Summary

Providing lists of key content, like tables, illustrations and video, allows readers to more easily return to these items later.

Techniques

Examples

Example 1 — List of Illustrations
<nav epub:type="loi">
<h2>List of Figures</h2>
<ol>
  <li>
	<a href="s01.xhtml#fig1">Figure 1 — Gaseous anomalies</a>
  </li>
  …
</ol>
</nav>
Example 2 — List of Video
<nav epub:type="lov">
<h2>List of Video</h2>
<ol>
  …
  <li>
	<a href="s04.xhtml#vid04-1">4.1 — Cell mitosis</a>
  </li>
  …
</nav>

Frequently Asked Questions

Should content lists be included in the EPUB navigation document?

Only if the navigation document is included in the spine.

Although these lists are an ideal for the navigation document, EPUB reading systems typically only provide access to the table of contents and sometimes the page list. This is true despite the EPUB specification requiring that there be some way to access all the content of the navigation document. Consequently, readers will not be able to access the lists when the navigation document is not in the spine.

Do I need to use the epub:type attribute?

Only if the lists are included in the navigation document. These values can help a reading system determine the purpose of the list, although there is no known use of them at this time. Only the toc, pagelist and landmarks values are typically ever recognized.

Explanation

Print publications have long included lists of figures, tables and illustrations as a way to quickly relocate this information. Readers often skip this information when reading the primary narrative in order not to lose their train of thought, only returning to it after completing the work or the chapter that contained the item.

Visual readers have an advantage in being able to quickly visually skim for such content, but relocating this content can be time consuming and challenging for those using assistive technologies or who have cognitive difficulties.

When creating a content list, use the HTML nav element and provide a meaningful title for the list. Also, ensure that each entry in the list meaningfully describes the content that is linked to (e.g., do not use simple labels like "Figure 1" without any further context).

Digital publications are not limited to lists of traditional two-dimensional content as are found in print. Lists of audio, video and interactive content can also be included when a publication contains this type of content.

References