Publishers Follow the Well-Worn Path to XML
XML HAS BEEN a critical standard for journal publishers for many years. Today, publishers from all walks of life; books, magazines, government, education, even catalogs, are adopting XML to support their goals of streamlined production and malleable content. How can XML transform your workflow and support new revenue opportunities?
The act of publishing is no longer defined by a single, monumental event, such as the printing and binding of a book. "Today, you have at least two publishing events for every title – to print and to the Web," suggests Roger Jackson, director of production support for Cadmus, a Cenveo company.
"Increasingly, publishers want to do more with their content," John Miller, executive vice president of sales & marketing, concurs. "They want to complement print with electronic media, adding audio and video to the mix," Miller adds. "Publishers need to be able to slice and dice and repurpose content. If the content is coded in XML, it makes all of those activities much, much easier."
XML;an acronym for eXtensible Markup Language;has become an internationally recognized and utilized standard.
"XML is a cross-platform, hardware- and software-independent tool for organizing and transmitting information. It was solely created for the purpose of structuring, storing and exchanging information," Miller explains.
"We enable customers;publishers of books, journals, magazines and catalogs;to deliver their content online, and we also manage all data-conversion projects," notes Shamin Dsouza, assistant general manager of content management for KGL, the India-based Cadmus subsidiary.
The mere mention of "data" and "code" need not be intimidating to publishers, for Dsouza says XML is a rather simple concept: "XML comprises metadata in the form of tags and attributes. The tags define the structure, the hierarchy, and captures information that can be used to assign meaning to the content."
"XML also enables highly efficient searching and data mining," she adds. "You can easily and automatically alter the look of a document without changing the content. The same information can drive a magazine page, a Web page, or some other type of electronic document, for example."
Journal publishers were among the earliest adopters of XML because their information and style were fairly structured to begin with. Today, magazine, education, book, catalog and government publishers are following in their footsteps, embracing XML creation as an essential part of their workflow.
Cadmus has a long history of creating XML workflows that are precisely tailored to a publisher’s workflow requirements, providing coded XML files whenever in the workflow they may be needed;early on, during the editing and creative stages, or late in the process when XML may be used to generate final pages for printing, posting or archiving.
"We’re also working with many publishers to digitize their legacy content, so they can have it coded with XML, too," Dsouza confides. "They’re looking for new revenue opportunities and ways to repurpose their content."
Few publishers choose to heavily invest in the staff and technologies to support internal XML tagging, preferring instead to partner with an outsourcing agent like Cadmus KGL. "Outsourcing XML generation will be cheaper than attempting to build the capability internally," Miller stresses. "The cost to outsource is not prohibitive, and Cadmus KGL has a well-worn path to XML. There’s really no reason for publishers to try to reinvent the wheel."