One of the significant benefits of XML first workflows is the ability to quickly and efficiently create derivative, especially digital, works. VisualML's eBook Production System enables publishers to do just that.
Once a Document or Work from the Content Acquisition and Curation and/or the Peer and Editorial Collaboration Systems has been marked complete, it can be pulled into eBook production. That instance of the XML begins a process as shown in the figure below.
Visual ML eBook Production System Flow
The user produces eBooks from the system by selecting a set of pre-defined, publisher-configurable templates to apply or "flow" the XML into ePub. The user then "Sculpts" the resultant, first-pass ePub to make it aesthetically pleasing and finalizes the ePub for delivery. All of these steps are wrapped by VisualML's dashboard driven by Commander and configurable Workflow within a Collaborative Work space as further discussed below.
The eConstructor creates the template sets that define the unique look and feel the publisher wishes to apply when branding ePub, including:
- Font and paragraph handling (style, family selection, size, color, justification, etc).
- Image, equation, table, etc construct handling (position, size, drop shadows, etc)
- The order that the Work will flow in an eBook (often publishers move physical front-matter elements between the body content and back-matter to facilitate rapid reader transition from the cover to reading body content
The eSculpter tool set applies the templates to the XML brought in from the Editorial system(s) and enables the user to:
- Select a cover image (required for delivery to most eBook retailers) to be bundled in the ePub
- Flow the XML through the templates resulting in a first pass ePub
- eScultpting the first pass ePub - apply the art of publishing production by adjusting the ePub aesthetics to be appropriate and pleasing for the content.
- eSculpting tools include the ability to locally override the templates for:
- paragraph and text application (e.g. a Chapter Title that, due to its length, does not appear acceptable at a given type size - reduce type size to be more visually appealing)
- image size, orientation and positioning
- tables handled as XHTML or images, adjustment of position, scaling, etc.
Once the user has completed Sculpting the ePub, the System includes the facility to review the proposed, completed ePub both with internal and external stakeholders using eReviewer and VisualML's collaborative workflow system, which includes:
- ePub reader with common viewing and navigation tools
- a collaborative comment space and history tracking tool set (as shown in the images below)
- Workflow state control which is fully configurable by role and function
- Standard States list
- Special: Author Review
- Important: ePub Production Final: for release to distribution partners, website, etc.
- Immediate state change (when Save button is pressed)
- Scheduled state change (any time in the future date/time)
- Collaborative comment space and state change tracking
- Comprehensive comment history and review
- Note that an ePub need not change state to store Collaboration Comments. Simply filling in the comments and pressing the Save button stores the comments without changing the state of the ePub
As with all VisualML Systems, eBook Production is managed by the Commander tool set:
- Full search of the XML stored in the Central Content Repository.
- Basic keyword search
- Advanced Search with customized facets including
- Work Title
- Document Title
- Workflow State
- Categorization Tags
- Volume and Issue
- See the Search Module for full details
- Extensive dashboard and reporting
- Administration of workflow states
- Administration interface, and
- Content download/export.