Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Who do you turn to?

The other day I was clearing out some old journals and came across the Publishing in the 21st Century research papers that were sponsored by VISTA between 1996 and 2001. Having been honoured to be involved in the exercise I have always held the research as both informative and often groundbreaking. In fact the 2001 research paper on digitalisation made fascinating reading. It could have been written yesterday the issues it raised and prediction it made. The editorial team of consultants lead by Mark Bide and Mike Shatzkin I believe were second to none in the areas they covered and experience they brought to the table. Alas the 2001 paper was the last to be published.

Consultancy can come from many different quarters and will inevitably be bias to what people know and what they specialise or are interested in. You don’t ask a logistics expert to advise you on rights management and visa versa and the Publishing value chain is complex and covers many disciplines.
So where do publishers go now for digitisation help?

It isn’t always easy to find the perfect independent consultancy match and that is even a greater problem in a market where the different sectors are often moving in different directions and at a different pace. Independent advice today is becoming rare with many consultants having to juggle conflicts of interest.

I believe that the work that Mark Bide and Mike Shatzkin performed earlier this year on DAD (Digital Asset Distribution) research was a great start to demystifying the digital minefield for many. It is ironic that it is the same team we used at VISTA and I now hope that the likes of Klopotek will sponsor more such independent initiatives to help educate and provide impartial guidance to the market.