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File Delivery Requirements for Publishers

This section outlines the requirements for publishers when providing files to NNELS.

If you're interested in depositing your digital books (ebooks or audiobooks) with NNELS for Canadians with print disabilties, contact support[at] with the Subject Line: Deliver files to NNELS.

  1. Metadata
  2. Filename
  3. File Transfer
  4. Minimal Accessibility Requirements
  5. Questions



NNELS accepts metadata for books in both MARC and ONIX formats:

  • ONIX 2.1 or ONIX 3 - reference/long form
  • MARC (.mrc or .mrk) and MARC XML

The inclusion of accessibility information in ONIX is highly recommended. ONIX Codelist 196 (e-publication accessibility details) allows publishers to identify those accessibility attributes that may be of importance to specific print-impaired readers.


In order to facilitate discovery and access to your content, NNELS requires that, at a minimum, you include the following fields in your metadata:

  • title of book
  • creator of book
  • publication details including name of publisher, location of publisher, date of publication
  • language of work
  • summary/abstract 
  • subject terms

The below fields are also highly recommended:

  • accessibility features
  • whether or not the author is Canadian
  • genre
  • audience (adult, juvenile, etc.)
  • literary format (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, etc.)

Note: All EPUBs submitted for distribution in NNELS should contain accessibility metadata, which indicates specific accessibility features, or lack thereof, in the file.


It is required that all submitted ebooks or audiobooks have a filename that contains both the title of the book and an identifier. The identifier is usually the book's ISBN. Please do not use punctuation in the filename, and use an underscore to separate words.

Example: My_best_friends_wedding_9781333653211.epub

File Transfer

You can deliver your files to the NNELS FTP. 

For large batches of content that include files from multiple publishers, please deliver your files with the following structure:




Minimal Accessibility Requirements

All EPUBs included for distribution in NNELS must meet the following minimal requirements:

  • No reading system accessibility options are disabled (no DRM):
    The enabling or disabling of accessibility features lies with content producers (for example, DRM restrictions). To meet the criteria, do not bundle or distribute your publications with restrictions on them that would disable access to the content by screen readers, etc. Note that provision of any significant part of the textual content as images (i.e. as pictures of text, rather than as text) inevitably prevents use of these accessibility options.

The following features are highly preferable, when applicable. For further details, refer to ONIX List 196 (e-publication accessibility details).

  •  Table of contents navigation
  •  Index navigation
  •  Reading order
  •  Short alternative descriptions (usually provided via alt attributes)
  •  Full alternative or long descriptions 
  •  Accessible math and chem content (i.e. through the use of MathML and ChemML)
  •  Print-equivalent page numbering (i.e. through the use of a Page List)
  •  Language tagging provided, including for non-English text (i.e. via the HTML or XML lang attribute)

Conformance with the requirements of EPUB Accessibility Spec 1.0 is highly desirable.


If you have questions about the above requirements, please contact support[at] with the Subject Line: Deliver files to NNELS.