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digital publishing

Content modelling - new bottles, old wine?

Content modelling is on everyone’s lips these days, yet it’s a term that seems not to have existed just a few years ago. Is it some entirely new concept? As usual, a quick look on the Web reveals several definitions, some of which concur, and most of which differ in emphasis.

So, for Cleve Gibbon, a content model is a representation of the types of content and their inter-relationships. For example, a car dealership may have content types for vehicle, dealer and manufacturer. This, of course, is where you start when modelling a relational database.

Creating illustrated books is an Agile process

Years ago I worked at Dorling Kindersley producing illustrated four-colour books - that is to say, with pictures on every page, and the text often wrapped around the pictures. Whatever the subject, cookery, health and wellbeing, or DIY, Dorling Kindersley’s working methods were the same. Designers and editors sat at desks facing each other. To communicate or to explain a concept, the designer would create a quick pencil rough, and the editor would comment on it. Or the editor would explain his or her idea and the designer would visualise it. Some of the ideas inevitably led nowhere.

A genuine XML workflow for journals

The terms "XML workflow" and "XML first" are used so frequently that it is as if the simple repetition of the terms provides sufficient proof that what is claimed to be happening is actually taking place. Many workflows that claim to be XML first do not provide full round-tripping of the content, and certainly not at the same time being fully compliant with the industry-standard DTD. At a recent presentation by Rave Technologies (London, 19 November) a genuine 100% XML workflow was demonstrated for journals, and it was impressive in several ways.

Safari Flow - can you improve on Safari?

O'Reilly's new initiative, Safari Flow, which is currently available in beta form, is a timely prompt to review the success, and the qualities, of its elder brother, Safari Books Online. For several years Safari Books Online has been a great exemplar of digital publishing. For some users, including me, it represented a far more fundamental shift to digital delivery than the later, and seemingly more successful, rise of e-books.

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Product owners: the new face of digital publishing

A seminar at the London Book Fair (April 15th 2013) asked the question: how will publishing interact with technology in the future? Stephen Devlin, CTO of Macmillan, had the fascinating answer: via product owners. The product owner, is the person in the organisation who defines the demand for digital systems, and, intriguingly, is not only not a technical person, and would not be based in the technical area, but at the same time not an editor. Why not? Because editors can never finish things, can never let go (I hasten to add that this was Mr Devlin speaking, not me!).

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