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GDL technical content import guidelines

The GDL will collect existing high quality open educational reading resources, and make them available on the web, mobile and for print. The platform will also facilitate translation and localization of these resources into more than 300 languages.

If your organization is developing reading resources in your project, you can contribute by submitting your content to the GDL. Content will only be published on the GDL platform after each title has been subject to quality assurance and proofreading.

The guidelines consist of six steps to consider before submitting your content onto the GDL platform. Each step is explained in greater detail later in the document:

  • Be sure that you own the rights to your content, or that the content is reused under a free license. This is important and goes for both texts and illustrations.
  • Be sure that the content complies with common accessibility guidelines for web content.
  • Be sure that the content complies with the GDL minimum standards for quality assurance
  • Release your content under a free license, like Creative Commons. This will allow others to reuse and translate your books into new languages.
  • Publish your books in EPUB or HTML format to ensure that the books can be imported onto the GDL platform.
  • Add basic metadata to your books. This will make it easier for others to find your resources.

1. Rights to your content, or reuse under a free license

The GDL core platform will hold digital copies of Creative Commons or otherwise openly licensed, publicly accessible materials. All content will be marked with the correct license, authors and illustrators. Be sure that you own the rights to your content, or that the content is reused under a free license.

The primary licenses for the GDL are CC BY and CC BY-SA. These licenses drive innovation and creativity, including commercial reuse. Furthermore, they strongly support the overall GDL-goal of sharing, translation and contextualization of early grade reading educational materials, open textbooks and open educational resources. The GDL project will also accept other CC licenses.

2. Accessibility guidelines

The GDL project will follow the principles of universal design and accessibility and will have a strong focus on making all content generally accessible, including for those with print disabilities, for example blindness or low vision, severe dyslexia or mobility impairment.

The GDL platform will be compliant to 52 of the 61 requirements in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The WCAG 2.0 Guidelines cover a wide range of recommendations for making web content more accessible. GDL will follow these guidelines to secure that the content is accessible for all users. By following these guidelines, one will also often make the web content more usable in general.

We ask all projects that develop content for the GDL platform to comply to common accessibility guidelines EPUB in addition to WCAG (for example EPUB Accessibility 1.0EPUB 3 Accessibility Guidelines and Top Tips for Creating Accessible EPUB3 Files).

3. Content quality assurance

The GDL quality assurance (QA) standards will serve as minimum criteria for accepting or rejecting various types of reading books submitted for upload to the GDL. Be sure that the quality assurance parameters used in your content development process align with the GDL minimum standards.

The two main content categories for the GDL are Classroom Materials and Library Materials, with different QA standards for the two categories.

For more information on GDL quality assurance standards.

4. Release the content under a free license

Be sure to publish your titles under a free license. Creative Commons has developed a cc toolkit for user-generated content platforms. This toolkit covers the elements for a basic Creative Commons platform integration, including aligning legal terms to CC tools, installing the CC license chooser, displaying CC licensed content with the correct logos and links and how to communicate CC to your users.

5. File formats

There are two preferred document and file formats for the different types of e-books and content (such as storybooks and textbooks), and other resources that are committed onto the GDL platform:

In addition, for print-ready versions of the content, we ask for documents in PDF format (PDF 1.4 – 1.7).

All text needs to be encoded in UTF-8. This includes both metadata and textual content.

6. Metadata

For GDL content, we have defined a common set of metadata. This will ensure quality and allow for the GDL platform to present resources with a consistent set of metadata. At the same time, it will make it easier and more predictable for projects that want to contribute by adding their resources to the GDL collection.

If all GDL content is described in a consistent and uniform manner, our searches will return more relevant results, and it will become easier for users to find the exact educational resources when they need them.

The Global Digital Library metadata is based on the LRMI Specification Version 1.1. In furtherance of its goal of interoperating with other specifications, the LRMI project has been inspired by other projects with similar visions.

Detailed information about required metadata can be found here: GDL Metadata

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