. Rich Media is boring. Interactive content is the future.

Theme 3: Accessibility

Which are the current and upcoming challenges and opportunities that publishers and solution providers face when it comes to accessible educational e-publishing? What is needed in terms of metadata standards to describe publication and client accessibility properties? How are technologies and best practices evolving for making STEM and other rich interactive content accessible? Are there really any significant differences between web and long-form e-publication accessibility? In this session, ongoing efforts for establishing a naturally accessible e-learning environment will be reviewed, and experts in the field will point out the most critical areas for further work.

 Accessibility is incredibly important. It is good to see it raised from the last item on the agenda although IMHO it should have been placed as the first item on day one just to bore the corporate intellectuals. What is not happening here is LOTE accessibility! There are more dimensions to accessibility that will take this crowd two decades to comprehend. At least "something accessible" is on the agenda.

Theme 4: Production Workflows

There’s a lot of uncertainty within the educational publishing community today over whether standards can be supported broadly and consistently enough across the industry to produce rich, interactive content in a cost-effective manner and deliver that content to multiple platforms that support these rich experiences. Publishers hesitate to make the investment in developing interactive content because eReaders and distribution platforms don’t support advanced features or EPUB 3. Device makers and eReader developers hesitate to invest in platforms that support advanced features when they don’t see publishers producing content using standards like EPUB 3, etc.. In this session we will present real examples of production workflows that demonstrate the efficiency and versatility of standards-based content development, assembly, delivery, and presentation, along with existing tools that address issues like authoring,

Sorry, the chopped off quote is from the web site. Hopefully they will correct it and make me look stupid. 

This is of course a red-herring theme. "Workflows?" "Uncertainty?" "Middle Manager Wimps?"

We have had these tools in place for over two years. Large publisher management is the problem, not real world content tagging and production solutions.

IGP:Digital Publisher

Day1. Theme 1: Educational Interoperability Landscape

Here are the topics in this "theme". (No names, just presentation titles), and of course a few comments.

Panel: The big picture of educational content and data

Holy, Moly! The big picture! It should of course have been "...educational content and information" where information is data with contex value, but let's not nit-pick. Who the hell can understand from this title, what this will be about! We stand poised in anticipation.

CourseSmart. Role of open standards in creating personalized adaptive learning environments

I am so confused by the convolutions in that presentation title. I will have to wait for the movie or the book or something. I stand-by to learn what an adaptive learning environment truely is and will then personalize.

Vital Source Outcome returns in the context of an electronic textbook

O.K. This looks practical. We feed other publisher's books to the Vital Source ePub3 fixed layout engine that apparently has to support IE 8. That does  kinda puts a fork into the guts of 2013 digital content. Do you still actually get  revenue from IE8 users?

Inkling Structured Content and Metadata

I don't really know what this title means. It is especially confusing coming from an non-ePub3 supporting, proprietary packaging organization like Inkling.

We have to stand-by with bated breath. Please let it be something more than a variation on D.C Metadata and a lecture on how "subject" is so important!

Carson- Dellosa EPUB 3 fixed layout ebook

If it goes beyond the sad Apple iBooks fixed layout implementation I will be significantly surprised. I hope to be surprised.

We do fixed layout really cool. Will that be covered. If you haven't seen FLO Grows up in AZARDI, then you don't know what fixed layout ePub3 is about.

Check out the samples on our ePub3 Resources Page

Vital Source Standardized set of metrics to be used as analytics for textbooks

This should be super-cool. We are heavily into analytic right now. To the point where statistics about everything tell us everything about nothing.

I would love to get some analytics that actually make a business difference. Vital Source bring it to us!

Day 1. Theme 2: Rich and Interactive Content

Sophia University Collection of User Requirements and Linkage to Standard Specifications

Don't understand the title. I would have to be there to understand the value of this presentation. So will have to wait for the excited result to leak through. If it does. (IDPF presentations are strange invisible).

O’Reilly Media Automating Workflows for Mathematical Equation Processing and Rendering

Given O'Reilly's erratic support of anything XML-first-last-not XML- and so forth this will probably be well worth ignoring. Especially since it is MathML.

Penny to a pinch of goat-s**t they go LaTeX as the solution to the worlds MathML problems.

MathML Seriously!

IGP:Digital Publisher Q3 Updates

Interactive Arithmetic for the World.

Of course Maths isn't just about MathML. There is also geometry and Trigonometry, highly visual formats.

Check out our SVG Primitives Series to learn more

Imagineering WebGL API

A mysterious and very exciting subject. It is so important nothing will ever be heard from this presentation again. It's to important and just not political enough.

I seriously hope I am wrong here.

Google + Benetech The Need for a Library of Open Source Accessible Interactive EPUB 3 Widgets

Now they are getting serious. If ePub3 is ever going to work it needs a set of open source widgets. Of course it already exists. Or a least a starter-kit does.

The AZARDI Interactive Engine is available now. Sure it's not on Git-Hub, but it has been ripped-off shamelessly and we are happy with that.

This is possibly the single most important subject at this conference and opens the doors for Javascript to become a core component. This is what is needed to be pushed forward to make ePub3 relevant.

Widgets for ePub3 and More

Metrodigi “Super Widgets”

Cool. Don't understand this. I presume this means more Javascript than the previous session was prepared to deliver.

Interactive Arithmetic for the World

Interactive Handwriting for the World

CETIS Embedding QTI assessment in EPUB 3; balancing effectiveness with robustness  

This semi-open specification will be adopted by the IDPF with open arms. It's their thing. 

The Day 2 Explosion. Theme 3 Accessibility

Pearson Education Creating accessible fixed layout EPUB 3 for schools and colleges

Of course what they mean is English speaking North American or the children of rich people accessibilty.

NCAM Ensuring Accessible Multimedia in EPUB Documents

Don't understand. Hope it's great. If it means SMIL stuff we are ready.

LRMI + Benetech LRMI and Accessibility Metadata for Discovery of Accessible Ed Resources

Very good. We will wait for the outcome and see if it is doable.

AMAC Accessibility as the Key to Etextbook Integration

This is a little woolly. Hope for a lot of clarity. We spent a bit of time working with AMAC to import Word files using DaisyXML and MathML importers and getting ePub3's with MathML out. Went no-where. Hope they are doing well.

Wolfram Standardizing Textual Descriptions of Interactive Graphics

Now what is Wolfram doing here? Very exciting to see a serious academic development company step into the IDPF ring.

Day 2. Theme 4. Production Workflows

This should be interesting but will it be so "My Way" Frank Sinatra will be turning in his grave.

Presentation Pearson, Inkling, Nook Media

OK. Let me understand this one. Pearson have been giving Inkling work, Nook is trying not be be irrelevant as an eBook reading system. This is a strange collaboration.

Adobe  Making edits to an existing book

Duh! Oh so you are copying Calibre? Or are you coming out with a radical new production system? Maybe "Adobe Book Edit" ABE!

If it has the Adobe name attached, and it is digital ePub content any number; run for cover. It will destroy advances in the ePub business for another five years.

Hopefully Apple moved the ePub3 target so far away from Adobe they dare not follow.

Versapub Collaborative Media Platform

Well every link on the Versapub site leads to some sort of registration page. Guess they are another awesome entrepeneur driven start-up. Obviously their depth of experience makes them just the right innovative people for an IDPF conference.

This will be exciting.

Harvard Business Publishing Challenges in EPUB Production

Well these dudes have been making a lot of noise about ePub2/3 production for academic content for some time. As expected from a prestigious academic institution their presentation will make easy things difficult. It is the required way.

Evident Point Converting Static Textbooks to Interactive

Great. Would love to hear this one. The workflow of analysing and converting print textbooks to interactive is a huge subject and needs more exposure.

Plenary: Key Work Areas moving forward

Blah, blah, blah confident smile, gracious gesture, blah, the future, blah, tomorrow, blah, IDPF, blah. Cool!


It looks like another great IDPF conference where so many will talk the talk. I hope the take-away from this post is not anti-US. That is simply not true. The subject is education for the rest of the world. However that is why this is a locked-off closed conference.

We live in a world that goes round. Education is, or should be a fundamental human right. Digital content in general, and ePub3 in particular should be supporting and pushing this bigger picture in 2013 rather than wearily rolling out digital versions of print business models.

This conference is unlikely to result in anything new or outstanding but it is certainly great to see education content get two days in the IDPF setting sun.

Ultimately the main reason for ePub3 to exist is education for the world. It is the most natural fit in terms of requirements, capabilities and needs in the world today.

Posted by Richard Pipe


comments powered by Disqus