The Well-Formed Document

Articles by publishing professionals

Lessons from Allentown: Single-Skilled Staff

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

When considering the training and work assignments of employees, a tension exists between specialisation and generalisation. On one hand, it is clear that having well-rounded staff members improves publications. On the other hand, a person who specialises in one thing tends to be fast at the tasks she undertakes.

Given the price pressure in this economy, it may seem best to have your staff engaged in single tasks that each person performs quickly. Since 2004, Scribe has been gathering data on internal

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Positive Economic Outlook for Publishers

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

A recent David Brooks column in the NY Times, and a popular YouTube video, highlight the economic growth of the world.

We in the publishing industry know this. We are aware of the popularity of books during times of economic growth and social transition. During the Industrial Revolution and the period after World War II, publishing took off. In both cases, you had a group of people who wished to climb from their status and believed that education and learning were the keys to get there. Books helped

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Bad ePub? Blame Automation!

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

In the posting of December 16, 2010, we discussed reliance on the PDF as a source for e-book development. We recommended using the typesetter (or mechanics) files as the source for your e-book development. But mere reliance on automation to produce ePub files can still result in bad ePubs!

Many naively believe that the ePub generator from InDesign will automatically create e-book files. The promise is that you can go from InDesign directly into ePub format, not to mention a variety of XML formats

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Bad ePub? Blame the PDF!

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

In a recent Publishers Weekly article Craig Teicher highlighted some of the problems with ePub development.* His focus was on vendors and other problems that have arisen in ePub development.

No doubt, some of the problems seen in ePubs are caused by vendors. All of us make mistakes. Some vendors are sloppy and inconsistent, and these faults add problems. Sometimes their employees are not properly trained, do not properly examine their work, or just don't understand how to craft an e-book. Frequently

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Connecting the Editorial and Production Processes

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

All of our staff possess a base level of skills. That base level includes the ability to use regular expressions in searching and replacing, a general knowledge of XML and specific ability to apply Scribe Markup Language, full use of the tools and features of Microsoft Word, HTML development, and e-book development.

We have cross-trained a number of our staff so that they are proficient in editorial and production processes. Many are fully competent in script writing and visual basic for macros

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This Is XML

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

Recently, an editor asked me to clarify a number of questions she had about XML. She had been taking scrupulous notes during a number of meetings and presented me with a long list of conflicting information. She was baffled, frustrated, and didn't know what to do.

Her confusion was completely understandable, as there is a lot of information (and misinformation) about XML. Those of us who specialize in markup languages have an interest in maintaining that confusion because we profit from it. No doubt

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Imprint Identity

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

In the past, publishers used to select titles and develop them to a set of editorial and typesetting standards. Those standards conveyed more than the house grammatical preferences, they lent a general feel to publishers’ books.

Publications were deliberately crafted to be identifiable as being the product of a particular house. The reading audience, those who purchased books, may not have explicitly understood this process, but they could identify books from particular publishers and identified

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Choosing an XML DTD

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

Because of the demand for electronic publications, XML is a hot topic for consideration. It seems that everyone is worried about what type of XML he or she should use. There are discussions and meetings focusing on the various XML schemata. Publishers argue over what kind of XML coding they should follow. Frankly, loyalty to an XML schema and its DTD (document type definition) misses the point.

The only reason to select an existing DTD is convenience. Using an extant DTD means that you do not need

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