Smart Publishing for Tomorrow’s Publishing World Transforming Publishing into Context-Relevant, Multi-Channel Smart Content

Oct 14, 2013

Sponsored Guest Commentary

Article ImageOne of the biggest challenges publishers face today is finding the ideal approach to transforming traditional publishing methods into a modern, customer-oriented, multi-channel publishing system, in order to survive in tomorrow’s publishing world. Rapidly changing technologies and media are pushing publishers to decide quickly on their digital publishing strategy. Yet, how do they know that their approach will consistently deliver outstanding content quality in the future, thereby guaranteeing profitable business?

Today, news spread more quickly through online newspapers than in printed form – and are accelerated even more through social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. While fiction continues to be printed and published in the traditional manner, eBooks and related platforms allow for mobile sales and paperless consumption, they also allow authors to publish directly. Works of reference, scientific content, nonfiction books and textbooks have already been replaced by online formats to a large extent. However, or largely due to this fact, demand continues to grow for improvements in editing, availability, specialization and context-relevance.

Several megatrends have had an enormous effect on the publishing industry:

  • Gen Y is entering the market: technology driven, expectations for free information and tools
  • Newest trend in customer behavior: Free information is expected. Customers are only willing to purchase “fantastic”, premium information
  • Growing role of governments and public organizations as valuable information and software providers
  • Overwhelming impact of social media on our daily lives: impact on customer relations
  • Business software available in the cloud

Publishing today involves some of the most complex content structures imaginable. Content can be drawn from multiple sources, both internal and external, structured and unstructured, and from various authors and in different languages.

Naturally, the formats, in which content is delivered, can also be as diverse as the variety of sources. Different content perspectives make the matter even more complex. Content can differ greatly according to the time in which it applies. For example, a law or regulation that is valid today may not have been valid two years ago. It is essential to have reliable access to relevant information that is or was relevant during a specific point in time and, beyond that, to know exactly what has changed when comparing two points in time. Different frames of reference require different taxonomies. Often, content is interlinked in some way. References to other content and sources demand foolproof content structures and linking mechanisms. And to make things even more complex, in our globally connected world, the same content can be available in multiple languages making it quite a task in maintaining content quality and consistency for customers.

The trends and nature of complex, digital publishing business have placed an extremely high amount of pressure on the B2B publishing industry and have forced companies to transform their publishing methods to a multi-channel approach. In order to keep the customer in focus and consistently deliver outstanding content in the desired context, a content management and logistics evolution was required.

The classic print and online publishing worlds must converge, in order to deliver consistent, current and valuable information in a true multi-channel manner.

Smart Publishing systems today enrich and edit content with metadata and classifications, in order to fulfill the extensive needs for web and print production alike. These systems allow for easy creation and generation of new products and publications and fast reaction times to newly emerging and developing target groups. Content reuse and new compilations, based on existing content, accelerate content delivery to a wide range of channels even more.

Only component content management systems that are capable of managing the entire lifecycle of both new and existing content in an equally efficient manner – from creation and maintenance of content, to content provision and access - can meet today’s high expectations for the publication of state-of-the-art, knowledge-intensive content.

Medium-neutral storage of XML content enables online reuse. Today, fully automated product rendering, including index and e-book creation are standard features. The online publishing evolution requires the establishment of a single platform. Content is uniquely stored, but is available to multiple products. Advanced search and ranking capabilities, easy-to-use navigation structures, post-search filtering with the help of results’ metadata, and fully automated content supply chain, further support the transformation toward true multi-channel publishing.

With medium-neutral storage of content, content and product information is stored separately, creating logical content components (e.g. chapter, article, etc.). Unique metadata and linking capabilities allow for semantic enrichment with thesauri for different topics and content types, and for basic hyperlinks and predefined links between documents. Thesaurus management delivers market segment taxonomies for use as navigation structures online. Synonyms can be added separately to further improve search performance (online and print). Valuable subject expertise is reflected in the thesaurus.

By converging classic print and online publishing worlds, the traditional print publishing process evolves into a media-neutral, fully automated product build process for multiple channels with upstream standardization. User, context and knowledge-centric digital publishing systems with adapted component content management and logistics represent the future of publishing in one of the fastest growing markets ever.