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Old 01-25-2020, 04:22 PM   #1
majurg
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Sigil for epub curation

Does Sigil make sense for ePub curation, were the original epubs are from various sources and of various formatting? My main goal is to have an ePub library with uniform metadata and preferably uniform formatting (with a newline between all paragraphs).

I do not care much about pictures or other things, basically I just want to make sure all ePub books are the same. This is more of a personal quirk, but it is important (I do the same manual curation for my personal iTunes library for example)

Also, maybe this is better served with a script of some sort. I am still unfamiliar with working with ePub formats, but perhaps there is a way to simply extract the text from some original ePub and then dump that text into a new, curated ePub file? Perhaps I will have to know these things regardless of working via sigil or scripting it via python or other lang.

Any help appreciated.
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Old 01-26-2020, 09:48 AM   #2
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In short - no-ish.

There are scripts that can make everything look the same. But "the same" doesn't mean it looks good. I'm not talking about stylistic choices, per se, but the number of different styles and formats that are put out there from various sources means that it would be almost impossible to determine how their particular brand of styling was being applied. You would need an AI to be able to make those kinds of decisions.

You will need to manually determine what each paragraph does.

I've been doing this for a few years now and every book requires me putting my hands on it to determine what kind of styling needs to be applied.

Once you have made that determination, it is fairly simple and straight forward to apply a consistent style via CSS style sheets to make all your titles, headers, paragraph openers, other special paragraphs, standard paragraphs, backmatter, and frontmatter pages look consistent between different books.
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Old 01-26-2020, 11:08 AM   #3
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the only possibility that comes to mind for uniform formatiing is firstly convert to text, or a rich text variant that removes pretty much everything
, then add a minimal set of styles that you can live with e.g. one for header, one for body text....
but that's going to destroy lots of nice features of a more complex book.

metadata . OTOH is pretty easy to scrape in and edit - there are tools for that in calibre.

just to force a blank line space between paragraphs could be done by using calibre's conversion and extra css features, but you do need some basic knowledge of syntax, and of how CSS actually works. Go read a CSS / HTML primer or two, and think on...
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Old 01-26-2020, 11:25 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stumped View Post
...

just to force a blank line space between paragraphs could be done by using calibre's conversion and extra css features...
I would highly recommend NOT putting a blank line between paragraphs. There is absolutely no need for it and it just bloats your code. Normally you can set that distance (as well as font size, indent, etc.) with any given reading app or device without having to change the CSS. If your app/device doesn't support that feature then you can simply add that style to the CSS as in:
Code:
p {margin-top:2em}
Quote:
Originally Posted by stumped View Post
but you do need some basic knowledge of syntax, and of how CSS actually works. Go read a CSS / HTML primer or two, and think on...
Exactly! The small amount of time spent learning basic CSS/HTML is well worth the effort. There are several tutorials here in MR's Wiki, and a good reference at W3School's CSS and W3School's HTML page.
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Old 01-26-2020, 12:02 PM   #5
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agree, i should have said if you want to create the appearance of a blank line.... but was trying to keep it simple, not knowing what terms the OP was familiar with.
margin-op: 2em; would be way to large for my tastes, but its subjective
setting martin top, or margin bottom to as low as 0.3em will introduce a visible gap between paragraphs

but then there's also scene breaks to consider....

theres a reason why some authors or publishers pay to have their books formatted by experts - its not as simple as whack in a blank line here & there
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Old 01-26-2020, 12:08 PM   #6
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I agree (and That is what I do for all my PERSONAL touch-ups)
Code:
margin: .5em 0 0 0 ;
I use a top margin, I avoid a bottom margin, as it can cause a blank last screen in some cases.
Code:
<p>Last line</p>
</body>
(If you have a bottom margin, it has to render before it hits the body end)
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Old 01-26-2020, 12:22 PM   #7
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good point about bottom margin. I had never thought that through.
on having all books be consistent, i once upon a time decided I wanted a 0.3em space between paragraphs and reworked a few hundred books...
a couple of e-reader device changes later I decided that actually I liked 0.1em better...
2nd redo
move on a year and I am thinking, actually, no space at all between paragraphs is what I like best....

whenever I dream of doing another global consistency project, I have to remind myself of that history

I think the devices you choose to read on play a big part in the aesthetic of making a book look " just right" on screen

0.3 looked ok on a basic Sony PRS, but as my devices got bigger, and my eyesight got poorer, it became more about minimizing page turns, for comfort.
So I began to shrink side margins, slash away top space above chapter headers, lose the between-paragraph spaces ... all of which could well horrify some other reader.
But I tweak copies books exclusively for my own reading, so no one else has to like my layout choices
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Old 01-26-2020, 12:25 PM   #8
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On the other hand ... there's no reason someone couldn't write their own Output plugin. I can't imagine the amount of work it would entail to take just about any epub as input and "homogenize" it into one's own personal standard. But the option is certainly there for the motivated individual.
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Old 01-26-2020, 05:05 PM   #9
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The problem with a script is that not all books use semantic markup; for example, instead of using h tags for headers they'll use p tags and style it to look like a header. And divs get used in situations that seem odd to me.
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Old 02-09-2020, 09:45 AM   #10
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The answer to your question:
Quote:
Does Sigil make sense for ePub curation
is yes. Because with Pageview you can easily remove all formatting (and images) by pasting as text. With Pageview you can also paste a figure as a link to an external source because EPUB is based on an HTML5 layout.

Because an EPUB can be created in all kinds of ways and can be converted in all kinds of ways, a script is an endless path of constantly finding and solving problems in the script. An EPUB conversion script therefore seems to me to be a salvation route.

Another option is to search and replace in the EPUB page to replace or remove the formatting codes. This can be done in Sigil itself or via an external HTML editor via copy and paste. However, that is very labor intensive and probably takes a multiple of the time to remove all formatting by a simple paste as text approach and manually enter the layout you want.

Because simple is the nicest and easiest solution, I advise you to put a layout you want in a CSS file. This offers you the opportunity to implement this throughout the EPUB with a modification to your CSS layout file. Small is beautiful, which is achievable in Sigil
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