Digital Directions: Tear Down the Silo
6. Disband Your Digital Media Group. Before it was generally acknowledged that the future of all publishing was digital, many organizations created a group for "All Things D." This was typically a group of firebrands dedicated to disruptive change. At this point, it is probably counterproductive to have a "digital group." Publishing is digital, and every department needs to have digital priorities of its own. Tear down your digital silo and reuse the parts. Fold the best and brightest of your digital teams into your core departments: marketing, editorial and production. Bye-bye, digital group. It was fun!
7. The Taxonomy Team. Taxonomy is a fancy word for subject labeling. I am not talking just about the rather broad BISAC (book industry subject and category) and LOC (Library of Congress) subject categories, but the granular terminology that is unique to each field and subject domain. Subject-matter tagging is a critical way to add value to content, to reuse the same content in different contexts, and to aid discovery and use. Subject tagging, such as those found in ONIX (Online Information Exchange), facilitates distribution, discovery and sales. More detailed subject tagging at the chapter and paragraph level allows for even more precise and detailed descriptions, supporting not only distribution, but integration of the content with software applications. Tagging is key to digital success.
Publishers need to understand the taxonomies relevant to their fields and apply these subject labels systematically. Every publisher needs to create or join a taxonomy group and participate in the standards' evolution. Both editorial and production folks need to be involved.
8. Learn From Partners. Service providers and product-development partners are critical to digital success. One of the great ways that service providers can drive a publisher forward is in the learning process that occurs when staff and partners interact. Good vendors are like good coaches, eager to help publishers learn more about digital media and the services they provide. But often they're left without players; there is no one to catch the ball. … It's time to catch the ball. BB
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