A projection of a hybrid schoolbook production system


Vilko Žiljak

University of Zagreb, Faculty of Graphics Art, Zagreb



Mario Barišić

Školska knjiga d.d. , Zagreb



Zvonimir Sabati

University of Zagreb, Faculty of Informatiks, Varaždin






Abstract T he paper proposes a new comprehension of the schoolbook system problems improvement by implementing parallel printed and electronic editions. The area of contemporary schoolbook production comprises the classical paper form improved with electronic parts and the independent web schoolbook with a base linking with common contents. The problem of a hybrid schoolbook is that it requires a new teacher who is at the same time the classic teacher type but is also educated to use tools supporting the Internet and the XML technology. The necessity of the publisher’s and schoolbook user’s joint co-operation is stressed as we are living in times of rapid development and web technology application transformation. A printed schoolbook is changing form in respect to the choice of paper, color, design and scope, in order to be brought into accordance with the web editions. This paper aims at broadening the topic of the hybrid schoolbook and to give a proposal for altering the relation between the publisher and the user.


Keywords: e-publishing, hybrid printing, XML tehnology in book publishing


1. Intraduction

The production of textbooks, beginning from the author’s idea to the finished extended product, is a very specific and complex form of book production. A probable assertion is that characteristic workflows describing the majority of other book publishing procedures cannot be applied to the majority of textbook production phases. There are several reasons for these assertions being true. First of all a textbook is a heterogeneous and extended product comprising a wide scope of printed matter. Nowadays one can find some seven to eight different products following a textbook title. On the other hand, there is an increasing quantity of  textbook parts published in the form of electronic media (CD, DVD), where one can find complete packages/sets consisting of exercises, problems, and similar.

Furthermore, in order to meet the demands of the student as the final consumer, the very choice of material used in conventional textbook production is specific in respect to paper characteristics, colors and imported materials. If we add obligatory elements to this list such as the necessity to meet production dates, the need to meet the corresponding production prices and requirements as to textbook quality, we are directed towards the necessity to determine our own technological solutions. It is considered that new research areas have been opened in order to improve the existing conventional textbook production workflow. In respect to some elements it is necessary to alter it completely.


1.1.             Conventional Textbook Production Elements

In order to project the proposal for the workflow of a future hybrid textbook, below is a review of textbook production phases in the course of basic conventional production:

a)    Editorial phase: manuscript writing (textual part), making the illustrations (drawings, illustrations, photographs, formulas, and similar) professional editorial material processing - editing, linguistic and statistic material processing - editing, technical manuscript processing - tagging, conversion, coding and similar.

b)    Design: textbook cover design, design of specific textbook pages, design application on other covers of textbook set parts

c)    Graphic arrangement: technical unification of all manuscript elements, generating of operation instructions (layout, illustrative material processing, and similar)

d)    Textbook technical arrangement: scanning and processing of illustrative material, textbook page layout

e)    Correcting cycle: corrections and checking up of the author, editor, designer, graphic editor and corrector

f)    Electric assembly and installation process, printing plate manufacture, printing and graphic finishing postpress operations.

An example of a schematic, conventional textbook workflow is shown in the following chart (Chart 1):




Chart 1. Conventional Textbook Production Elements



2. Hybrid textbook production


2.1. Title planning, design and editorial preparation and planning


New forms of organization are proposed for textbook workflows. It is necessary to determine the precise elements of the design and appearance of all the future printed matter during the very first meeting of the author team (authors of the textbook text and all illustrative elements).

It is necessary to make precise decisions containing the following information:

·          Elements that are part of the textbook set (for instance the very textbook, the exercises, the teacher’s book, exercises and problems, laboratory textbook instructions and similar)

·          Market design (conventional printed matter, electronic edition, hybrid edition),

·          Electronic media edition (web browser, CD, DVD, conventional textbook),

·          Elements of interrelated ties


In case it is decided to produce an electronic textbook element set, it is highly necessary to respect some prerequisites. First of all, the publisher must organize an electronic content research department. This, of course, must include the planning of multidisciplinary expert teams with the best qualifications; consisting of experts having experience in research and didactic adjustment of electronic contents. It is proposed to make precise definitions of all the production set’s structural elements at the very beginning of production, in the phase of title planning, stressing those elements that will increase operation automation in the future production phases. Each of these elements must be directly linked with the database that is compatible with XML technology (Chart 2.).

It is necessary to define not only their position in the database, but their hierarchical and related interconnection as well. In this way each one of the marked tags gets its own identification address within the database, and is prepared for further production phases. As they are marked in the XML structure, there is no further limitation in respect to the planned textbook production direction (Chart 3).

Chart 2. Elements linked with the database that is compatible with XML technology


Chart 3. Elements marked in the XML structure


2.2. Database control in the publishing industry


In the projection of future hybrid textbooks, a database is the core of data control in the overall publishing and design processes falling into the field of textbook publishing. The CIP4 automatic system for graphic production standardization that will eventually be introduced throughout the publishing industry (especially into large systems and those graphic systems that are ready for automatization implementation) is conceptually founded on XML. Therefore, it is of extreme importance to incorporate XML technology into the existing publishing systems of related databases and to prepare for the future through the native XML base.

One may wonder why are databases so important for hybrid production. During the period that computer science has been present in publishing and production systems, we have witnessed a unique phenomenon in the market that has been applied and is still being applied in Croatian publishing and graphic activities systems without exception. Databases have been used as support to merchandise, material and financial control of the book production and it has been their only use. Not only was the book never seriously controlled as a single product with the help of databases, but also there was almost no system enabling significant connection between databases and book production.


Chart 4. Communication with databases from the XML aspect – linking elements for conventional and electronic textbook production. Finding relations and interconected links


XML as a simple extendible and modern denoting system that will fully be recognized in the graphic industry through JDF - the future language of the publishing business, enables interconnection between systems. It allows integration of computer control data between the publisher and the printing works. In order to be able to consider hybrid production processes more seriously, it is necessary to define the complete control mechanism, make divisions as to hierarchy and to describe in detail through XML designations. In terms of business, this is the way all processes are standardized and put under control of all relations and interconnected links. XML designation is especially recommended in the following business areas.

·           Standardization of machine support in the overall publishing and design environment,

·           Standardization and reproduction material control as well as a detail description of reproduction material characteristics in respect to the encountered machine combinations,

·           Control and standardization of partners and co-workers,

·           Precise communication definitions between the publisher and the printing works, as well as in the overall environment.


In communication with databases from the XML aspect it is necessary to define the following in the textbook and production set control area (Chart 4):


2. 3. Allocation of Design Attributes to Defined Tags A Hybrid Publishing

Business Projection

This is the domain where the basic editorial automation is projected and if the workflow of book publishing is considered as an integral process, it is where textbook hybrid qualities are generated. It is important to automate the unique work flow in such a manner as to program routines that divide into two parts the electronic and conventional book production, respecting the protocol of book production unity and tag intersection. On one hand the tags prepared for the web are meant for the electronic parts of a textbook set, through web browsers and publishing applications for DVD and CD publishing forms. Tags for conventional production elements are linked with page break applications (it is important to stress that, for instance, the Adobe In Design 3.0 fully supports the XML record).

The previous chart shows the flexible possibility of published product set control from the aspect of the media used for its publishing. It is up to the publisher and his system approach to define the protocol, the product and the market appearance design. It is very important to stress that production sets in their complexity need not be parts of a single media. This paper suggests a dynamic approach, i.e. a new area of flexible, fully innovative hybrid publishing through on-line data link (Chart 5).



Chart 5. Proposal of a Hybrid Textbook edition


If safety protocols are added to this assertion, it is possible, for instance, to publish some segments for teachers only, and in a significantly altered form, conventional or through the web, for other consumers. In the same way it is possible to make a conventional concept in the basic structure of a product such as “Questions and Answers”, and to furnish additional data and additional problem sets (or problems for teachers) through the web.

It is important to stress that the basic decision is to be brought by the publisher’s managing structures and modern technology is such that it can fully support those decisions.



3.      Hybrid Textbook Graphic Production





Chart 6. Proposal of a Hybrid Printing product


As an additional segment to the projected hybrid textbook publishing business, it is necessary to develop a graphic system for producing textbooks in a hybrid environment. If we consider that the web edition, as well as the edition published through DVD/CD media is dynamic and hybrid, the integrated graphic production should have the same qualities. In order to achieve this, a concentrated computer description for the graphic product is proposed, in the phase when it is ready for printing, i.e. following the completion of editorial and design preparation steps. Hybrid qualities in graphic production are evident in the following elements:

·                       Variable printing

·                       Trial and competitive printing

·                       Target printing for small groups

·                       Additional printing of conventional product segments.


It is also important to integrate the graphic production workflow, and this is partly shown in the following chart (Chart 6).

From the aspect of communication and information flow significant dynamism within the relation and environment communication is proposed.


4.      Conclusion



Chart 7. Communication dynamism between users in a Hybrid Publishing and a Hybrid printing production


Application of hybrid elements is proposed to be implemented into publishing and graphic production processes in the field of textbook publishing, aimed at reaching the following planned goals:


·          Dynamism in publishing,

·          Graphic production dynamism

·          Turning to web business dealings

·          Decreasing textbook publishing time, from the idea to the finished product

·          Decreasing of distribution channels

·          Creating the necessary suppositions for e-learning methods


In order to be able to applicate the listed elements, the following necessary steps are proposed:


·          Positioning of databases as the central part of publishing and graphic business dealings,

·          Implementation of XML technology through databases and through JDF applications of the CIP4 consortium, as the printing business language of the future,

·          Precise defining and standardization of all control, communication, technical and publishing elements in the publisher’s and the printing press’s environment

·          Defining hierarchical and similar relations in setting the database elements.


Communication dynamism between:


the publisher - schools - students and parents


is expected as a result (Chart 7).



5. References


[1]          Stephan Jaeggi, PrePress Consulting of CIP4: “JDF - Job Definition Format”, Seybold, San Francisco, 2002.

[2]          prof. dr. sc. Vilko Ziljak, Graficki fakultet Sveucilista u Zagrebu: “Vodzenje graficke proizvodnje XML tehnologijom”, Medzunarodni simpozij Ofsetni tisak, Zagreb, 2003.

[3]          http://futureprint.americanprinter.com. - Jill Roth, Special Project Director: “Getting ready for tomorrow”

[4]          John Birkenshaw, Pira International Ltd.: “Concepts of Workflow”, “MIS for Printers”, Birmingham, 2003.

[5]          Akmal B. Chaudhri, Awais Rashid, Roberto Zicari, Addison Wesley,: “XML Data Management: Native XML and XML-Enabled Database Systems”, Addison-Wesley Pub Co, 2003.

[6]          Barisic, M., Ziljak V.: “XML tehnologija u povezivanju izdavastva i tiskarstva”, Medzunarodni simpozij “Ofsetni tisak”, Zagreb 2003.

[7]          Birkenshaw, J., Smyth, S. “The Impact of Market and Technology Changes on Publishers and Printers”, Pira International Ltd, 2001

[8]          Brown, P.: “Information Architecture with XML: A Management Strategy”, John Wiley & Sons, 2003

[9]          Karttunen, S.: “Publishing, Printing and Cross-Media Applications of XML - A Special Interest Day”, Finland - Internationales Congress Centrum (ICC) Berlin, Germany, 2001.

[10]             Ziljak, V.; “Information system transformation after implementing XML technology”, 14th International Conference on Information and Intelligent Systems, Varadin 2003.