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Publication Standards of Digital Print

The following file formats are standard within the digital print industry:

Portable Document Format (PDF)

  • Developed as a closed standard document type, with a fixed, flattened layer that includes all text, graphics, and the structure needed to display them. Adobe released PDF as an open source file format in 2008.

  • PDFs contain internal security features to protect commercial work.

Extensible Markup Language (XML)

  • XML is a file format that allows users to define the structure and characteristics of HTML tags, which were previously static.

  • DocBook – an early XML template created in 1991 that is still used, but is no longer developed or improved.

  • Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) – a robust XML template that is currently the standard for publishing with XML.

  • DITA Open Toolkit – a set of open source tools that can be used for conversion, customization, specialization, and transformation of web-based documents. DITA uses domain-specific markup vocabularies to define the XML Architecture standards within a document, allowing content alteration and reuse by authors.

  • Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Systems (OASIS) sets the standards for XML and DITA.

Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML)

  • SGML coding defines each individual element of a document (title, headings, etc.) to ensure consistency when reading across platforms.

  • The incorporation of Document Type Definition (DTD) makes this format too complex for most average documents. DTD provides an extra layer of rules for structured elements, a set of markup definitions that are not required in XML.

Electronic Publication (EPUB)

  • EPUB was developed in 2007, containing HTML, XML, and CSS markup language packaged in a ZIP file.

Open eBook Publication Structure (OEBPS)

  • OEBPS incorporates XHTML, CSS, Dublin Core, and Unicode.

  • The package incorporates XHTML and re-flowable XML structure into a single ZIP file.

  • The file contains a local folder for images, metadata, a table of contents, and the XHTML text content.

  • The file format was created and is maintained by the International Digital Publication Forum (IDPF), previously known as the Open eBook Forum until 2005.

Open Reader

  • Open Reader format is a single, compressed, archivable file containing XML and CSS.

  • A user has control over the type, margins, leading, and character spacing of the document.

Open Berg

  • Open Berg markup contains a Mozilla codebase.

  • Files are specifically programmed to be compatible with Firefox.

LaTeX (pronounced “Lay-tech” or “Lah-tech”)

  • LaTeX is the current mathematical and scientific web publishing standard.

  • An internal typesetting system creates plain text files with commands to format scientific formulas, equations, and complex notations.

  • The format is content-only and has no design capabilities.

Entry by Storm B. Stuart