First Flight

Now that Patrick, Rory and José have cracked some character encoding issues deep in the heart of EPrints, we have a test repository where we can

  1. Select items from a search results page
  2. Add the items to a “Shelf” (another EPrints plugin we are using)
  3. Export the contents of a Shelf in EPUB format.

It’s not pretty at the moment, so we will do some more work before putting it in a public demo repository for you all to play with. But it’s our first critical milestone, and it works, like this:

Anthologizr First Flight - Figure 1

Figure 1: With “Shelves” installed the Search Results page offers the option to Add the results to a pre-defined Shelf

Anthologizr First Flight - Figure 2

Figure 2: The “View Shelf” screen displays the user-defined shelf contents and the EPUB export option

When we select Export As EPub and click the Export button, Anthologizr immediately sends us an EPub file as a download for your browser to handle in whatever way it chooses. (If you have any problems downloading the EPub from that link, I have also created a ZIP file version.)

A number of issues leap out, and these are what we will deal with next:

  • The Shelves interface is pretty ugly, we can fix that with nice buttons
  • The Shelves “Add to shelves” tools only appear on Search Results pages – it would be nice if they appeared also on Browse Views
  • We have only tried it on the low-hanging fruit of HTML files in the repository, we need next to add support for image items included on a Shelf, and then see how far we get with PDFs

The EPub seems to function fine in Calibre, I haven’t tested it yet on iBooks or Kobo, but will do and report any issues. The online EPUB validator reports a few typical XML snafus that I am sure we can fix:

EPUB Validator results

EPUB Validator results

Other enhancements we need to make are:

  • Add cover pages including title page, table of contents and licensing information
  • Embed appropriate metadata (DC, etc)
  • Work out how to handle images embedded in HTML, assuming they are correctly deposited in EPrints as additional files with the HTML document
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