IPEd 2017

Evolving tools for digital publications: Stephen White’s presentation at IPEd 2017

This session was really eye opening. Stephen started with the question of what exactly constituted a digital publication. What is a digital publication? 

He urged us to think beyond text alone on a page. Digital publications can include maps, atlases and other interactive works online or offline. 

But there is a problem with editing such works. While the tools to create and deliver such works exist, there often are no simple functions built into the tools for the ease of editing the information in the work. Information within the works has to be pulled out, edited in other software and pieced back into the work, looked at in context with other pieces of information and then if needed, be taken out to be edited again before being put back together. This messy workflow only gets more complicated when graphics and additional layers of information for interactivity are also included or required in the work. 

Stephen’s question was simple – was there a program out there – either an add on or standalone software that could allow easy editing while within the work, where changes and comments could be tracked and linked to points in any dataset or database that came along with an interactive work or atlas or map? 

And if there wasn’t anything available, then why not? Why not develop something that could do this even if only for a very niche market? 

The question and answer session indicated that there might indeed be some proprietary software developed for exactly this problem in use in some states government departments already but it was unclear whether it fit the specific needs of Stephen’s department. There was also much consideration as to how best to develop it whether it would be best to involve additional functionality in the existing content creation programs or create a new program to run concurrently. 

If you have any ideas, please leave a comment. Keep an eye out for more updates from the conference as well as a wrap up. 

Marisa is a globetrotting freelance writer, journalist and editor with cat for hire (her, not the cat). She is currently based in Melbourne.

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