Validate your OPDS feeds online

Benoît Larroque (from Feedbooks) recently released a major update for his OPDS validator:

This is a major step forward for the OPDS ecosystem since this validator not only includes the Relax NG validation that was previously released, but also check various requirements extracted from the 1.1 specification.

I highly recommend anyone with an OPDS catalog in production or in development to check their feeds with the validator to ensure their full compliance with the OPDS 1.1 specification.

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Announcing OPDS v1.1

The open eBook community, the Internet Archive, and Feedbooks are delighted to announce the latest revision of the Open Publication Distribution System (OPDS) to version 1.1.  OPDS is a lightweight open standard used to create catalogs that enable the aggregation, distribution, and discovery of books, journals, and other material by any user, from any source, in any digital format, and on any device.

OPDS Catalogs is a component of the Internet Archive’s BookServer Project, a framework supporting open standards for discovering, lending, and selling books and other digital content on the web.

The new OPDS 1.1 release significantly enhances the usability of OPDS catalogs by supporting faceted search and browsing for easier navigation, and indirect acquisition for better handling of payments, content bundling, and content protection schemes.  A list of the enhancements from v1.0 is available at the OPDS changelog.

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OPDS Catalogs changelog (1.0 to 1.1)

OPDS 1.1 introduces key new features like faceted search/browsing & indirect acquisition. Here's the full changelog:
  • support for facets (Spec)
  • support for indirect acquisition (Spec #1Spec #2Spec #3)
  • recommendations for advanced search (Spec)
  • new rel value for recommendations (Spec)
  • new media parameter to identify navigation/acquisition feeds (Spec)
  • updated Relax NG Schema (Spec)

For a quick introduction to these new features, you can read the following posts:

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Understanding Acquisition Links

OPDS is all about links: that's how we define where a user can browse, search and acquire publications.

Every publication available in an OPDS catalog is required to have at least one acquisition link with:

  • a rel attribute, which indicates the type of acquisition that a client can expect
  • a type attribute, which indicates the format of the publication

The following rel values are available:

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Posted in Documentation, Features, OPDS | 1 Response

OPDS 1.1 – Call for Comments

On behalf of the OPDS community, I am thrilled to announce that the draft OPDS 1.1 specification of the BookServer OPDS Catalog is available for review.

We are soliciting feedback and comments on this version 1.1 draft.

Please submit all critiques or comments to the OPDS mailing list by Monday, 27 June 2011.

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Creating a better OPDS Catalog Root

With more and more tablets available, OPDS clients and catalogs need to evolve and provide a better looking presentation of their catalogs that can fill a 7" to 10" screen.

The current crop of OPDS clients on smartphones rely entirely on a navigation based on a series of links (Navigation Feeds) and publications  (Acquisition Feeds).

On a larger device, there's room for a little more creativity though and using link relations from the OPDS specification along with feed-level links, it is already possible to create an experience as rich as any other tablet application.

Let's take an example: the Android Market application on Android 3.x.

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Posted in Documentation, Features, OPDS | 1 Response

Faceted Search & Browsing

The OPDS 1.1 specification introduces a few key features, but from a user perspective, faceted browsing is the major difference with OPDS 1.0.

Facets play a key role in how we navigate on websites with a large set of items to browse, for example:

While navigation in OPDS 1.0 is limited to a series of navigation feeds (which act like the equivalent of the main menu of a website), with OPDS 1.1 any catalog and client can now offer a much richer navigation model using facets.

Let's see how we support this…

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Posted in Documentation, Features, OPDS | 3 Responses

OPDS 1.1 Announcement

The next revision for OPDS (1.1) will be released this summer and support new features such as faceted search/browsing and indirect acquisition.

If you'd like to participate, join the OPDS mailing list at

Calls are also scheduled and announced on the mailing list on a regular basis. Meeting notes are available on our wiki:

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OPDS Primer

Hadrien Gardeur, of Feedbooks, has written an excellent introductory primer to OPDS Catalogs v1.0, available in both English and French.

On the Feedbooks site.

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BookServer OPDS in Libraries

In July 2010, The Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) released a report [pdf] on recommendations for ebooks in public libraries.  The COSLA report endorsed the exploration of BookServer OPDS Catalogs to enhance the discoverability of ebooks held by libraries.  The report suggests that coordinated aggregation by search engines would facilitate library patrons finding electronic books to borrow and read more easily.

With the permission of COSLA, I have excerpted the use case ("Scenario Two") that was included in the full report, as an excellent and simple introduction to the promise of OPDS Catalogs in libraries.

COSLA2270 Book Server [Extract from Final Report]

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