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Speccing the Void:
Adventures in the Audiobook
Abyss
Wendy Reid, Rakuten Kobo
Let’s go back to the Fall of 2017...
The Content Problem
● Lack of a standard made investigations difficult
● Receiving content from 3 sources (who receive content from x more
sources) = weird inconsistencies
● Everyone has their own workflow
● Data problems!
○ Chapter durations mis-marked
○ Wrong files in track list
○ Incorrect Metadata
Nevertheless, we shipped it.
I join the PWG
PWG = Publishing Working
Group
The Future of Digital
Publishing
The Future of Digital Publishing
● PWG is focused on producing the Web Publications specification, a
model for publishing on the web
● Goals:
○ Bring publishing to the world of the modern web platform
○ Produce specifications for web publications, audiobooks, and any
other type of publication
The current state of the union
So what are we doing about it?
Step 1: What is an audiobook?
From the minutes of a meeting of the Audiobooks Taskforce on June 21,
2018:
“Agreed that is is important to define exactly what we mean by ‘audio book’?
Is it a pure (audio-only) book or read-along?”
“Saying ‘audio only’ is somewhat misleading since we really mean audio
PLUS various other metadata, etc. that comes with WP”
“I think we should be careful not to place too much emphasis on ‘simple’
audio books as even simple audio books have some complexities”
Step 2: Use Cases
Use Cases drive decisions on what
to include in a specification
A Use Case is a description of a
specific situation in which a
product or service could
potentially be used
Step 3: What will
the spec cover?
● Manifest
● Cover images
● Audio files
● Table of Contents
● Supplemental Content
● Packaging
Step 4: What won’t
the spec cover?
● DRM
● File Naming
● File Types
● Sync Media
● ONIX
Step 5: The Process
● Working Draft ← we’re here
● Candidate Recommendation
● Testing!
● Proposed Recommendation
● Recommendation
This is the workflow we are working towards.
But why?
Uniformity, consistency, accessibility
We are doing this
for:
● Publishers
● Retailers
● Distributors
● Content Creators
● Libraries
● Readers
Thank you for listening!
If you want to get involved, or have
questions, email me or tweet @wendy_a_reid
Check us out on GitHub!

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Speccing the Void: Adventures in the Audiobooks Abyss - Wendy Reid (Rakuten Kobo) - Tech Forum 2019

  • 1. Speccing the Void: Adventures in the Audiobook Abyss Wendy Reid, Rakuten Kobo
  • 2. Let’s go back to the Fall of 2017...
  • 3. The Content Problem ● Lack of a standard made investigations difficult ● Receiving content from 3 sources (who receive content from x more sources) = weird inconsistencies ● Everyone has their own workflow ● Data problems! ○ Chapter durations mis-marked ○ Wrong files in track list ○ Incorrect Metadata
  • 5. I join the PWG PWG = Publishing Working Group The Future of Digital Publishing
  • 6. The Future of Digital Publishing ● PWG is focused on producing the Web Publications specification, a model for publishing on the web ● Goals: ○ Bring publishing to the world of the modern web platform ○ Produce specifications for web publications, audiobooks, and any other type of publication
  • 7. The current state of the union
  • 8.
  • 9.
  • 10.
  • 11.
  • 12.
  • 13.
  • 14. So what are we doing about it?
  • 15. Step 1: What is an audiobook? From the minutes of a meeting of the Audiobooks Taskforce on June 21, 2018: “Agreed that is is important to define exactly what we mean by ‘audio book’? Is it a pure (audio-only) book or read-along?” “Saying ‘audio only’ is somewhat misleading since we really mean audio PLUS various other metadata, etc. that comes with WP” “I think we should be careful not to place too much emphasis on ‘simple’ audio books as even simple audio books have some complexities”
  • 16. Step 2: Use Cases Use Cases drive decisions on what to include in a specification A Use Case is a description of a specific situation in which a product or service could potentially be used
  • 17. Step 3: What will the spec cover? ● Manifest ● Cover images ● Audio files ● Table of Contents ● Supplemental Content ● Packaging
  • 18. Step 4: What won’t the spec cover? ● DRM ● File Naming ● File Types ● Sync Media ● ONIX
  • 19. Step 5: The Process ● Working Draft ← we’re here ● Candidate Recommendation ● Testing! ● Proposed Recommendation ● Recommendation
  • 20. This is the workflow we are working towards.
  • 22. We are doing this for: ● Publishers ● Retailers ● Distributors ● Content Creators ● Libraries ● Readers
  • 23. Thank you for listening! If you want to get involved, or have questions, email me or tweet @wendy_a_reid Check us out on GitHub!