Example - The Honeyed Tale

This page provides specific information regarding the EPUB variant used in "The Honeyed Tale".


The EPUB variant used by this book largely matches that described in EPUB 3 Best Practices, but there are some exceptions.

Note: The dc:rights entry in the metadata section says "This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike (CC BY-NC-SA) license." So (for example), we can make it available for field testing on our demonstration web server.

Because this is an EPUB 3.0 document, it has both a NAV file (newly defined in EPUB 3) and an NCX file (required for backward compatibility with EPUB 2). Both the Nav file (bk01-toc.html) and the navmap hierarchy in the NCX file (toc.ncx) cover the Chapter and Section levels.


Ruth Tait is a prolific artist, designer, and illustrator. Her multimedia offerings contain audio, text, and video content. Let's examine the EPUB archive for The Honeyed Tale: An Interrogative Poetic on Bees.

Directory Tree

The file tree contains about 100 files, a fifth of which (e.g., HTML) reside in the OEBPS directory (tsk). The document contains both audio with timed captions and video.

| META-INF/                # EPUB metadata
| | container.xml          # media type, paths (XML)
| | ...options.xml         # specified-fonts = true (XML)
| mimetype                 # "application/epub+zip"
| OEBPS/                   # Open eBook Publication Structure
| | audio/*.{mp3,ogv}      # audio content (MP3,OGV)
| | captions/*.vtt         # timed text tracks
| | content.opf            # Open Packaging Format (XML)
| | cover.xhtml            # cover page (HTML)
| | css/*.css              # Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
| | fonts/*.woff           # Compressed fonts (WOFF)
| | image/                 # raster and vector image files
| | | *.jpg                # JPEG raster images (12)
| | | *.png                # PNG raster images (2)
| | | *.svg                # JPEG vector images (36)
| THT-book_??.xhtml        # pages in book (22)
| | toc.ncx                # table of contents (XML)
| | toc.xhtml              # table of contents (XML)
| | video/*.{mp4,webm}     # video content (MP4, WebM)

Package Document

Per META-INF/container.xml, OEBPS/content.opf is our package document. This is a substantial file (140 lines), so here's another summary:

package       # prefix, unique-identifier, version, xmlns
| metadata    # xmlns:dc, xmlns:opf
| | dc:*      # creator, identifier, language, ...
| | meta      # property="dcterms:modified"
| | meta      # property="ibooks:specified-fonts"
| manifest    # list of files included in document
| | item      # id, href, media-type
| | ...
| spine       # toc="ncx"
| | itemref   # idref=cover
| | itemref   # idref=THT-book--01
| | ...
| guide
| | reference # href, title, type


The spine entry lists the enclosed content files, in the "normal" reading order. The toc attribute's value (ncx) tells us to look for toc.ncx, a file which contains EPUB 2 navigation hints and other metadata.


The guide entry lists only one reference:

  • The cover page (Cover) is "cover.html".

The manifest entry for item toc (in the OEBPS/content.opf file) indicates that it is the Nav file: properties="nav". toc.xhtml is an XHTML file, which guarantees some useful syntactic decorum (e.g., closing tags).

NCX file

The NCX Navigation Center eXtended file (toc.ncx) is included, as required for backward compatibility with EPUB 2.

Title Page

This wiki page is maintained by Rich Morin, an independent consultant specializing in software design, development, and documentation. Please feel free to email comments, inquiries, suggestions, etc!

Topic revision: r9 - 28 Oct 2016, RichMorin
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