imageTwenty-one candidates are running for the eight open seat on the board of directors of the International Digital Publishing Forum.

The voting ends on midnight Thursday, with the results announced Friday.

Here’s the real news. Nicky Bogaty of Adobe Systems and George Kerscher of the Daisy Consortium, the two IDPF presidential candidates, have both pledged to speed up the standards-making process for ePub, which badly needs it. Read on for TeleRead’s detailed coverage of this important story.

Nick writes in his platform statement that “bugs needed to be fixed and clarifications to the specs need to be made as well as strategic thought as to how the next full version of the specification will push our industry forward.” He also says he will “ensure that active technical working groups begin again both on the EPUB specifications themselves and in other important areas our members are demanding, like distribution specifications.”

Meanwhile George is calling for “more more features, functions, and presentation options” within ePub. ”I believe that we must go beyond print books in functionality, using rich media, interactivity, and annotation capabilities in the products. I envision annotations to become independent products moving forward, i.e. selling of annotations to existing EPUBlications, which will be powerful tools in education and business.”

I see virtues in both position statements—including Nick’s strong interest in the long-delayed ePub logo, an issue that TeleRead has raised repeatedly—but I myself would tilt toward George. As I see it, ePub would move ahead more rapidly under him, to the benefit of many, including Adobe and rivals, which could make money with updated creation tools. Notice how specific George’s idea are?

Both Nick and George are exceedingly well qualified for the job, Nick even having been the past executive director of the IDPF and George having been in standards setting for eons. In addition, George is blind and is very aware of accessibility matters, which can affect people both with and without disabilities—for example, the details of e-book navigation and coordinating speech and text. I speak, then, out of practicality. With millions of baby boomers suffering sight impairments, George is the perfect man to make certain that the industry addresses their needs.

As for Steve Potash, current president of the board, he is not running for re-election to the presidential post but will run for reelection to the board. He has not mentioned publicly why he is not seeking re-election as president.

According to the election announcement, “If the successful candidate for President is one of the top seven vote-getters for Board seat, the next candidate with the highest number of votes will serve on the Board.” Both George and Nick are running for the board as well as the presidency.

Here is the complete list of other board candidates, followed by a few more thoughts on an ePub  logo and on additional matters:

The board has nine seats, of which one is occupied by Ken Brooks of Cengage Learning, who was elected in November 2008 for a two-year term that doesn’t expire until 010.

As for more thoughts on the logo and other topics, the current word is that there will be a logo and logo contest in the first few months of 2010, and I’m hoping for it to happen as opposed to more delays.

The IDPF has an able executive director, Mike Smith, and I don’t think he’s the main reason why the logo has taken years to happen. The real problem is a shortage of resources. Mike is essentially a one-man operation.

Perhaps the IDPF should seek grants from large foundations—one way to create greater independence from individual vendors, especially on issues such as e-book standards.

I want to see players of all sizes participate in standards creation, but for the process to happen in a truly neutral way. And more quickly, too.

Hello, Carnegie, Mellon, Ford and MacArthur Foundations. This is really your territory. Help the IDPF, while avoiding micromanagement and excessive paperwork!

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  1. Wow, quite a list of well-qualified candidates! Over half of the candidates I know well and would make excellent directors. For the President, both Nick and George are excellent candidates.

    This will be a difficult decision for many of the IDPF members with such an esteemed list of candidates.

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