Using Q tags in ePub documents

Recently I’ve been making great progress on my ePub converter but in the process I’ve come across a few areas that have needed some thought. For this short article I’m going to discuss the XHTML Quote tag.

When looking though the IDPF OPS specs I noticed that <q> tags are allowed within ePub documents. As I mark up all quotes in my master TEI documents with a <q> tag I was really happy to see this. However, when I came to test my files in Adobe Digital Editions none of my quotes showed.

After seaching around the net I also noticed that <q> tags are not supported by all web browsers (i.e. Internet Explorer). Liza Daly has also noted that the HTML 5.0 specs will depreciate Q tags – will a version of XHTML follow suite in the future? Will a future IDPF OPS spec implement that future XHTML spec?

(FYI, Liza mentioned that she is currently working on implementing <q> tags in her Bookworm reader, with a work around for IE.)

This is an area which I believe ePub developers should give some serious thought over. Even if Adobe DE go ahead and implement this feature, other readers may not necessarily follow suite.

For my own project I have decided to convert all my <q> tags into regular “quote” characters. Providing more safety both now and in the long term.

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2 thoughts on “Using Q tags in ePub documents”

  1. Maybe keep separate “source” and “generated” versions of the book, the former having tags and the latter not? Then you could generate both American and British-style quotation marks at will :-).

  2. I agree Marshall, marking up the master with Q tags in place is definitely the way to go. I am certainly glad I chose to use TEI as my master format.

    I am also hoping to produce books in other languages so I can utilise the language id to output quotes appropriate to the country.

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