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Old 06-06-2009, 12:51 PM   #1
jamesbeat
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Best 'archive' format?

I'm getting pretty tired of having several different types of book file.

I have a PRS 505 and I'm using calibre, so I'm using the LRF format at the moment.
I'd like to convert all of my books to one format with proper tags and be done with it, but I'm having trouble deciding which one to settle on out of the plethora available.

I'd like to know which is the most 'future proof' of the formats, ie I want to settle on a format that keeps as much information as possible, so if I have to convert to another format at a later date, I won't lose anything in the way of formatting or cover art.

For instance, I've converted a load of PDF's into LRF's. I have sorted through and meticulously tagged them all.
Am I now ok to delete the PDF's, safe in the knowledge that if a new standard comes out, I'll be able to convert my LRF's to it without losing formatting, cover art and meta information?

Last edited by jamesbeat; 06-06-2009 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 06-06-2009, 01:11 PM   #2
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I'd use ePUB because:

a) It's an open standard, publishers and vendors are adopting it and it's actively maintained.

b) I supports almost all the formatting one would probably need, since it's just XHTML+CSS under the hood (and this, besides, makes it human-readable and easily editable).

c) Being XHTML+CSS makes it also quite future-proof.
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Old 06-06-2009, 01:12 PM   #3
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The best archive format is ePub. It is the richest of the commonly available reflowable formats, and is starting to be available on dedicated reading devices beyond the Sony Readers. LRF is a dead end, because it is never gong to be popular beyond the Sony's.

However, I'm not sure I would delete the originals. This is because conversion to ePub may improve over time. I would expect MOBI to ePub and LIT to ePub to perhaps already be optimal (although I am not certain this is the case), but existing PDF to ePub conversion probably can be improved on. On the other hand, if you manually update the ePubs then they can be better than the originals. I don't know how well LRF to ePub conversion works.
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Old 06-06-2009, 02:47 PM   #4
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The BEST archive format is caringly and manually prepared XML that encodes all relevant semantic and (where unique and significant) visual information about the source document.

That's (see here: Nationally Adopted XML eBook Format) what Hungary's National Széchényi Library seems to have already done with about a 10th of their 7000+ eBooks.

Short of that (and let's be serious--even I'm not crazy enough to put this much effort into 99.9% of my eBooks), ePub is the next best thing.

The weak link in archiving with ePub though is the conversion process. Check the source file, check the converted ePub, and if there are any mistakes or errors that cannot be fixed without the source file, you better address them manually. Even then, do not throw away the source file unless you are resigned to kicking yourself on account of having permanently degraded/lost information for 1 file out of 10 or 100. And, of course, it's not even the statistics of it that matters... but rather your personal valuation of the one book that came out a little worse. If it's your favourite book, and has since become generally unavailable as an eBook... you will have much reason to fume.

So, another vote for ePub + keeping the originals.

- Ahi
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Old 06-06-2009, 05:01 PM   #5
jamesbeat
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Epub it is then!

I wanted to 'standardise' my collection by only having one format, but I see the need to keep my motley collection of txt, html, pdf, lit etc.

For some reson, Calibre only gives me the option to save to disk (ie loads of folders), save to disk in a single directory (a nightmare of assorted files) or save only LRF fromat to disk.

I wonder why it doesn't have an option to save only epub or mobi to disk?
I'd like to be able to convert them all to epub and dump them into a folder, and keep a separate folder full of my originals as backup.

The only way I can think to do this is to convert them all to epub, dump the lot into a folder, arrange files by type, and delete everything that isn't epub, but that seems a very roundabout way of doing it.

Last edited by jamesbeat; 06-06-2009 at 05:03 PM.
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