Updating the SFO Museum Wayfinding Service - EPUB (ebook) publications

This is a blog post by aaron cope that was published on July 10, 2023 . It was tagged wayfinding and epub.

This is a short blog post to announce that we have enabled support for generating publications of all the SFO Museum galleries and exhibitions and public art works from the San Francisco Arts Commission along a wayfinding route as EPUB documents. EPUB is a technical standard for publishing e-books that has been adopted by most electronic book devices on the market today.

The introduction of the EPUB format changes two things in the SFO Museum Wayfinding application:

  1. There’s now a menu option labeled EPUB when you request a new publication.
  2. You’ll receive an EPUB-formatted publication when you select it.

That’s it. EPUB publications have all the same images and maps and texts that are included in PDF publications and each one has a custom cover derived from the objects and exhibitions that you’d encounter along a wayfinding route. Most of the work to support EPUB publications was done behind the scenes to adapt the code we already used to produce one publication format (PDF files) to support two formats and, if that work was successful, make it easier and faster to support others in the future.

In the Updating the SFO Museum Wayfinding Service - Publications blog post I wrote:

The initial launch of publications only supports one format: PDF files. In the coming weeks we plan to add support for another: EPUB, a commonly used format for e-books. PDF files have broad support in all mobile and desktop computers and are familiar to most people. It’s also well-suited to printing since that is the heritage the format springs from. Some people have criticized PDF files because they are a less open format than others (like EPUB) and because they typically are designed for letter-sized pieces of paper that may not display well on mobile devices. This is one of the situations where everyone is right but we had to start somewhere and we chose to start with PDF files. The goal for these publications is to support as many different formats as people desire (and is practical to produce).

So this is our first step to address that challenge. We’d love to hear what other formats you think we should support.