StartWithXML: Why and How

XML-related sessions and tutorials have proven quite popular at our annual TOC Conference, and recent developments including the introduction of the Kindle, the iPhone 3G, and the IDPF’s EPUB standard have made understanding XML more important than ever for smart publishers.

But to get the most from an XML workflow, it must be seen as much more than just a tool or a technology: there are serious organizational and cultural issues that are in many ways even more challenging than the technology itself. To better understand these issues and to help publishers deal with them, we’ve teamed up with the Idea Logical Company on a project we’re calling “StartWithXML: Why and How.”

StartWithXML is an effort to understand and spread the knowledge publishers need to move forward with XML. It’s about the business issues driving the “why” of XML in publishing and the technical and organizational issues, strategies, and tactics underlying the “how” of getting started. The project includes:

  • An open online survey meant to capture a broad overview of the issues surrounding XML for publishers.
  • A one-day forum scheduled for Jan. 13, 2009 at the McGraw-Hill Auditorium in New York. Through panels and presentations, you’ll spend the morning understanding the “why” of XML, and the afternoon learning about “how” to move forward. (Space is limited, so save your seat now.)
  • A research report that will include background info, case studies, best practices, technology and vendor profiles, and interviews discussing the factors that make a “StartWithXML” workflow both useful and tricky.
  • An online conversation, including a blog, an open comments area for you to weigh in on the report’s outline while it’s in progress, and a general discussion forum (built out as a group within the new TOC Community).

Idea Logical CEO Mike Shatzkin is detailing the project at today’s annual meeting of the Book Industry Study Group, which is providing support for the project and forum. Mike will be blogging on the StartWithXML website, alongside Brian O’Leary, Ted Hill, and Laura Dawson, who are all participating in the research behind the project.

We’re trying to cast a wide net with the survey, so even if you’re not currently doing much with XML, we want your input.

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