The Well-Formed Document

Articles by publishing professionals.

David Alan Rech

WYSIWYG: What You Structure Is What You Get

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

We in the publishing industry still treat print as our main focus. This makes perfect sense because our focus has practical publishing as well as solid business justifications. However, this does not necessarily justify all the attention we give to the visual aspects of our publications. As discussed in previous newsletters, relying on our “eye” can be detrimental to the publishing process.

Despite that, our industry is focused on developing additional tools to facilitate the ability to operate

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David Alan Rech

Demanding Vendor Specifications

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

A short while ago, I visited a potential client. I was impressed with their editorial and production teams because they had given serious thought to the durability of their publications. They had a strict style list, a unified method to produce books, and a clear vision to archive their materials in ways that facilitated future use. They were conscious of the need to communicate their standards among themselves and to work to develop consistent, identifiable publications.

Then we started talking

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David Alan Rech

What Is Our Product? Who Is Our Customer?

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

Like the head of any organization, I continuously ask a series of questions to keep business growing. Among those questions are “What is our product?” and “Who is our potential customer?” These questions inform Scribe’s business development, investments, marketing efforts, and other strategies. This is the fundamental information that determines how and whether we will continue to grow. If we cannot demonstrate our value proposition to potential customers, we will wither—or at least be priced out

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Mark Fretz

Mis(s)-Understanding Media

By Mark Fretz of Scribe Inc.

The New York Times recently reminded us that Marshall McLuhan’s classic Understanding Media turned fifty this year. The book is famous for popularizing ideas such as that the electronic image had supplanted the written word and for phrases such as “global village” and “the medium is the message.”1 In the world of pop culture, fifty years is longer than anyone can remember (fifteen minutes is about all most people get), whereas in the history of humankind, fifty years is but the blink of an eye. That

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David Alan Rech

Quality Assurance and Quality Control

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

In August’s newsletter, I mentioned that there is a distinction between quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC). The difference between these terms is not merely semantic—it dramatically affects the way we work. QA is the processes and procedures that are put in place to make sure that work is done on time, to specification, within tolerances, and (hopefully) within budget. QC is checks to ensure that the work is done to specification and within tolerances. QC is done within a system of QA

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Michael Maher

Book Metadata and Discoverability

By Michael Maher of Scribe Inc.

Over the course of the past year, “metadata” and “discoverabilty” have become popular buzz words in the publishing industry. Many publishers, at the behest of digital marketers, have begun to recognize the importance of metadata, especially in a digital environment. Metadata is a huge term, with several layers of meaning. Discoverability is not quite as daunting, but it still eludes many of us.

Earlier this year, Scribe’s President, David Rech, wrote a detailed article aimed at defining metadata

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David Alan Rech

Quality

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

Many of us in the publishing industry use the term quality regularly. When we talk about quality, we mean that publications are free from error—that they appear to be correct. We edit, proof pages, proofread, and make and verify alterations, all in an effort to create quality publications. We judge our staff, freelancers, and vendors by the number of errors they allow (actually, the number of errors found in subsequent stages—we may not know the actual rate). A lower error rate seems to indicate

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Nancy Cunningham

The Internalization of Quality

By Nancy Cunningham of Scribe Inc.

The pursuit of quality is a never-ending pursuit. Organizations around the globe struggle to produce a product of superior quality. Whether you are a truck manufacturer, a pharmaceutical company, a national restaurant chain, or the publisher that employs you, quality is that elusive state of being that makes demands on our collective attention spans and efforts, and upon which we rise and fall as both individuals and companies.

Organizational quality is imposed externally through QA, quality assurance

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