The Well-Formed Document

Articles by publishing professionals

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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Eight Development Tips for Better E-books

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

These tips will help you develop books that work well in print and e-books. Scribe adheres to these principles when using our Well-Formed Document Workflow.

Navigation

E-books are navigated through electronic tables of contents and hyperlinks. In order to make it easy to navigate, you should make full use of the built in TOCs (usually controlled through an ncx file). It's also helpful to create links back to the tables of contents. This can be done through back links from major divisions (e.g

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XML: The Emperor’s Clothing

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

XML stands out in the industry as this amazingly complex, technical mark-up language that is going to revolutionize publishing. Within publishing, it has become equated with a magical panacea to cure all that ails the industry.

The publishers who don't understand it, or understand it and don't see the benefits, feel coerced into pouring valuable resources into XML, hoping for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Ideally, it would make the workflow efficient, enable easy conversion, and function

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Multipurpose Editing for Multipurpose Publishing

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

Printed books remain the primary form of publishing, but content can be edited with an eye to deliver it via multiple electronic platforms (e.g., Web, e-book, PDA), to take multiple forms (e.g., print and electronic books, journals, Web content, newsletters), for multiple purposes (e.g., retail products, publicity and marketing pieces, testing materials).

The process of multipurpose editing is fairly simple.

Organize for clarity: Content must be organized in a way that is consistent with its use

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How to Stay Successful During the Recession

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

Publishers thrive when they persist and keep their business growing in tough times—and when has publishing not been a competitive business? Historically, companies that invest or develop within hard economic times are better positioned when the economy improves.

Here are some tips that come from our own education in publishing's school of hard knocks:

Work efficiently. Make the most of your production and editorial staff (training, procedures, use of computers). In difficult economic situations

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Scribe: The Source For E-book Development

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

The advent of Amazon Kindle, Amazon's wireless reading device, has rekindled publisher interest in e-book development. While sales for e-books have been marginal thus far, developing e-books can dramatically impact your company on multiple fronts.

Most importantly, e-books present an opportunity to update your publishing process, which affects your entire operation.

Workflow—Many publishers overlook the fact that the same processes that enable publishers to create traditional print books in an

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