More readable digital book

I would like to create a digital book or report that includes all images, an index of people with links to them and footnotes/endnotes for sources that are also links so you can look at the source and go back to where you left off. I don’t think anything else would be readable or practical. A hover feature like Wikipedia has, showing the source when you hover over the superscript number would be great too. Completely leaving out missing data would also be great, rather than having half the sentence then blank or ___. I could accomplish all this with an html web page but that isn’t what I want. I know nothing about python but could edit if I knew where and how. I was originally doing this with OpenOffice/OpenLibre (to be converted to pdf upon completion) but the computer I had at that time couldn’t handle a document that large so I started from scratch building a database with gramps a few years ago with the hopes I could accomplish the same thing. Are there others out there that would find this useful? I’m using Gramps 5.1.2-1, Windows 10.

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I could accomplish what I want but it would require too much time formatting all the sources as links, etc. I don’t have a lot of photographs but do want to include images of the wills and some of the Quaker records or other ancient hand written documents. The original book I was working on looked very good and I hated to see all my time go to waste but Open Office kept crashing because it was too large for my system. I wouldn’t want to go back to that original document now with my newer computer because I’ve added too much to Gramps that wasn’t in that doc.

I use the Narrated Web. I do not post it to the internet but send it to cousins on a thumb drive. It is the most comprehensive display of all the information. Just because it is created as a web site, it does not mean that it has to be posted to the web.

It is totally clickable and in a format users are used to.


Thanks Dave. I’ll check that out. I haven’t looked at any of the web formats.

Has anyone experimented with EPUB? I have not; it is yet another thing about which I know very little. I was just wondering if it might be possible to create a simple(?) “package document” and a “navigation document” that leverage the files generated by the Narrated Web report, as a proof-of-concept for a new way of distributing such reports.

I spent some learning a little about EPUB. As someone who is not a web developer, I just wanted to attempt a proof-of-concept and learn a little bit along the way.

I used the tool Sigil (another option would be Calibre) to analyze some existing epub docs. Then I took the files from a sample Gramps web report, modified the href tags to use relative rather than absolute paths, and added a few, small additional files as specified by the W3C, and zipped it all up. (An epub file is simply a zip file containing

It “worked” as far as I was able to get a decent preview in Sigil, and the file opened in Apple Books without crashing. I could not get Google Books to accept it, and it wouldn’t tell me why. Of course, the Gramps web reports are designed to be viewed in a browser, not an e-reader. Some e-readers might support fixed layouts and scrolling, others might not; styles might need to be revised as well. It was beyond the scope of my experiment (as well as my abilities) to go any further.

So, getting back to the original request:

I think an epub publishing option would be a nice addition to Gramps, and I think it would best be achieved by designing new reports for that purpose.

Great idea George. My only question is, would this format become outdated? I have no idea, just wondering. pdf is here for the long haul, I’m sure. But epubs come in various formats and readers that they work with. It isn’t standardized at all. The recipient would have to have the correct tool to read it. Anyone can access a pdf reader and doesn’t have to depend on Adobe.

Yes. As I said in the beginning, before Gramps I was creating a “book” with Open Office and it got the to the point where it was crashing constantly and doing other strange things. But, it was shaping up to be my ideal format, a good table of contents, index and sources, all formatted as hyperlinks. I think this is needed in a document this size.

Oh, I didn’t realize I’d need to do anything special. When I developed my business website I just stored everything in a folder on C drive and clicking on any of my html page files opened them up in my browser.

Is PDF here for the long haul? Only if Adobe stops sabotaging it as a standard!

Although, it interesting that the PDFs we generate are pretty basic. They don’t embed XML categorization or source metadata… no thumbnail, no navigable table of contents. And we only recently started paying attention to the image DPI quality of reports written to PDF.

It’s a W3C specification (like HTML and XML) so I think it’s a safe bet. But, as you mentioned:

Yes, some ereaders have their own formats (I imagine there are conversion tool available), and even the ones that support EPUB may or may not support all of the features in the specification. For example, Apple Books doesn’t seem to support fixed dimensions (which I initially tried with the Gramps web calendar report output).

It wouldn’t be an option for everyone, but it would be another option. Another thing about epub is that a single document can include multiple renditions and be somewhat adaptable in that regard. (I did not experiment with that.)

As far as distributing it to cousins or others, since it’s just a zip file containing all of the web report files plus a few small additional files, it’s the same size as what people are already sending. And the recipient doesn’t need to unzip it.

You had also mentioned a desired feature:

I think most ereaders have a bookmark feature.

With the current resources we can already quite easily convert books from Gramps to epub. As follows:

  • Create a new book via ‘Books’.
  • Generate a book and save it as an ‘OpenDocument’ file (odt).
  • Open this file in LibreOffice Writer.
  • Export (File> Export) it as epub.
    It’s not perfect yet, a Gramps calendar looked nice in LibreOffice but not as an epub. But still, we can do more than we think. :slightly_smiling_face:
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