The Well-Formed Document

Articles by publishing professionals

Billie Jean Collins

Learning as We Go

By Billie Jean Collins of Society of Biblical Literature

Realities of Being a Scholarly Publisher

My colleagues and I at the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) Press are charged with publishing forty book titles and one quarterly journal per year. Our mission to foster biblical scholarship, in addition, means responding to the needs of our eight thousand members worldwide. So, answering the call for more e-books, open-access content, e-content for course packs, and online reference works was an exigency.

But how does a publishing staff of a mere five

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Mark Fretz

What I Heard at AAUP

By Mark Fretz of Scribe Inc.

The Association of American University Presses (AAUP) convened their annual conference in Boston, June 20–22, 2013. As always, the program offered stimulating plenary and panel sessions, lots of informal conversations, and plenty to think about as we said au revoir.

It is always helpful to pay attention to events and conversations taking place throughout the publishing industry. While listening to these conversations, it is important to check both the accuracy of the information and how it squares

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Hope LeGro

Publishing Digital Products alongside Print Books

By Hope LeGro of Georgetown University Press

My colleagues and I at Georgetown University Press (GUP) continually ask ourselves how a publisher can create and release content simultaneously in print and digital formats. We are not alone in asking this question, but for us, digital encompasses far more than an e-book.

Our challenge is creating interactive digital products that complement or stand in place of print products.

As director of Georgetown Languages, a separately branded section of GUP that focuses on publishing foreign language

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David Alan Rech

Considering Publishing Conventions

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

Like many in the publishing industry, I arrived at my profession by somewhat of an accident. Sure, I loved books. But my interest was in classical history, with a deeper interest in the Roman Empire. Like others in that field, I studied Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Egyptian (mostly Coptic).

In my initial studies, I learned the value of good typography.

Though I was fairly adept at reading critical editions, I struggled with the originals. Though hieroglyphs point in a particular direction, often have

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David Alan Rech

Book Branding

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

Book branding is getting a lot of attention: Book Business Magazine devoted its February issue to branding. The 2013 Tools of Change conference focused on the topic in a number of discussions. Numerous blogs discuss branding, and even the editorial and production staff among our clients are mentioning it more frequently.

Before branding became all the rage, publishers created works distinct to them. In the history of publishing, there have been various terms—including “imprint identity”—to communicate

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Neil Litt

You Must Implement an XML Workflow

By Neil Litt of Princeton University Press

Princeton University Press produces multivolume, heavily illustrated textbooks filled with tables and references. When I started over twenty-five years ago, I considered a markup-based workflow to capture the structure of a document so it could be delivered through different applications and not be dependent on having to lay out the data in a particular format.

In the past, there were too many serious shortcomings for anyone publishing upper-level textbooks. An overwhelming number of technical problems

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David Alan Rech

The Table (Revisited)

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

In a previous blog posting, we addressed the use of tables in publications. Our conclusion has been that it is best not to use them, and if you are going to use tables make sure you are using them properly and sparingly.

Since then, better support for tables in desktop publishing systems and electronic devices has been developed. So we have reconsidered the use of tables and have reached some conclusions.

Tables are useful for comparing related information. If you wish to compare the features of

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David Alan Rech

Solidifying the Manuscript (Part 2)

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

In a recent blog contribution, Joe Vriend touted the value of solidifying the manuscript early in the publishing process. Requiring editors to finalize a manuscript as early as possible in the production process is the key to pursuing e-only or e-first publishing.

This got me thinking about another possible benefit of solidifying the manuscript prior to pages. What if this act and working in an electronic environment actually changed the way we organize information?

Drop caps or ascending capital

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