Undaunted. Persistent. Relentless. Determined. These adjectives (and more in the same vein) fully describe India’s digital vendors to a T. They simply relish the challenge of a complex and seemingly impossible project, and they have the opportunity to dissect the requirements, nuances, and intricacies. Here are some of the most unique and challenging projects that these vendors handled in the past year.
Cenveo Publisher Services
The 20th edition of Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, a landmark textbook from McGraw-Hill Education, was an exciting project completed by the Cenveo team in recent months. Covering 477 print chapters (and 43 for the online edition), more than 14,000 manuscript pages, 2,500-plus figures, and more than 1,300 tables, the project was completed within 18 months.
“This two-volume textbook had complex pagination issues because the manuscript was transmitted in multiple batches with random chapters out of sequence,” marketing director Mike Groth explains. “Our team also had to communicate with more than 300 chapter contributors. And once a chapter was finalized and permissions were cleared, the files were posted to McGraw-Hill’s digital platform.”
For a mid-level vernacular-language novel publisher looking for a solution to manage an increasingly bigger frontlist, DiacriTech’s XEditPro Publishing Suite was an ideal answer. “It is not just a workflow-management solution but also one that keeps all editorial and production tasks in a single environment,” executive v-p Mahesh Balakrishnan explains, adding that “language handling is not an issue since XEditPro is a Unicode-based solution. We customized the interface to suit the publisher’s language requirements, and we now have a happy customer who had increased his frontlist by 30% within six months.”
Another large higher-ed publisher adopted XEditPro as the company’s unified editorial and production system for all titles after a successful trial 16 months ago. “Their production and content editors were trained on the system, and they went to the extent of making quick corrections onsite and generating PDFs for their online products,” Balakrishnan adds, pointing out “by taking full advantage of XEditPro’s digital capabilities and concurrent ePub and relevant HTML deliveries, the editors have shaved six weeks off their project lead time.”
DiTech Process Solutions
While sourcing for a journal-production system with the best turnaround time, one of the world’s largest medical publishers came to know about JMaster, a module within DiTech’s 3ClicksMaster that caters to journal publishing. “JMaster gives the publisher an automated platform for all their typesetting needs and the ability to process a single article within 15 minutes,” company founder and CEO Nizam Ahmed says. “This increases the publisher’s productivity immensely. At the same time, the auto-email feature provides the ability to send first proofs to the authors for proofing on the fly, further improving the author-feedback mechanism. And with JMaster being a cloud-based platform, it is easily integrated within the publisher’s journal-production workflow, allowing them to use it from different offices around the world.”
JMaster’s efficiency and fast turnaround has led to a high rate of acceptance within the publisher’s network, including its authors and clients, who are benefitting from the shorter time to market with new content.
Exeter Premedia Services
When one client in the life-sciences space developed a content-validation schematron per in-house rules and guidelines, the Exeter team worked on integrating the schematron into Kriya, its cloud-based publishing platform. “Now all content produced on our platform for this publisher passes through the schematron and is validated prior to publication,” explains Ravi Venkataramani, cofounder and CEO of Exeter Premedia Services. “The solution is also designed to automatically raise queries to stakeholders based on the schematron process results, thereby greatly cutting down on the manual efforts. It also ensured that the content that is supplied downstream is of higher quality.”
For another project, the Exeter team developed a system of audit bots to ensure that various interconnected systems within Kriya are in sync and that the content links are active and valid. “These bots monitor all actions automatically and raise triggers when an expected event does not occur for some reason,” Venkataramani explains, adding that “the triggers are sent to our support team, which is then able to take the necessary actions proactively. We plan on expanding the scope of these bots to track various actions done on Kriya and significantly enhance the user experience.”
One of the most exciting projects at HurixDigital in recent months was its K–12 Digital Content Library, a repository of more than 2,500 science and mathematics videos built meticulously for middle school and high school students. The library consists of Independent Learning Nuggets (ILNs) that are rich with multimedia and are developed with the needs of today’s digital-native students in mind.
Each ILN, mapped according to independent-learning objectives, runs between five and 10 minutes and is in a mobile-ready format. “These ILNs are primarily 3-D animations that have been developed by a team of instructional designers and reviewed and approved by grade-appropriate teachers and subject-matter experts. They have been tested in classrooms and are used as effective teaching and learning aids in schools worldwide,” says Subrat Mohanty, CEO of HurixDigital, adding that his team “will customize and localize these learning nuggets in consultation with the client to map them to curriculum standards, language needs, and learning objectives.”
RCNi’s Decision Support Tool (DST) has taken Impelsys beyond its core business of publishing and edTech. Implemented in January 2019, it is currently the only point-of-care decision-support tool in the U.K., and it is designed specifically for nurses working in community and hospital settings. “This tool helps practitioners to reach informed decisions at bedside or location of care within 20 to 30 minutes of presentation of a variety of conditions or situations,” explains Uday Majithia, assistant v-p of technology, services, and presales at Impelsys. “For DST, we have the end-to-end content production workflow—from authoring to peer-review process to editing and QC measures—effortlessly accomplished through the CMS.”
Another project revolves around the adoption of iPC Scholar by a prominent American oncology society. “The society wants to build an authoritative LMS that can support a blended model of professional learning for its members, which include nurse practitioners, doctors, and clinical support staff,” Majithia adds, pointing out that “a proposed Learning Records Store [LRS], a central repository of certificates which will be available both online and offline, will solidify the society’s commitment towards overall professional development and continuing education for oncology professionals.”
A time-sensitive project of complex LaTeX/XML math conversion with non-editable input files put Lapiz Digital’s expertise to the test. “We had to complete more than 1,000 pages per day,” v-p Meena Prakash says, adding that the complexities of the project made training associates on LaTeX conversion even more time-consuming. “Automation was built into the project right from the start to do the tagging, conversion, and validation. We also brought the entire process into a workflow-management system portal so that associates couldn’t skip any of the process steps without triggering an alert. All these ensured that the project was completed on time and at the highest quality possible.”
For one global provider of professional information, the Lumina Datamatics team is working on updating more than 110 reports and newsletters. For the daily newsletters, stories that came in via email had to be edited, marked up, composed, reviewed by the client, and published online within five to eight hours upon receipt. “The weekly and monthly reports, which are more complex, require attorneys to analyze legislative updates available on state websites, and classify and codify them. We then convert it to XML, and compose and publish the reports on the clients’ online platform,” vice chairman Vidur Bhogilal says, who has set up skills-based teams in multiple locations to handle the project.
Another client, also from the same information space, was keen to automate its magazine and newsletter abstracts. “Our goal is to reduce the time to market by using automation to do various tasks— data extraction of the print titles, creating documents in the database, collecting metadata wherever possible, classification, hyperlinking to legislation, and checking the quality of the resultant XML prior to loading the completed files,” Bhogilal adds. “The biggest challenges lie in the language of the content—which is in Dutch and French—and the different extraction processes and instructions required for each of the magazines.”
When an American nonprofit educational publisher came looking for a technology partner with the capabilities to fully integrate content-production process using cloud-based platforms, editorial tools, and scalable production services, MPS offered an end-to-end solution based on industry standards. Several modules of the MPS DigiCore digital-publishing suite were integrated, including DigiXML (for pre-editing and styling), MPS DigiEdit (for online editing and XML review and editing), MPS DigiComp (an automated composition engine), and MPSTrak to manage the workflow system. “We also added a third-party digital-asset management platform integrated with MPSTrak, content analysis and mapping against DTDs, integrated validation and QC tools, and cloud-based reviewing and corrections handling,” CEO Rahul Arora says.
His team was also given the task of developing a unique game-based simulation app for one of India’s largest life insurance companies. “The app uses a virtual board game format, where the player avatars move through various tiles that represent life and money events,” Arora explains. “The players’ investment decisions impact their financial status as well as their retirement corpus fund, thereby underscoring the importance of smart insurance and financial planning in securing one’s future.” The project’s main challenge, Arora adds, “was in avoiding heavy-selling the insurance plans while tying in all the products that the client wishes to promote through the app within the overall story and game progression.”
The development of Article Profiler, an NLP-based product that segments articles based on metadata, and on processing an article across various stages of production, has kept the team at TNQ Technologies busy. “This product has various use cases in supplier and publisher workflows,” explains Shanthi Krishnamurthy, chief domain officer at TNQ Technologies. “When we started this project, we were confident that we had sufficient data available for the machine learning program. But we soon realized that our data was too small, and so we increased our X variables from 60-plus in Phase One to 220-plus in Phase Seven. Unsupervised learning methods such as clustering and principal-component analysis were then added to further provide excellent insights, comparable to human data analytical skills.”
Another project was for a publisher facing very specific local challenges around the way in which dual-language versions of journals were managed. “We spent a significant amount of time onsite to understand the client’s specific needs, current systems, and what they wanted to offer to their authors and reviewers,” says Gary Scott, v-p of products, whose team then performed a gap-analysis against TNQ’s range of products. “Because our products are built to be configurable and extensible, we were able to integrate and tailor two of our core solutions—RevView Central and Nimble—to meet the client’s specific needs. Then we provided extensive support for training, configuration, and data migration. This solution is now live for several journals, with many more to be rolled out soon.”