Saturday, December 27, 2008

Review of our 2008 Predictions - 10. Waste

At the end of 2007 we made 10 predictions for 2008. Many predictions made have now been conveniently forgotten but we stand by our thinking at the time and believe it appropriate we openly review these individually and see what we think happened and assess them appropriately. Finally we review the opportunity to remove waste in 2008.

10. Waste – we envisage new opportunities from the digitisation process that will not only increase productivity and depth of by-product but will also start to change inefficiency within the supply chain that only is possible with digital content and context.

Strangely so much happened in 2008 that the eyes appeared to be taken cleanly off the waste ball. The supply chain to many was as efficient as it could go and although industry ‘ticks’ were still being awarded their significance was hardly noted or reported.e4Books came and went and is now e4libraries but where did we start and what did we achieve and more importantly who noticed?

The standards bodies continued to look at digital opportunities but it was if the rules were being written outside of their relatively small world. The biggest opportunity to collate works and get a standard that is some 10 years plus in the making to the masses continued to be missed. The International Standard Text Code (ISTC)offers so much when it was first conceived but today may be seen by many as too late and too little. In fact we had to hunt it down on both the UK and US industry web sites. We must learn as an industry how to fast track initiatives, set up licensing arrangements and both educate and implement these quickly within the market. Some would say that the old control and command approach is no longer appropriate and best practice will no longer be determined by the major players.

Interestingly publishing digital focused started to move upstream and past the conversion of physical product. Digitising first and changing the staid linear and analogue development process became a topic. Mike Shatzkin started his ‘Start with XML First’ and we spoke in Frankfurt about the logic of moving the digital agenda upstream. However many still see content and context and even rights as being separate development streams and thereby continue to create waste and miss opportunities.

We knew this would be a hard mountain but believe 5 out of ten are appropriate.

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