XML-Coding: The Next Generation of Outsourcing Services
The new trend in outsourcing production is hiring outsourcing companies to simultaneously XML-code content as they create print pages, so you can share it online.
Publishing companies have been working with outsourcing vendors for years on production of their print pages. With the constant changes to Web capabilities in the publishing marketplace, outsourcing providers are looking into services that not only help build the publisher’s workflow, but also enhance other areas of their business at a lower rate through outsourcing.
Providers like Cadmus Communications provide a service from facilities located in India that implements XML-coding as they produce print pages. Along with a final PDF of the magazine, publishers can also receive their editorial content with XML-tags so they can share it automatically on their Web site or other Web properties. “Most magazines need to have a very strong Web presence,” says Jim McQueen, vice president of technology and development for Cadmus. “So you’re creating all this content but you have to also convert this content and share it on the Web. By XML-coding your content you can extend your reach through all media.”
In simple terms, XML allows you to take content and code it in a specific format that will reproduce the file in a specific schema or output. Instead of recreating the entire document by hand, XML allows the content to be used in a number of ways. Once the file is tagged in XML, style sheets are created for each output and the XML-coded data allows the content to render itself into whatever format is needed. Both the Web page and printed page can carry the same content, but the coded style sheets allow each individual page to appear different. XML also allows content to be tagged to RSS, feed readers and other style sheets for sharing.
Staff members in India can take digital and printed files and XML-tag them for Web output as well as for content archives and repurposing. Publishers can take content and transform it through multiple style sheets to digital formats for print, Web sites, HTML, digital editions, search engines and web and dynamic Web pages.
Maintaining extra staff for Web application construction and XML-tagging can be pricey for publishers. Technology staff members are some of the most sought-after positions to fill in publishing today. Tech development tasks such as XML-coding and building other Web applications requires the work and time of skilled back-end IT professionals and designers. Outsourcing Web initiatives is becoming common in the publishing world and some of the best deals can be found at companies who manage branches overseas. “By outsourcing we can bring the newest technologies to bear, taking the content and repurposing it in any format the publisher wants,” says McQueen. “That will help them grow their Web platform and once their Web starts growing it will grow their magazine, and all of their services, which will grow revenues.”