We previously planned to build some upgraded features into our CD-ROM product, but we arranged to introduce most of these in a new release of another CD-ROM scheduled for 2002.
By the time we created the Collegiate Dictionary's 11th edition CD-ROM, almost all of the C++ code was cooked and tested. Similarly, the fundamental technology for the Web edition was well established through seven years of providing an online dictionary on our Internet site.
That said, creating the electronic editions still required additional work. While the generic tagging supports electronic output, much data conversion had to be done. Work was also needed on features unique to the electronic editions, such as audio pronunciations and full-color art.
This brings us to our second basic principle for cross-media publishing: Begin the planning process as early as possible. We made the decision to have multiple simultaneous editions more than two years before the launch, and planning for all aspects of the project began at that time.
One crucial issue was determining the date for turning over fully edited text files to the electronic group for conversion. Thanks to early and plentiful discussions, a schedule was developed that met everybody's requirements.
We would save time by writing sed (UNIX steam editor) scripts to do much of the conversion, but time had to be allocated for tasks that could be only performed by humans. These include audio recording, insertion of art tags, proofreading, and other kinds of checking.
Ultimately, we were able to make changes to the text files as late as March 1, 2003 (we managed to enter the new South Korean president who took office on Feb. 25), and still deliver a golden master for production by April 15, 2003.