Curated for content, computing, and digital experience professionals

Month: April 2010 (Page 2 of 2)

The Integration Question: How Much of a Barrier to Digital Publishing is the Lack of Interoperability among Publishers’ Various Line of Business Systems?

At The Gilbane Group’s Content Technologies and Strategies service, we’re wrestling with what we think is one of the biggest challenges facing publishers moving to greater and greater involvement in the digital marketplace: How much impediment is found in publishers’ having insular line-of-business systems throughout their publishing processes?

Digital publishing’s revenues have been growing—a common marker is the statistics in ebook sales growth—and more publishers of all sorts are strengthening their digital publishing efforts. For many, the problem comes down to whether the publisher can make publishing in various ebook formats (or online aggregation, or other models) pay.  It all comes down to how easy (read: cheap) it is to determine conditions like the rights associated with a publication, or part thereof, and how easy (read: cheap) it is to get the actual content into the right form. 

Here’s a simplified example, assuming an existing print textbook.  The textbook’s publisher will have to ascertain the status of and details for all seven publishing processes, from planning through to fulfillment, as follows:

  • Market for and P&L of digital versions
  • Form(s) and features of the digital textbooks
  • State of rights and royalties for the textbooks, including, in all likelihood, various contributors and components, and quite possibly licensing or subsidiary rights constraints
  • Location, condition, and availability of print edition production and/or manufacturing files
  • Design, conversion, and format output requirements of digital versions
  • Promotion and sales of digital versions
  • Distribution and/or fulfillment of digital textbooks

There is need for planning and editorial to work together to figure out if the digital publications make sense; planning, royalties, and licensing to work together to provide planning with these costs and to work with sales and accounting to meet contractual obligations; editorial, production, and quite likely manufacturing to work together on the specific forms of and source material for the digital versions; production and manufacturing to work together with sales, distribution, and fulfillment, along with marketing and promotion, to get actual digital textbooks out to the end-user or aggregator.

The publishing processes most often have a lot of separate systems and platforms in play, of course. Which means when it comes to extracting money out of print titles by publishing digital editions, there are plenty of places for expenses to become significant. 

Our upcoming report, A Blueprint for Book Publishing Transformation: Seven Essential Processes to Re-Invent Publishing, looks at, among other things, how these systems can work together, and already we are seeing a number of different strategies that make a lot of sense (read: cents).

We’ll be launching a Web-based survey for mid- and high-level book publishing professionals in about two weeks to gain a more detailed picture of the current state of digital publishing in fact, not theory.  As more and more content technology is applied to book publishing, we think that it is important to ask how well or poorly the different publishing processes can interoperate, and for that answer we need to hear from those doing the real work of publishing.

W3C Publishes XML Entity Definitions for Characters Recommendation

The Math Working Group has published a W3C Recommendation of  “XML Entity Definitions for Characters.” Notation and symbols have proved important for human communication, especially in scientific documents. Mathematics has grown in part because its notation continually changes toward being succinct and suggestive. On the Web, the majority of cases it is preferable to store characters directly as Unicode character data or as XML numeric character references. This document is the result of years of employing entity names on the Web. It presents a completed listing harmonizing the known uses of character entity names throughout the XML world and Unicode. Learn more about the Math Activity.

CustomDev Releases Zyke CMS

CustomDev has announced the availability of their open source web content management system, Zyke CMS. CustomDev has also set up a community forum, for Zyke development and support. Zyke is designed to be lightweight and have an “intuitive” interface for users of various technical skill levels.

Ian Truscott Joins Gilbane Group as Senior Analyst in UK

I am very happy to announce the addition of Ian Truscott to our team as a Gilbane Group Senior Analyst based in London. We have had customers in Europe for many years and have wanted to expand our business with a local presence, so Ian is an especially welcome addition. Ian’s focus will be on Web Content Management, which remains our largest area of consulting, and has become even more important with the increasing influence and activity of enterprise marketing in web content strategies and purchases.

Ian comes to us from Alterian, where he was VP, WCM Product Strategy. Alterian sells a platform that combines web content management, marketing campaign management and social media monitoring tools.

A little more on Ian from his summary on LinkedIn:
“… fifteen years of enterprise software experience, ten of which working with web content management. This experience has come as a CTO, in product marketing, product development, sales and consulting – from starting my career as a computer operator and UNIX administrator. A strong web content management pedigree, having focused on web technologies for the last ten years, working with some of the major vendors and pioneers in this area. During this time I have taken various products to market, engaging with a broad range of organisations (including McDonalds, Diageo, AstraZeneca, WWE and Glaxo) and large central government departments while living and working in the USA and UK. ”

You can reach Ian at:, or: +44 (0) 203 137 9600. Ian is an active Twitterer at @iantruscott. You can also meet Ian if you will be at our conference in San Francisco in May. You might even find Ian together with our Senior Analyst Scott Liewehr in the hotel pub amid a gaggle of other CMS industry insiders.

Welcome Ian!

(Disclosure: Alterian has been a Gilbane client, and in keeping with our strict vendor neutral policy and our ethics policy regarding clients, Alterian was fully supportive of Ian joining us, and Ian has sold all his shares in the company.)

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