Curated for content, computing, and digital experience professionals

Day: November 19, 2009

SDL XySoft Releases Significant New Version of SDL Contenta S1000D Software

SDL XySoft announced a new release of its SDL Contenta CSDB software designed to support the latest version of the S1000D specification, Issue 4.0. This new release manages multiple versions of the specification in one CSDB. This capability is meant to help eliminate the costly step of converting legacy S1000D data modules and is a tool for aerospace or defense programs that are required to maintain multiple versions of the specification at the same time. SDL Contenta S1000D is integrated with SDL’s publishing technology, which supports the generation and delivery of both Type 1 and Type 2 IETPs. The SDL Contenta S1000D 4.0 solution package comes complete with sample publication formatting styles and IETP skins. The new release of SDL Contenta S1000D also provides support for the new SCORM content package and Learning Data modules. SDL Contenta 4.0 also takes advantage of the new S1000D 4.0 data model/schema that makes it easier to author content, provides more intuitive XML tags, and adds more consistency and coherence to the specification. This added level of flexibility makes the S1000D specification an option to businesses outside of aerospace and defense, particularly in markets such as manufacturing, transportation and heavy machinery.

Canto Cumulus 8.1 to Ship in December

Canto announced the release of Canto Cumulus 8.1, built upon the Cumulus 8 system architecture first introduced last May. Among the new capabilities are a standalone version of the Cumulus Client, which is designed to enable users to create and work on local catalogs, connect to Cumulus Server catalogs, and update assets and metadata between the two. This was designed for traveling professionals to work with catalogs even when Internet access isn’t available. New report types include assets cataloged during a period, check-out “time spent” reports, asset inventories by format, and the ability to use search queries as the means for selecting report assets. Reports can now be saved to PDF format and automatically emailed. A new image comparison mode makes even subtle differences between images clear. Asset cataloging starts up faster, and a bulk editor offers users an “apply to all” option when adding metadata to cataloged assets. Users can create asset “placeholders” for assets in production, with the purpose of adding metadata and track production before an asset is ready to catalog. Sorting improvements can display the pages of PDFs, layouts, presentations etc. by page number, regardless of the primary sort field. A secondary sort order is now available, and algorithm changes speed sorting operations and ensure all field types sort as expected. Catalog back-up reports and system log (syslog) messages generated by Cumulus can each be emailed automatically. Added support for Microsoft’s Failover Cluster technology offers protection for Cumulus Servers running on Windows Server 2008. The Cumulus Web Client (formerly Internet Client Pro) has been updated for Cumulus 8.1. A retooling of Canto’s Web publishing technology is scheduled for release early next year. Cumulus 8.1 will be available for download the first week of December.

Are Publishers to Become Printers Again?

Look into almost any publisher’s history, and if it has a good number of decades behind it, chances are very good that you’ll see that the publisher was its own printer. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is but one example: it’s origin stems from the merger of publisher Ticknor & Fields and Riverside Press, an old Cambridge-based printer founded by Henry Oscar Houghton.

Today, of course, a lot of publishers typically use big printers such as Quebecor, RR Donnelley, or others. With the digital content streams getting under control among publishers of many stripes, together with the growing capability of production printing hardware and software, print on demand (POD) is already mainstream option. Witness Lightening Source.

A recently received press releaseannounced the planned acquisition of Océ, which provides high volume production printing platforms, by Canon, known for its consumer items like cameras and ink jet printers, but also for office equipment such as copiers and printers.

It turns out the Océ’s production printers are behind a good portion of the big POD services, and these machines are able to provide cost-effect alternatives to regular printing in many cases. As publishers seek to extract value out of backlists and custom books by digitizing the content and managing workflow, POD can enable them to produce runs too small for regular printing. But right-sized and right-cost POD can offer attractive margins when the digital content has been managed right.

It makes me wonder if publishers will take the POD in-house, given the relatively modest POD platform expenses, so that the publisher can capture a greater part of the margin on small press runs. Who knows? Maybe the separation of publishing and printing will turn out to have been a temporary anomaly.

With Kindle et al., it can be easy to get stuck on eBooks as the output, but with the right technologies addressed by the digital stream, what shouldn’t be overlooked is POD. PDQ, QED.

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