Evolution of Publishing Semantics

Think you’ve finally got your bearings in the shifting world of publishing semantics? Well, get ready for another change. One of the things I’ve been working on over the last year is to help develop a specification that will bring many of the semantics defined in the EPUB Structural Semantics Vocabulary more directly into the HTML/accessibility world via integration with the ARIA role attribute.

A first draft of what is now called the Digital Publishing WAI-ARIA Module is available for review — but it’s still too early for use, so don’t rush out to use it after reading. What is being sought at this time is feedback, so I’m going to give a little rundown of it and its development for this post for anyone not familiar with its development.Continue Reading Evolution of Publishing Semantics

Semantically Structuring HTML

I don’t know what has me thinking about the use of the epub:type attribute to structure HTML markup today, except for the obvious sad fact that I like thinking about markup issues.

The attribute is increasingly being used to build a kind of semantic scaffolding to prop up the generic markup that is HTML — going beyond simple semantic inflection of structures into semantic markup models where there are required parent and child relationships.

It’s not a new idea, but can it succeed in EPUB?
Continue Reading Semantically Structuring HTML

Semantic Overload

So, does EPUB 3.0.1 adding both RDFa and Microdata attributes officially qualify it for semantic overload? Are there just too many ways to express semantics: epub:type, ARIA role, RDFa, microdata and even microformats can all be used.

The answer is probably yes and no, with any fault you might be inclined to find lying at the feet of the W3C where these things are ground out. One of HTML’s drawbacks has been the lack of a standardized way of expressing meaningful information about the structure and content of documents. It’s led to the current proliferation of mechanisms, each of which serves a useful function, but the sum of which invariably makes for confusion.
Continue Reading Semantic Overload