The Well-Formed Document

Articles by publishing professionals

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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Mark Fretz

Fighting Fires

By Mark Fretz of Scribe Inc.

Many publishers spend all their time putting out fires. Like other companies, publishers can fall behind and get so used to being behind that they simply accept putting out fires as the new normal. As a rule, publishers are aware of and can quickly explain why they are in this fix. See if the following example hits close to home:

A typesetter (or editor) went on maternity leave, and her workload was parceled out to two full-time colleagues and one part-time employee. Each of these people already

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Betty Kelly Sargent

The Self-Publishing Revolution

By Betty Kelly Sargent of BookWorks: The Self-Publishers Association

Disruption, upheaval, explosive, in transition—all of these words apply to the publishing business today as never before. But why? What’s changed? Why has self-publishing become such a big deal in such a short time? It seems to me, after thirty-five years as an author and editor in the book and magazine business, that three things have happened:

  1. The technology has changed. Now everyone from stay-at-home moms to astrophysicists can write and publish their book with a few (OK, more than a few)

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David Alan Rech

Benefiting from Vendor Relationships

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

While outsourcing can be a valuable method to manage costs, the need for staff, and the flow of titles, it can also have some negative effects. We risk losing our expertise in producing books. We can become sloppy, because our mistakes do not “cost” us anything. Outsourcing may allow us to maintain poor habits (and possibly lose our competitive edge). This may lead to a loss of functionality in our books. However, working with vendors can be profitable.

Work with your vendor to develop book designs

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Mark Fretz

Indexing across Titles

By Mark Fretz of Scribe Inc.

Indexes are important components of publications. Indexers create indexes to help people access the material being indexed. An index is ancillary to the primary content of the authored work, whatever form that primary content takes (e.g., book, journal or newspaper article, website, blog, newsletter). As such, we must remember that the index is metadata. Indexes are exceptionally helpful in giving people access to the content of books, journals, and so forth; while publishers consider them valuable

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David Alan Rech

Metadata

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

The publishing industry seems to be confused about metadata. Metadata is commonly perceived as ancillary information necessary for marketing and distributing books. Consider ONIX (Online Information Exchange) for Books, for example, which, according to the Book Industry Study Group (BISG), is “the international standard for representing and communicating book industry product information in electronic form.” Publishers provide ONIX data about their titles because it facilitates book sales. From this

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