The epub:type attribute provides 5 values for the content of an e-book: volume, part, chapter, subchapter and division. I wonder which one is best to use in books which are composed entirely of independent tales or poems.


Excellent question, and kudos for thinking about the semantics! It's depressing how few people do this.

The best resource for epub:type is the Strucutral Semantics Vocabulary from the IDPF. In the "Document Divisions" section, they detail what these divisions are used for:

volume: A component of a collection.

part: A major structural division of a piece of writing, typically encapsulating a set of related chapters.

chapter: A major structural division of a piece of writing.

subchapter: A major sub-division of a chapter.

division: A major structural division that may also appear as a substructure of a part (esp. in legislation).

Each of these divisions should apply to either a <section> or a <body> element.

For your case of independent tales and poems, I think we can probably rule out sub-chapter, unless some of your tales are long enough that they have sections within them that are distinct enough to warrant new levels of headers. My inclination would be to use chapter for each item, and potentially part if you have relevant content groupings, eg all the tales in one section and all the poems in another. Division seems to be a division that is larger than a chapter but smaller than a part, and volume would be a whole new book. The Lord of the Rings, for example, would be three volumes (one for each book), each comprising 2 parts themselves made up of a number of chapters.

It should be noted that at present, there are few devices that make use of epub:type tags at all, and none that I'm aware of that use the document divisions. Adding in the semantics now means that when a reading system does come out that makes use of this information, you'll already be set though, which is nice.

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