Early Draft

This an early draft for the chartering process of a Publishing Working Group, envisioned as part of the combination of IDPF and W3C announced on the 1st of February 2017. The development of this charter is owned by the W3C Staff but is driven by the Publishing Business Group. The early draft charter draws on the work of the Digital Publishing Interest Group, and that group will continue to contribute to the technical aspects of the charter (2: “Scope”, and 3: “Deliverables”).

Issues and comments from the public at large are encouraged and highly welcome. Comments should be submitted by raising issues on this (public) repository. (In the case of a problems, comments can also be sent to the editor of this document, Ivan Herman, ivan@w3.org, who will submit the comment to the issue list in the commenter’s name.)

Explicit todo-s and questions to be answered for the final draft are marked explicitly in the draft like this.

Publishing Working Group Charter

The mission of the Publishing Working Group is to [do something cool and specific on the Web].

Join the Publishing Working Group. [Final URL to be filled in if and when the charter is formally approved.]

Start date [dd monthname yyyy] (date of the "Call for Participation", when the charter is formally approved)
End date [dd monthname yyyy]
Chairs (Proposed) Garth Conboy (Google) and Tzviya Siegman (John Wiley & Sons., Inc.)
Team Contacts Ivan Herman (0.4 FTE); ????
Meeting Schedule Teleconferences: 1-hour calls will be held weekly
Face-to-face: we will meet during the W3C's annual Technical Plenary week; additional face-to-face meetings may be scheduled by consent of the participants, usually no more than 3 per year.


The Web emerged in 1994, based on a model of individually-authored documents loosely tied together by hyperlinks. Since then, those Web “pages” have evolved into Web sites and Web Apps, with smaller and smaller bits of content, generated by more and more users or databases, with increasing amounts of interactivity. The Web has become a swarm of small content, changing very quickly. Although we still talk about pages, this model has little to do with that much older, yet still very powerful, paged-based media we call books or, using a more general term, “publications”.

Over centuries, “publications” have assumed many forms: traditional books, journals and individual journal articles, magazines, pamphlets, newspapers, business reports, atlases, comics, manga, notebooks, albums of all sorts. We can define these different manifestations as “publications”: bounded editions of meaningful media, made public.

We believe there is great value in combining this older tradition—of portable, bounded publications—with the pervasive accessibility, internationalization, addressability, and interconnectedness of the Open Web Platform. New models of economic sustainability, innovative experiences of knowledge and invigorated socio-cultural engagement depend on this. The flourishing e-book market, largely based on the EPUB standard, has already changed the face of traditional publishing; this evolution can be fostered further by completely reconciling both traditions. (For further backgrounds, see also the “Web Publications Use Case and Requirements” document, collected by the W3C Digital Publishing Interest Group.)

In short, “publications”—with all their specificities and traditions—should become first class entities on the Web. It is the goal of the Publishing Working Group to provide the technical underpinning of this evolution.


For the purpose of this document, A Web Publication (WP) is a collection of one or more constituent resources, organized together in a uniquely identifiable grouping that may be presented using standard Open Web Platform technologies. A Web Publication is not just a collection of links—the act of publishing involves obtaining resources and organizing them into a publication, which must be “manifested” by having files on a Web server. Thus the publisher provides an origin for the WP, and a URL that can uniquely identify that manifestation. A Web Publication must provide a number of features whose detailed specification is in the scope of this Working Group. While some of the detailed requirements have already been documented elsewhere, the most important and high level characteristics, that must be translated into specifications are:

Recommendation-track deliverables will contain mechanisms to make Web Publications accessible to a broad range of readers with different needs and capabilities. This includes general WCAG and WAI requirements of the W3C as well as requirements for international readers using different scripts and document formats. Additional extended requirements will be identified as conformance requirements in the Working Group’s normative specifications. Profiles of Web Publications may be defined with more stringent accessibility requirements.

EPUB has become one of the fundamental technologies for the global publishing ecosystem (see the separate document, published by the W3C Publishing Business Group, for more details and backgrounds). It is the preferred format for a broad range of types of publications, not only for distribution but increasingly also for authoring and production workflows. As part of the work on Web Publications, described in this charter, it is also critical that a next generation of EPUB, currently referred to as EPUB 4, retain the specificity, portability, predictability, accessibility, and internationalization required by the publishing ecosystem while benefitting from the improved features and functionalities offered by Packaged Web Publications. 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.

Input Documents

The following documents may be considered by the Working Group as direct inputs to the specifications to be developed.

W3C documents
  • Web Publications for the Open Web Platform. This document summarizes the technical deliberations on the subject by the DPUB Interest Group and provides possible technical avenues for the final specifications.
  • Web Publications Use Case and Requirements. This is a collection of use cases collected by the DPUB Interest Group showing the requirements for Web Publications and Packaged Web Publications.
  • Web App Manifest. The definition of Web Publications may rely on the introduction of a manifest and, if so, a compatibility with, and/or linkage to, Web App Manifests should be considered.
  • Service Workers. Service Workers may provide an implementation vehicle for some aspects of Web Publications in a browser context.
  • Packaging on the Web. The definition of packaging for Packaged Web Publications should consider this format as (one of) its standard format(s).
  • Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) 1.1. ARIA 1.1 provides the basis for the work on DPUB ARIA Module 2.0
  • Digital Publishing WAI-ARIA Module 1.0. The planned DPUB ARIA Module 2.0 is planned to be an extension to this specification.
  • Digital Publishing and Accessibility in W3C Documents. This Interest Group Note collects a number of accessibility features that are relevant for the publishing community and not (yet) part of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. These document provides a basis for the working aiming at the extension of future versions of WCAG regarding publishing.
  • EPUB 3.1. This is the Member Submission of EPUB 3, that will be an important input into Web Publications, Portable Web Publications, and EPUB 4. Compatibility with EPUB 3 will be a consideration in development of all three specifications. (Note that this reference is to an “umbrella” document for a suite of six specifications.)
Non-W3C documents
  • EPUB for Education. This profile of EPUB 3 gives a good example for the type of profiles that the publishing community uses.
  • [Documents, coming from the EPUB 3.1 WG, on BFF should be added once a stable reference is provided]
  • Readium Web Publication Manifest. First draft of a Web Publication manifest format, provided by the Readium Consortium.

Out of Scope

The following features are out of scope, and will not be addressed by this Working group.

  • Digital Rights Management (DRM) features for Web Publications (however, the Working Group shouldn’t make any design decision that would make such features impossible).
  • New metadata vocabularies.
  • New document identification schemes (i.e., alternatives to DOI or ISBN).
  • Maintenance of EPUB 3 (to be done in a separate Community Group).

Success Criteria

In order to advance to Proposed Recommendation, each specification is expected to have at least two independent implementations of each of feature defined in the specification.

Each specification should contain a section detailing any known security or privacy implications for implementers, Web authors, and end users.

Each specification should contain a section describing known impacts on accessibility to users with disabilities, ways the specification features address them, and recommendations for minimizing accessibility problems in implementation.

Testing plans for each specification should be provided, starting from the earliest drafts.


More detailed milestones and updated publication schedules are available on the group publication status page.

Recommendation-track Deliverables

The Working Group will deliver the following W3C normative specifications (titles of the documents are provisional; some documents listed below may be grouped into one document or split into several, constituent documents):

Web Publications

This specification defines a Web Resource representing a collection of one or more constituent Web Resources, organized together in a uniquely identifiable grouping that may be presented using standard Open Web Platform technologies. A Web Publication may represent a journal or magazine article, an in-house documentation, or a digital book. It provides a standard to access information pertinent for the collection as a whole and that may be usable for the proper presentation of the publication.

Packaged Web Publications

This specification defines a way to combine the resources of a Web Publication into a distributable file using a packaging format.


This specification defines a functional profile of the general idea of Packaged Web Publications that may deliver a higher degree of comprehensive accessibility capabilities and reliability. This specification should generally be a functional superset of EPUB 3.1, with functionally round-tripping to/from EPUB 3.1 considered highly desirable.

DPUB-ARIA Module 2.0

This specification extends the DPUB-ARIA Module 1.0 specification, adding terms for a more complete coverage of publication related terms. Its primary input is the full set of terms defined by the EPUB 3 Structural Semantics Vocabulary but other, similar vocabularies will also be considered.

Other Deliverables

Other non-normative documents may be created such as:

  • use case and requirement documents;
  • test suites and implementation reports for the specification;
  • Primers or Best Practice documents to support web developers when designing applications.

The group should also contribute to the ongoing work to newer releases of WCAG to ensure the inclusion of publication specific features.


The group’s Publication Status document provides current data about all of the group’s specifications. [Final URI to be set up if the charter is formally accepted.] Although the group expects all of its active deliverables to progress during this charter period, the charter does not include detailed milestone data for each specification because such data is speculative and easily becomes out of date. The Working Group does expect the following to occur:

Put here a timeline view of all deliverables.

  • FPWD for WP Specification in QX 201X
  • FPWD for PWP Specification in QX 201X
  • FPWD for EPUB4 Specification in QX 201X
  • FPWD for DPUB-ARIA Module 2.0 Specification in QX 201X
  • WP Specification in QX 201X
  • PWP Specification in QX 201X
  • EPUB4 Specification in QX 201X
  • DPUB-ARIA Module 2.0 Specification in QX 201X


For all specifications, this Working Group will seek horizontal review for accessibility, internationalization, performance, privacy, and security with the relevant Working and Interest Groups, and with the TAG. Invitation for review must be issued during each major standards-track document transition, including FPWD and at least 3 months before CR, and should be issued when major changes occur in a specification.

Additional technical coordination with the following Groups will be made, per the W3C Process Document:

W3C Groups

Web Platform Working Group

This group develops and/or maintains a number of specifications that may be fundamental for the specification and/or the implementation of Web Publications. Examples are:

  • Web App Manifests, that may be the basis for specifying the information (table of content, metadata, etc) provided by a Web Publication;
  • Service Workers, that may become the fundamental building block for the implementation and testing of Web Applications;
  • Packaging on the Web (jointly developed with the Technical Architecture Group) that may provide a way of packaging for the purpose of Packaged Web Publications.
CSS Working Group

New CSS features may be needed to support web publications. Such features would be specified in the CSS Working Group, with the Publishing Working Group providing use cases, requirements, and examples. The Publishing Working Group would also help the CSS WG with the development and testing of new and existing CSS functionality that is of interest to the publishing community. The group will designate liaisons to work with the CSS WG on issues as needed, and who will ideally be part of both groups.

Accessible Rich Internet Applications WG

This Working Group is responsible for the development of ARIA; the development of DPUB-ARIA Module 2.0 should be done in close cooperation with the further development of ARIA in general.

Accessibility Guidelines Working Group

The Publishing Working Group will coordinate with the AG Working Group to integrate accessibility requirements created as part of its recommendation-track deliverables into generalized technology. One or more pipelines of the requirements will be maintained to manage diverse turnaround times of the W3C groups.

EPUB 3 Community Group

While working on EPUB 3 related projects, the EPUB 3 Community Group may surface technical concerns, requirements, issues, that are also relevant to the work of the Publishing Working Group. The two groups will formally cooperate to ensure that such issues are duly handled by the Publishing Working Group.

Publishing Business Group

The mission of the Publishing Business Group is to foster ongoing participation by members of the publishing industry and overall ecosystem in the development of the Web for publishing, and to serve as a conduit for feedback between the publishing ecosystem and W3C. In doing so, technical or business requirement may come up that are also relevant to the work of the Publishing Working Group. The two groups will formally cooperate to ensure that such issues are duly handled by the Publishing Working Group.

External Organizations

Book Industry Study Group (BISG)

This group is responsible for the EPUB 3 Support Grid, which provides information on current reading system support for EPUB 3. This tool may be extended to WP in general, and EPUB 4 in particular.


EDRLab, acting as the European headquarter of the Readium Foundation, is actively working on the ReadiumJS, Readium SDK and Readium-2 projects. The latter is especially interesting as a future reference implementation of PWP and EPUB 4.


To be successful, this Working Group is expected to have 6 or more active participants for its duration, including representatives from key implementors and users (e.g, publishers, authors) of this specification, and active Editors and Test Leads for each specification. The Chairs, specification Editors, and Test Leads are expected to contribute half of a day per week towards the Working Group. There is no minimum requirement for other Participants.

The group encourages questions, comments and issues on its public mailing lists and document repositories, as described in Communication.

The group also welcomes non-Members to contribute technical submissions for consideration upon their agreement to the terms of the W3C Patent Policy.


Technical discussions for this Working Group are conducted in public: the meeting minutes from teleconference and face-to-face meetings will be archived for public review, and technical discussions and issue tracking will be conducted in a manner that can be both read and written to by the general public. Working Drafts and Editor’s Drafts of specifications will be developed on a public repository, and may permit direct public contribution requests. The meetings themselves are not open to public participation, however.

Information about the group (including details about deliverables, issues, actions, status, participants, and meetings) will be available from the Publishing Working Group home page.

Most Publishing Working Group teleconferences will focus on discussion of particular specifications, and will be conducted on an as-needed basis.

This group primarily conducts its technical work: on the public mailing list public-dpub-wg@w3.org (archive) and on GitHub issues. The public is invited to review, discuss and contribute to this work.

The group may use a Member-confidential mailing list for administrative purposes and, at the discretion of the Chairs and members of the group, for member-only discussions in special cases when a participant requests such a discussion.

Decision Policy

This group will seek to make decisions through consensus and due process, per the W3C Process Document (section 3.3). Typically, an editor or other participant makes an initial proposal, which is then refined in discussion with members of the group and other reviewers, and consensus emerges with little formal voting being required.

However, if a decision is necessary for timely progress, but consensus is not achieved after careful consideration of the range of views presented, the Chairs may call for a group vote, and record a decision along with any objections.

To afford asynchronous decisions and organizational deliberation, any resolution (including publication decisions) taken in a face-to-face meeting or teleconference will be considered provisional. A call for consensus (CfC) will be issued for all resolutions (for example, via email and/or web-based survey), with a response period from one week to 10 working days, depending on the chair's evaluation of the group consensus on the issue. If no objections are raised on the mailing list by the end of the response period, the resolution will be considered to have consensus as a resolution of the Working Group.

All decisions made by the group should be considered resolved unless and until new information becomes available, or unless reopened at the discretion of the Chairs or the Director.

This charter is written in accordance with the W3C Process Document (Section 3.4, Votes), and includes no voting procedures beyond what the Process Document requires.

Patent Policy

This Working Group operates under the W3C Patent Policy (5 February 2004 Version). To promote the widest adoption of Web standards, W3C seeks to issue Recommendations that can be implemented, according to this policy, on a Royalty-Free basis. For more information about disclosure obligations for this group, please see the W3C Patent Policy Implementation.


This Working Group will use the W3C Software and Document license for all its deliverables.

About this Charter

This charter has been created according to section 5.2 of the Process Document. In the event of a conflict between this document or the provisions of any charter and the W3C Process, the W3C Process shall take precedence.