Gov 2.0 Taskforce Report as an ePub

Peter Alexander - AGIMO
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This is just a quick post to let you know that the Government 2.0 Taskforce report is now available in ePub format, which can be read on a range of different devices including compatible e-book readers, tablet computers and smart phones. We’re releasing the ePub file on the AGIMO blog to start with, and may put it up on the Finance website as well (we’ll see how we go based on your feedback).

Putting out documents in ePub format is something my tech team has been talking about for a while, the idea being that in most cases when we publish documents we’ll already have a HTML version that can be converted to ePub fairly quickly. We thought the Government 2.0 Taskforce Report would be an excellent test case. Government 2.0 Taskforce Report ePub (305k) There are a few structural changes implemented here that we think make more sense for an e-book reader than in a regular HTML or PDF version of the publication, including:

  • Simplified styling, optimised for readability
  • Footnotes collated into end-notes

I’m interested in what you make of this. What do you think of the ePub version of the Taskforce report? Is this an appropriate format for these types of publications?  How do you expect to access ePub versions of government publications?  And a broader question: should government release documents in ePub or some other similar format? Further reading:


Comments (12)

I'm not sure I would read a government report in ePub format on a small screen like an iPhone, but I think certainly for people with larger e-book readers this could be useful. If the process is reasonably quick, then I think its worth running a trial for period of time with a range of reports to watch the up take (and review in light of the effort required to do this).

You probably need some boiler plate text to explain what the file format is and some pointers to ePub reading devices and software (the wikipedia page you linked to is a good start), particularly accessible e-book readers (I'm assuming you won't publish reports with DRM).

Tried to download directly from iPad.  Problem is safari browser doesn't recognize the format and there is no filesystem on iPad so can't download it and open with iBooks.  So basically the only way to get it directly into iPad is probably via iBook store.  
I'll try downloading on iMac and then load got my iBook store via iTunes then synchronize with iPad - but that's just to see if it works.  I doubt any iPad user would bother..
So that the apple proprietary lock-in for you... If you can't publish it ti iBook store then it's probably not going to be read by anyone with an iPad...

What do you think of the ePub version of the Taskforce report?
It works well.

How do you expect to access ePub versions of government publications?
As a download similar to PDF, but it might need a short instruction and pre-requisite about the software required to read it.

I use Stanza on an iTouch to read a number of books, magazines and other publications. I find it very convenient and saves a considerable amount of space and weight when travelling by plane, train or bus. I don't find the text size to bad at all. With the continued uptake of iPad and other eBook readers I think this format will become more common place. At the moment we still might be in the early adopters stage for this format, with most people still comfortable reading from the PDF format. That being said, I do think there is a place for certain publications on government web sites to be in an ePub format. at the moment though it can still be a little fiddly to get them direct to your device depending on the software you use and the type of reader device you have, eg iPhone, iPad, Android device, Kindle or Kobo ect.


We're observing a few bugs with the desktop (MacOSX) version of Stanza when opening the ePub:

- Starts at Chapter 5 (no previous contents accessible)
- Derives its table of contents from the heading structure, rather than the defined ToC
- Interprets Chapter 5 as the title of the unauthored publication

If you spot any oddities or niggles on other hardware/software combinations you may have access to, please let us know.

Thanks to the tip about Stanza tip, I was able to download the report without a hitch, and it is very readable on my iPad. So, for me the ePub version works well.

For other reports - I'd like the option of having them as ePubs for use on my iPad, but think we still need the PDF/RTF and/or html versions.

I have an Ipad, and I found it was great to be able to use this publication optimized for an Ipad. It would be good if the government could continue to migrate over to electronic forms of publication as a government wide policy.

What's an ePub. Can you speak English please.

I have an ipod touch, with ibooks installed on it. itunes is on a windows XP computer. Simply downloaded the file, connected the touch and dragged the file across into itunes. Simple quick and easy for those with some nouse, but I doubt if, say, my mother could do it..

Hi Is It Free? or do we have to pay for it on the e-book readers, tablet computers and smart phones

Andy [Moderator: Link Removed]

Most of the web team at National Archives use their own iPads at meetings instead of laptops PC's now. We enjoy having easy access to relevant documents in epub format. So we'd certainly like to see more agencies like AGIMO publishing in this format. Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

Downloaded the epub document on my Android phone and opened it in Laputa book reader without problem. I haven't read much of it yet but the text portion is very readable on the small phone screen. Great to be able to read up on Gov 2.0 in my occasional downtime.

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Last updated: 27 July 2016