Publishing Mean and Lean
For example, collaboration now extends beyond production. It affects all aspects of the publishing workflow, from authoring and editing to marketing and distribution. It spans time and space, breaking down geographical barriers, making instant communication possible.
It affects the nature of our products themselves: Print is no longer the be-all, end-all, but just one piece of a much larger digital puzzle. The only way to make this truly efficient and productive—and thus profitable and competitive, without wasting time, money and effort—is, in short, to practice lean publishing.
That means collaboration across the production workflow. Editors work in Microsoft Word (usually), and the files they get from writers are almost always a Word file.
To improve the effectiveness of their collaboration, it would be nice if the author used a template. Don't scoff. It can be done, if the template is simple, and the editor's expectations are modest. And if the editor used a template, that would help compositors understand what the various elements are, where they go, and map them to a style sheet.
If the same files compositors used to produce the print pages could be used by the Web publishers, that would avoid a lot of conversion and recoding. If the metadata Web publishers need came straight from the marketing department, that would reduce cycle time, too. (Much of that information originates in the marketing department.)
It's all possible and happening today, albeit in a small minority of cases. The enabler: XML, the Extensible Markup Language.
Most people understand the benefit of PostScript and PDF, but are only beginning to recognize the power of XML. But XML's effects on collaboration are profound, more so than any digital publishing technology that's come before.