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Open Publication Distribution System v1.0

From: Ed Summers <ehs@pobox.com>
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 2010 12:11:55 -0400
Message-ID: <AANLkTimOeZwM7b_sVb2FPLgjXNooGt8rgLeSrjfehg6O@mail.gmail.com>
To: public-lld <public-lld@w3.org>
Just a quick note to announce that v1.0 of the Open Publication
Distribution System (OPDS) specification was released yesterday [1].
OPDS is a profile of the Atom Syndication Format (RFC 4287 [2]) that
allows ebook publishers to share URLs for ebooks and the metadata
about them.

If you are familiar already with Atom, OPDS basically provides some
new link relations that lets OPDS aware clients identify URLs where
ebooks can be downloaded from. While it doesn't specifically leverage
an RDF serialization, it is fundamentally about linking library-land
data on the web, and typed links at that, so I thought it might be
relevant here.

If you are curious, and find examples more useful than specifications,
take a look at the implementations at the Internet Archive [3],
FeedBooks [4], the Pragmatic Programmers [5], or an experimental view
on arXiv [6].


[1] http://opds-spec.org/blog/2010/08/29/opds-catalogs-v1/
[2] http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc4287
[3] http://bookserver.archive.org/catalog/
[4] http://www.feedbooks.com/catalog.atom
[5] http://pragprog.com/magazines.opds
[6] http://arxiv-opds.heroku.com/


The open ebook community and the Internet Archive are pleased to
announce the release of the first production version of the Open
Publication Distribution System (OPDS) Catalog format for digital
content.  OPDS Catalogs are an open standard designed to enable the
discovery of digital content from any location, on any device, and for
any application.

The specification is available at: http://opds-spec.org/specs/opds-catalog-1-0.

Based on the widely implemented Atom Syndication Format, OPDS Catalogs
have been developed since 2009 by a group of ebook developers,
publishers, librarians, and booksellers interested in providing a
lightweight, simple, and easy to use format for  developing catalogs
of digital books, magazines, and other content.

OPDS Catalogs are the first component of the Internet Archive’s
BookServer Project, a framework supporting open standards for
discovering, lending, and vending books and other digital content on
the web.

Brewster Kahle, digital librarian and founder of the Internet Archive,
says, “As the audience for digital books grows, we can evolve from an
environment of single devices connected to single sources, into a
distributed system where readers can find books across the Web to read
on whatever device they have.  OPDS Catalogs can help people find,
buy, or borrow books, in the same way we use an open system to find
Web sites, delivering the promise of a digital library to millions of
readers around the world.”

OPDS Catalogs, which are easily produced from simple descriptive
metadata, can be harvested by search engines and aggregated by online
retailers; their design supports independent reading systems,
bookstores, the development of portable bookshelves, and other
applications facilitating the use of digital materials.

The Internet Archive makes available over 1 million public domain
books in EPUB and PDF formats through OPDS Catalogs [opds].  IA’s
titles are made available by Kobo Books, Amazon, and other


For publishers, OPDS Catalogs offers new possibilities for digital
distribution and promotion.  “We’re excited to support the OPDS
standard,” said Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, a distributor of
over 18,000 ebooks for 8,000 independent authors and publishers around
the world.  “Our mission is to maximize the distribution opportunities
for our authors.  By supporting OPDS Catalogs, we make it easy for
multi-platform e-reading apps, devices and online bookstores to expose
our catalog to millions of readers.”

Dave Thomas, co-founder of Pragmatic Programmers, a leading publisher
of programming books, says: “The OPDS Catalogs specification is a
major step forward in opening up the distribution of electronic media
to a broader world—publishers and readers can interact directly via
the web and via reading devices to ensure that the most up-to-date
content is available in real time.”


OPDS Catalogs, derived from Lexcycle’s Stanza application, allow an
attractive presentation of book catalogs on mobile devices.
Well-known ebook expert Liza Daly, developer of the mobile reading
application, Ibis Reader, says, “We’ve been impressed by how quickly
OPDS Catalogs allow us to offer a collection of thousands of free and
public domain books.  Now that users have access to a wide range of
different reading systems, it’s critical that the industry move toward
broad distribution networks that mirror the web.”

The leading independent reading application for the Android operation
system, Aldiko, also uses OPDS Catalogs.  Aldiko co-founder Tiffany
Wong says: “OPDS Catalogs are a major step towards a truly open
ecosystem for ebook distribution, enabling more and more readers to
seamlessly connect with more and more content.”


For libraries of all sizes, OPDS Catalogs can permit library patrons
to access digital books and other materials without having to visit a
library website.  In a special report [pdf] released in July 2010 on
ebooks for public libraries, the Council of State Library Agencies
(COSLA) endorsed the exploration of OPDS Catalogs.  The leader of the
COSLA task force, Oregon State Librarian Jim Scheppke, writes: “State
librarians across the country have been looking for ways to improve
how library users discover and use library resources, especially
e-books. In Oregon, and in other states I’m sure, we look forward to
evaluating the potential of OPDS Catalogs as a basis for these

OPDS Catalogs can be used to make data from one site available to
others.  “There is clear demand for enhancing library catalogs around
the world with information about ebooks,” says George Oates, the
project lead for Open Library.  “We’re looking forward to using OPDS
Catalogs to help libraries supplement their own catalogs with ebook


References for the OPDS Catalogs specification and opportunities to
participate in the development of the Catalog project and upcoming
work are located on this website.

For additional information, please contact Peter Brantley at peter
[at] archive ORG, or Keith Fahlgren at keith [at] threepress ORG.
Received on Monday, 30 August 2010 16:12:27 UTC

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