Dear Members and Friends of IDPF and EPUB,
We have much to celebrate and reflect upon as we continue our journey to advance digital publishing and digital reading.
We laid the foundations for what became EPUB when we began the Open EBook Forum (OEBF) in 1999. The organization evolved, becoming the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) in 2005, and we expanded our mission to include all types of digital works for all types of digital publishing. Since 2011 we’ve been pursuing an ambitious mission to foster global adoption of an open, accessible, interoperable digital publishing ecosystem that enables innovation. Our strategy to effectively advance our mission has been to develop and promote EPUB as the universal accessible interchange and delivery ecosystem for eBooks and other digital publications based on the Open Web Platform.
Now we have combined with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The Board, unanimously, and the membership, overwhelmingly, agreed that this was the best path forward to advance our mission. While this means “Goodbye” to IDPF as a separate organization it also means “Hello” to a wonderful, new era for EPUB and our community. Or, since I’m writing you today from a beach in Hawaii: Aloha!
I have served as your elected President since 2010 and I’ve been involved with the organization since its inception - actually since before it was formed. I know that many of you, like me, are proud of what we’ve accomplished in IDPF and have some trepidation about this next stage in the evolution and expansion of our community. We’ve accomplished a lot and established EPUB as a widely adopted standard that’s mission-critical to many communities around the world. This combination must not disrupt the adoption of EPUB, in fact the goal is for the combination to accelerate adoption of EPUB to an entirely new level.
But I hope you also share my excitement about the tremendous synergies and opportunities we will now have in pursuing a longer-term vision for a fully converged Open Web Platform for publishing. Within the W3C, we expect to advance open accessible standards for all types of publications and documents, and even beyond that to leverage EPUB innovations as a springboard to improve the capabilities of web sites, web applications, and all types of digital content.
Those of us who have had the honor to serve as elected representatives to the IDPF Board will now turn our attention to helping to foster the new W3C Publishing Business Group. I hope you will join us, physically or online, for our kickoff meeting on March 13 in London.
We’ve gotten off to a great start on the “Aloha Spirit” with an unprecedented and historic member submission of EPUB 3.1 to W3C. Over 75 contributors to EPUB and its predecessor OEBPS have provided royalty-free (RF) patent grants as co-submitters with IDPF. These represent the vast majority of all the organizations that have ever contributed to EPUB. By standing with IDPF to keep EPUB free and open these contributors have generously set the stage to continue to evolve EPUB on a royalty-free basis in W3C, as well as to exploit EPUB capabilities to advance the overall Web platform for all types of content and experiences, including but definitely not limited to publishing, ebooks and long-form reading. I know I speak for the entire IDPF Board in giving a big “thank you” to all of you.
Unfortunately, I have to mention one more thing. One IDPF member organization chose to ignore the overwhelming decision of their fellow IDPF members and pursue multiple legal actions in an attempt to block the combination. The IDPF Board recognizes that we are here to serve the organization as a whole and that the desires of one company cannot be placed before the best interests of the organization as a whole. We believe that their newest legal actions are as entirely without merit as their previous one (which was dismissed).
We certainly will not let this distract us from the main tasks at hand: nurturing an expanded publishing community within W3C, expanding the adoption of EPUB 3, realizing a vision for fully Web-native portable web publications, and advancing W3C’s mission to lead the Web to its full potential for publishing. I hope you will join us as part of the new Publishing initiatives @W3C (http://w3.org/publishing
Thank you, and once again, Aloha!
President, IDPF Dec, 2009 – Jan, 2017
George Kerscher Ph.D.
-In our Information Age, access to information is a fundamental human right.
Chief Innovations Officer, DAISY Consortiumhttp://www.daisy.org
Senior Advisor, Global Literacy, Benetechhttp://www.benetech.org
Member of the National Museum and Library Services Board (IMLS)http://www.imls.gov
Chair Steering Council Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), a division of the W3Chttp://www.w3c.org/wai
Member, W3C Publishing Business Group Steering Committeehttp://www.w3c.org/publishing