Category: Multi-channel publishing (page 2 of 4)

Understanding the Smart Content Technology Landscape

If you have been following recent XML Technologies blog entries, you will notice we have been talking a lot lately about XML Smart Content, what it is and the benefits it can bring to an organization. These include flexible, dynamic assembly for delivery to different audiences, search optimization to improve customer experience, and improvements for distributed collaboration. Great targets to aim for, but you may ask are we ready to pursue these opportunities? It might help to better understand the technology landscape involved in creating and delivering smart content.

The figure below illustrates the technology landscape for smart content. At the center are fundamental XML technologies for creating modular content, managing it as discrete chunks (with or without a formal content management system), and publishing it in an organized fashion. These are the basic technologies for “one source, one output” applications, sometimes referred to as Single Source Publishing (SSP) systems.

Smart Content landscape

Smart Content Landscape

The innermost ring contains capabilities that are needed even when using a dedicated word processor or layout tool, including editing, rendering, and some limited content storage capabilities. In the middle ring are the technologies that enable single-sourcing content components for reuse in multiple outputs. They include a more robust content management environment, often with workflow management tools, as well as multi-channel formatting and delivery capabilities and structured editing tools. The outermost ring includes the technologies for smart content applications, which are described below in more detail.

It is good to note that smart content solutions rely on structured editing, component management, and multi-channel delivery as foundational capabilities, augmented with content enrichment, topic component assembly, and social publishing capabilities across a distributed network. Descriptions of the additional capabilities needed for smart content applications follow.

Content Enrichment / Metadata Management: Once a descriptive metadata taxonomy is created or adopted, its use for content enrichment will depend on tools for analyzing and/or applying the metadata. These can be manual dialogs, automated scripts and crawlers, or a combination of approaches. Automated scripts can be created to interrogate the content to determine what it is about and to extract key information for use as metadata. Automated tools are efficient and scalable, but generally do not apply metadata with the same accuracy as manual processes. Manual processes, while ensuring better enrichment, are labor intensive and not scalable for large volumes of content. A combination of manual and automated processes and tools is the most likely approach in a smart content environment. Taxonomies may be extensible over time and can require administrative tools for editorial control and term management.

Component Discovery / Assembly: Once data has been enriched, tools for searching and selecting content based on the enrichment criteria will enable more precise discovery and access. Search mechanisms can use metadata to improve search results compared to full text searching. Information architects and organizers of content can use smart searching to discover what content exists, and what still needs to be developed to proactively manage and curate the content. These same discovery and searching capabilities can be used to automatically create delivery maps and dynamically assemble content organized using them.

Distributed Collaboration / Social Publishing: Componentized information lends itself to a more granular update and maintenance process, enabling several users to simultaneously access topics that may appear in a single deliverable form to reduce schedules. Subject matter experts, both remote and local, may be included in review and content creation processes at key steps. Users of the information may want to “self-organize” the content of greatest interest to them, and even augment or comment upon specific topics. A distributed social publishing capability will enable a broader range of contributors to participate in the creation, review and updating of content in new ways.

Federated Content Management / Access: Smart content solutions can integrate content without duplicating it in multiple places, rather accessing it across the network in the original storage repository. This federated content approach requires the repositories to have integration capabilities to access content stored in other systems, platforms, and environments. A federated system architecture will rely on interoperability standards (such as CMIS), system agnostic expressions of data models (such as XML Schemas), and a robust network infrastructure (such as the Internet).

These capabilities address a broader range of business activity and, therefore, fulfill more business requirements than single-source content solutions. Assessing your ability to implement these capabilities is essential in evaluating your organizations readiness for a smart content solution.

Why Aren’t Publishers Moving to XML Repositories More Quickly?

As we start to delve into some of the interim results of our survey of book publishing professionals, there is a great deal of good data to mull over. While the results are preliminary (and we welcome your participation here), some trends are emerging.

One interesting set of data points surround how publishers are viewing XML, how extensively they work with it, and what technologies they are using to support the management of the XML. Among those using XML, it’s significant that only about half have invested in some kind of storage mechanism specifically for XML, including both relational databases and dedicated XML repositories such as Mark Logic server.

While that overall number might or might not be so striking, I am struck by what some publishers feel is a barrier to adopting an XML repository, namely, the “Challenge of building XML knowledge, skills, or awareness.”  This trumped more traditional barriers to technology adoption such as cost and the maturity of the technology and would seem, on balance, to be a solvable problem.


WoodWing Releases Enterprise 7 Publishing System

WoodWing has released its Enterprise 7 Publishing System. Enterprise 7 comes with improvements for magazine, newspaper, book and corporate publishers. The Enterprise 7 publishing system is being backed by new versions of Content Station – WoodWing’s multichannel publishing tool for content producers – and the Smart Connection plug-ins for Adobe InDesign and InCopy. Focus for the version 7 release has been on new Search 2.0 functionality, refinement of cross-media and social media publishing, as well as usability improvements and extended platform support. Enterprise’s out-of-the-box integration with the Drupal open-source Web CMS has been enhanced, and additional integrations have been developed to make publishing to social media networks, such as Twitter, Facebook and Flickr easy and efficient. Many other integrations exist. Users of Content Station 7 now also have access to Search 2.0 options. When running a search, results are classified. Parallel workflow is being supported by updated versions of the Smart Connection Plug-ins, providing a streamlined integration with Adobe InDesign and InCopy. Designers and editors have direct access to content in the Enterprise repository from within their Adobe applications. Supported by workflow options, users can work simultaneously on layout and text, and communicate using sticky notes and comments. In the background, Enterprise keeps track of versions and takes care of production security. Enterprise 7 is ready to support all latest platforms, including Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7, Mac OS 10.6 “Snow Leopard” and Adobe CS4. The memory footprint of Enterprise has been reduced and the server performance has increased.

Digital Platforms and Technologies for Publishers: Implementations Beyond “eBook”

We are very happy to announce that we’ve published our new report, Digital Platforms and Technologies for Publishers: Implementations Beyond “eBook.” The 142 page report is available at no charge for download here.

From the Introduction:

Much has changed since we decided to write a comprehensive study on the digital book publishing industry. The landscape has changed rapidly during the past months and we have tried to reflect as many of these changes as possible in the final version of our report. For example:

  • Sales of eBooks finally reached their inflection point in late 2008.
  • Customer acceptance of digital reading platforms such including dedicated reading devices like the Kindle and the Sony Reader and mobile devices like the iPhone and the BlackBerry have helped accelerate the market for digital products.
  • The Google settlement, once finally approved by the courts, will substantially increase the supply of titles available in digital formats.
  • New publishing technologies and planning processes are enabling publishers and authors to create digital products that have their own set of features that take full advantage of the digital media and platforms. Embedded context-sensitive search and the incorporation of rich media are two important examples.
  • Readers are self-organizing into reading communities and sharing their critiques and suggestions about which books their fellow readers should consider. This is creating a major new channel for authors and publishers to exploit.
  • Print-on-demand and short-run printing continue to make significant advances in quality and their costs per unit are dropping. These developments are changing the economics of publishing and are enabling publishers to publish books that would have been too risky in the previous economic model.
  • Lower publishing and channel costs are making it possible for publishers to offer their digital titles at lower prices. This represents greater value for readers and fair compensation for all stakeholders in the publishing enterprise.

We are privileged to report such a fine collection of best practices. And we are thankful that so many smart people were willing to share their perspectives and vision with us and our readers. We thank our sponsors for their ardent and patient support and hope that the final product will prove worth the many hours that went into its preparation.

We encourage readers of this report to contact us with their feedback and questions. We will be pleased to respond and try to help you find solutions to your own digital publishing challenges!

DPCI Announces Partnership with Mark Logic to Deliver XML-Based Content Publishing Solutions

DPCI, a provider of integrated technology solutions for organizations that need to publish content to Web, print, and mobile channels, announced that it has partnered with Mark Logic Corporation to deliver XML-based content publishing solutions. The company’s product, MarkLogic Server, allows customers to store, manage, search, and dynamically deliver content. Addressing the growing need for XML-based content management systems, DPCI and Mark Logic have been collaborating on several projects including one that required integration with Amazon’s Kindle reading device. Built specifically for content, MarkLogic Server provides a single solution for search and content delivery that allows customers to build digital content products: rrom task-sensitive online content delivery applications that place content in users’ workflows to digital asset distribution systems that automate content delivery; from custom publishing applications that maximize content re-use and repurposing to content assembly solutions to integrate content.,

Multi-channel Publishing: Can anyone do it?

By David Lipsey, Managing Director, Entertainment & Media, FTI

Can anyone deliver customized content to its customers – in print, on the Web in rich applications, in social networking or to wireless media? To make matters more challenging, what if your customers are two-to-five year olds? Well, Sesame Workshop recently had to address this test to keep its brand relevant to precocious preschoolers. In fact, this non-profit organization behind Sesame Street took the bold view that multi-channel publishing is the future of the Workshop, and recognized that online will become its primary channel of distribution down the line. At the upcoming Gilbane Boston Conference (link to information on session), I will moderate a panel of multi-channel publishing experts, including the VP charged with Sesame Workshop’s internet initiative. We will provide you with the latest in content delivery, opportunities to serve more users and more applications, and insights to show that yes, almost anyone can do it. Please join me, Joe Bachana from DPCI (an industry leader in his own right) and the ever-innovative O’Reilly Press for a didactic and enlightening discussion that will get you mulling over ideas for enhancing your brand experience for customers.

Environment Concerns Hasten Digital Edition Adoption in B-to-B Publishing

Today I got one of those phone calls: someone from a call center representing a trade magazine, asking me to verify my contact information for their subscriber database and as proof that I’m an actual subscriber that they can include in their circulation numbers. You’ve undoubtedly gotten many of these. They are as much the banes of B-to-B publishers’ existence as they are annoying to subscribers.
I told the phone rep what I tell them all nowadays: I ask if they have a digital edition of their publication. If so, I ask them to switch me to it. If not, I ask them to cancel my subscription. I do this mainly as my tiny way to help the environment, as well as so that I can see what publishers are doing (or not) with digital edition technologies.
The phone rep on today’s call said that the magazine in question, KM World (published by Information Today Inc.), does not offer a digital edition but that he was going to ask whether I’d be interested in one. This shows that digital editions are on more B-to-B publishers’ radar screens.
Our market study of digital editions cites concern for the environment as one of the three primary factors driving growth in digital editions, particularly in B-to-B publishing (the others being lower costs and speed of delivery). Several publishers told us of their own environmental concerns as well as those of their customers and readers.
The routine subscription database update call that included a question about this is further evidence.
And yes, I also don’t like getting trade publications in print because I don’t want my office to be any more cluttered than it is already. Don’t you?

The Global Content Lifecycle: Increasing the Quality Quotient

In the Global Information Age, mere information availability no longer suffices. Today’s customer expectations demand relevant information that is culturally acceptable, appealing, and most important, understood. Delivering contextual, multilingual information – communications that make sense in the customer’s language of choice – is fundamental. Translation is a corporate requirement.

However, any company with a multinational revenue profile knows that fusing quality and translation is a significant challenge. Our take? Quality translation within the global content lifecycle can be elusive, but it is achievable. To learn more, download our latest whitepaper, “Quality In, Quality Out: The Value of Technology in the Global Content Lifecycle” and listen to the recording from the companion webinar hosted by Sajan.

We’ll also continue the quality discussion throughout Gilbane Boston’s Globalization track, particularly in the session, “Quality at the Source: Creating Global Customer Experience.”

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