Dictionaries and Glossaries Working Group

Matt Garrish edited this page Aug 5, 2015 · 3 revisions


Dictionaries, glossaries, thesauri, and similar works are ubiquitous published resources that users expect to have available in the EPUB3 ecosystem. The primary use of a dictionary or glossary from a user point of view is the ability to search for a term and quickly retrieve its definition or translation. Currently, EPUB has no mechanism for an author to mark up the needed semantic information to enable such reading system search features, making it impossible to publish a dictionary in EPUB that serves its primary purpose. While EPUB-based reading systems often bundle dictionaries with devices and offer a word lookup feature, this is achieved by storing the dictionary in a proprietary format and essentially treating it as part of the reading system software, rather than an independent publication.

The project seeks to define a declarative mechanism for the representation of dictionaries and glossaries in EPUB Publications.


The Dictionaries and Glossaries working group is operating under a charter granted by the IDPF membership.



The EPUB Dictionaries and Glossaries specification is currently a Proposed Specifications. Membership review is ongoing.

Future Milestones

The next, and final, projected milestone is publication of a Recommended Specification in the Fall of 2015.

Adoption Readiness Roadmap

An adoption readiness roadmap is available for review.



Spec Draft

Use Cases

Markup Discussions

Sample Dictionary Entries (HTML5 Markup)

Sample Dictionary Entries (Raw)

Proposed Additional Use Cases

  • To find a CJK ideographic character without knowing that character, Japanese users need text-entry search allowing input of one or more of the following:
    1. the number of strokes used to write the character
    2. radicals
    3. hiragana readings (kun yomi, or pronunciation of the character based on a native Japanese word),
    4. katakana readings (on yomi, or pronunciation based on the character's Chinese sound at time it was originally borrowed into Japanese)

Any additional use cases members wish to propose for consideration should be added / linked to here.



Teleconference calls are no longer being held.

Archived meeting minutes are available.

Face-to-Face Meetings

  • New York, USA - June 3, 2012 - Minutes



  • Jeff Alexander (Intangible Press)
  • Romain Deltour (DAISY) (from August 2013)
  • Dan Hughes (Liguori Publications) (until August 2012)

Working Group

  • Jeff Alexander (Intangible Press)
  • Dan Hughes (Liguori Publications)
  • Erin McKean (Invited Expert)
  • Karen Broome (Sony Electronics)
  • Yasuo Kida (Apple Inc.)
  • Romain Deltour (DAISY)
  • Luc Audrain (Hachette Livre)
  • Clément Wehrung (Gutenberg Technology)
  • Rubino Saccoccio (Invited Expert, Zanichelli)
  • Alonso Gabino (Larousse)
  • Bill Kasdorf (Apex CoVantage)
  • MURATA Makoto (JEPA)
  • Alex Brown (Harper Collins)
  • Robert Bolick (Invited Expert)
  • Neetu Kalu (Thomson Digital)
  • Ori Idan (Helicon Technologies)
  • Wolfgang Schindler (PONS)
  • David Ream (LevTech)


Anyone who belongs to a member organization of the IDPF may join the Working Group. For information on joining the IDPF, please refer to idpf.org.

Now that work on the specification has completed, new members are not being accepted.



Please direct general inquiries about the working group, such as how to join, to Markus Gylling (markus@idpf.org).

For general questions about the specification, such as how to create content that conforms to it, please use the IDPF forums.

Reporting Issues

The working group's preferred method for reporting bugs in the specification is the github issue tracker.

IDPF members may also raise issues on the EPUB working group's mailing list. Please use the prefix "[DICT]" at the start of your email subject line.

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