Case study Don Bosco

About Don Bosco

Don Bosco Medien is one of the leading, traditional and independent publishing houses for early education and religion. They offer a variety of products aimed at children's day-care centers, schools, families, parishes and perople working in the elderly and adult education sectors. The complete publishing program currently comprises of about 700 available titles. About 50-80 titles are added half-yearly. Don Bosco also produces flyers, advertising concepts and websites for external customers as well as several periodical publications such as the children's magazine "Spatz" and the "Don Bosco Magazine".

What was your initial situation? 

The creation and editing of texts, documents and manuscripts was carried out unstructured on the basis of MS Word. The unstructured texts were difficult to process within the sentence and could not be reused or "Multmedial" reused. The last version oft he text was in the set document and was therefore only available for production.

Collaboration, that is working together on the same document, was very difficult, especially for magazines. There were many revision cycles, the communication was confusing and a task management did not take place at all. In addition, there was no evidence of usage nor versioning and temporary working copies without a check-in/check-out mechanism resulted in confusing file collections and data loss.

All contents, images and print data were stored in an interlaced but clearly arranged folder structure in the file system. However, due to lack of time, a clean archiving and verification of data was rare.

The majority of all relevant files were redundant and in different versions. Data, especially images, could hardly be found because they were not tagged and often stored in individual folder structures. Thus, simple purchased images or pictures were lost or were acquired several times.

Because there was not a tool that marked the current status of a project, tasks were forgotten or noted in cumbersome individual Excel lists.

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How did you search for a project partner and how was the right one found? 

First, we defined the initial situation, target status and requirement for a software solution detailed in a specification sheet. Then we invited various service providers and they presented their solutions. Xpublisher was able to convince us with its uncomplicated and modern software solution. Particularly remarkable for us as a publishing house was the simple and intuitive handling of the editiorial software. Furthermore, the fact that Xpublisher adapts itself very much to the existing processes was convincing.

Which solution was found? 

The content is recorded by external authors, e.g. in MS Word. The editor then reads this data as plain text into Xpublisher. In Xpublisher, the content is edited, structured and enriched with images, music typesetting, etc. from the integrated image database by the editor using the integrated XML editor Xeditor.

If the manuscript is already in use, the production department can import the content into specially prepared InDesign master documents using the InDesign plug-in. Depending on the complexity of the product, fully or semi-automatic layouts can be generated. A bidirectional interface also allows production to make changes to layout and text and write back to Xpublisher. After the initial set, the plug-in automatically provides a production overview and a PDF view for revision. The proofreading can now incorporate corrections in the text contents that are then reintroduced into the print data. After the print release, the print PDF and reading samples are automatically generated from the open print data.

The process described is supported by a simple workflow for images, texts and print data. Moreover, it is possible to assign unique responsibilities to each step of a project, whereby each user always has an individual list of all open tasks on his user interface.

In addition to all the images in the products, the media database also manages covers, authors' photos and images used in the web. The stored images are enriched with their usage rights and copyright data and are tagged by an in-house taxonomy tree. Using a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop, the external image processing can access images and restore them directly to the image database after processing.

Xpublisher also archives the MS Word document of the original manuscript and automatically creates a new version, which can be restored at any time, after every re-entry into the database. Thus the versioning is ensured.

How did the implementation process go? 

During intensive workshops lasting several days, we developed concrete solutions from the previously defined requirements and developed a concept that describes the software solution to be implemented as detailed as possible. Xpublisher then worked on an offer as well as a project plan. During the subsequent implementation of the solution, we continued to work intensively on fine specifications and process descriptions for the target processes. In doing so, all processes had to be kept as simple as possible in order not to make the system cumbersome and immobile through too much functionality.

The implementation phase was relatively short, and after five months a first functional version of the application could be deployed.

A year, or two publishing programs, was planned for the introduction of the software solution.

In the first publishing program, each lecturer was entrusted with the task of implementing at least one project with the new system. Many minor problems were discovered and corrected.

The second publishing program was then almost completely produced in Xpublisher. The co-operation between the in-house project management, Xpublisher and the users was very tight during this phase, in order to prepare the employees as well as possible for the work with the new system. In addition, it was carefully made to detect and remove minor errors in the solution. At regular meetings with all participants the solution approaches were inquired, expanded and adapted. The final solution is now available for the third publishing program. Upgrades, enhancements are in the planning process.

What were the challenges? 

Initially, the fundamental new approach to see content only in its structure and detached from the output media caused problems with almost all employees. On top of this was the adaptation phase to the new "tool". With MS Word, the editors had a familiar tool that was tedious to use, but gave them great freedom in the "structuring" and commenting on the manuscripts. Also, for typesetting the work with Xpublisher was a changeover, since one had to always pay attention during the adaptation of the layout not to "destroy" the compliant scheme XML text flow.

There was some need for coordination, for example in the original manuscript recorded in Word or in the automatic page flow of the standard documents. The inclusion and qualification of inventory data was also underestimated. As before, several employees were regularly busy copying content that Xpublisher had not been able to automate.

What advantages does Don Bosco have with Xeditor/Xpublisher? And what ist he outlook? 

The integrated workflow makes it easier for employees to get an overview of the status of open projects or their own tasks. Xeditor, the XML editor, allows fast and unambiguous structuring of the content. Entries that are not valid within the DTD are not available. All content can also be placed directly in InDesign layouts via the attached Adobe InDesign plug-in. Changes in InDesign or Xpublisher are adopted bidirectionally. The possibilities for creating InDesign templates for the automated typesetting are very extensive and allow very sophisticated and small-scale layouts. The templates can be created relatively simple on our own. A great advantage of Xpublisher compared to competing products is the openness of the system. For example, a "conventional" sentence based on a MS Word or PDF document is also possible. This allows us to ensure that Xpublisher can also be used to produce post-releases or projects that are not suitable for processing as XML for various reasons. Archiving is (almost) automatic work. Reading samples, covers, etc. can be generated on-the-fly by the user. The media database saves a lot of search work in the medium term and avoids file duplicates.

Our conclusion: Standard products hardly cause any time-consuming production, more complex products run much faster and there is more time for new or even more compley ones!

In the medium and long term, the publishing concept of Don Bosco is to be optimized on the basis of the new findings and requirements on the market and implemented with Xpublisher. In addition, the production of marketing content, such as flyers and catalogs, will be integrated and Magazine/Journal editors affiliated. Further information through the introduction of InDesign servers is also under consideration.

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Additional information:

Xpublisher GmbH
Mr. Matthias Kraus
Managing Director, CEO
Schleißheimer Str. 6-10
80333 Munich, Germany
Tel.: +49 (0)89/ 54 716 178 - 50
Email: m.kraus@xpublisher.com