Laura Dawson

Laura Dawson is a 20-year veteran of the book industry, having worked in e-commerce (Barnes & Noble.com), libraries (SirsiDynix), and publishing (Doubleday and Bantam). She is now an independent consultant offering expertise on the digital transition, and she writes a bi-weekly newsletter about issues in that transition called The Big Picture". Her clients have included McGraw-Hill, Alibris, Ingram Library Services, Bowker, and Muze.

Some Tasty Bits from the StartWithXML UK Survey

We've got some raw results from the StartWithXML survey in the UK, and they are very different in some respects from the US survey we did. Some salient points:48.7% of the respondents were in the STM market, followed by trade (24.4%) and college (16%).The bulk of respondents were from large houses – 50.4% – and the rest were evenly divided…

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CSS in an XML Workflow

At the StartWithXML Forum in New York in January, Rebecca Goldthwaite of Cengage gave a great demonstration of how Cengage uses CSS in their XML workflow. Many publishers regard style sheets as an invitation to create cookie-cutter book production, with the fear that all their books will look the same. This is emphatically a myth. Have a look at her…

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StartWithXML is Going to London

StartWithXML will be continuing in London! On September 2nd, at the British Library, we'll be conducting a one-day forum similar to the one we held in New York last January, but with a British publishing focus. Our sponsors for this event include Klopotek, MarkLogic, PLS, BIC, Publishers' Association, and of course O'Reilly. We're still in the process of firming up…

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Taxonomies and Starting With XML

This is an excerpt from a blog post I wrote last week on taxonomies and chunking. Last October, the StartWithXML team wrote a post called "To Chunk or Not To Chunk," where we discussed tagging and infrastructure issues, and a discussion ensued about what happens when you don't know what you'll be using chunks for. How do you tag those?…

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Coverage of StartWithXML

Turns out I was not the only one on Twitter for the StartwithXML Forum on January 13th. Joe Bachana was tweeting as well. Kind of interesting to see the posts side-by-side. David Rothman of Teleread also has some great things to say, as does Richard Curtis over at e-reads. We also got nice coverage from PW, as well as Publishers…

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A Correction!

Frank Grazioli, of Wiley, writes in to correct my last post about taxonomies: Wiley has been exploring taxonomies for its travel content business; the cooking/psych/accounting spaces might be our next logical opportunities because the disciplines are well developed, specific, etc., that content is authored or edited in fairly controlled templates that map to our own XML content models and our…

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Beyond the Tag Cloud

This is an excerpt from our research paper, which will publish in concert with the StartWithXML Forum on January 13th at the McGraw-Hill Auditorium in New York. Early bird discounting for BISG members is ending soon! A good taxonomy is the backbone of your business — it's how you sort your content. It allows for effective merchandising, effective marketing –…

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To Chunk or Not To Chunk?

This is excerpted from a column I wrote for the most recent issue of The Big Picture, my free newsletter about technology and the book industry. As we're proceeding with Start With XML, I'm thinking a lot about chunking. Chunking, at least as we're talking about it, means carving up your content into chunks and distributing those discrete pieces of…

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What We Talk About When We Talk About XML (Apologies to Raymond Carver)

Acronyms and initialisms are mysterious and potent, and frequently hide meaning and become shorthand for larger concepts. Just as ONIX became shorthand for "metadata,, XML (at least in book publishing land) is becoming shorthand for … well, a lot of things. Repurposing content, creating templates for book design, tagging — all of these are encompassed in the term "XML workflow."…

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