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C-2-C Project

Creator-to-Consumer in a Digital Age

Published Research

Series Two

Book 2.3
Digital Book Production and Supply Chain Management Utilities
Edited by Bill Cope and Dean Mason

Five hundred and fifty years after Gurenberg's world-changing inventions of modularisation mass production, we find the book production industry once again undergoing a technological revolution. The computer and the Internet are popularly given credit as the definitive technologies that are changing the world. But the digital revolution may only be doing many of the things that have been done before. The Internet, for instance, does much of what books already do.

This volume describes critical developments in the process for manufacturing words, in the converging technologies of digital print and etext. It looks at the ways in which the different players along the supply chain can be, and increasingly are being, interconnected by digital technologies.

What is truly new about the new technologies is that through the convergence enabled by the use of sophisticated metadata and metalanguages, content management, process management and financial management can all occur in and around a single electronic file - a book - as it flows from creator to consumer.

The tools for these processes and the processes themselves, as well as new ways in which traditional industry sectors can change to meet the challenges of digitisation, are discussed at length within this work. In particular, new meanings and contexts are given to ISBNs, DOIs, metadata, ecommerce, granularity, the PDF file, library cataloguing and electronic job numbering within the digital supply chain.

The material in this volume has been developed as part of a wider collaborative research project entitled 'Future Markets and Future Products in the Book Production Industry: A program of New Knowledge Creation, Supply Chain-wide Awareness and Cultural Change', undertaken by Common Ground Publishing in partnership with RMIT University.

Our research is funded under the Infrastructure and Industry Growth Fund (IIGF) and the Book Production Enhanced Printing Industry Competitiveness Scheme (EPICS) Grant of the Australian Government's Department of Industry, Science and Resources.


The aim of this research was to identify the core digital production utilities for the book industry that, if developed, would provide industry-wide efficiencies and international competitive advantage in the areas of:

  1. consistent product identification — ean, isbn, url, barcoding, print job numbering, DOI (digital object identifier);
  2. managing the digital workflow;
  3. file management and archiving standards;
  4. making efficient and cost effective links with retail product information and consumer search systems: e.g. links with Books in Print, Bookfind, and internet resource discovery frameworks such as Dublin Core, IMS and digital object identifiers.

Main research tasks included:

  1. Analysis of industry-wide infrastructural needs. These needs encompassed the functions of writing, content management, layout, typesetting, printing, marketing, distributing, mapping to standards, digital rights and royalty payments, and e-commerce transactions.
  2. Systematic overview of the major international standards frameworks.
  3. Develop a set of recommendations to improve efficiencies and competitiveness for the majority of operators involved across the book production supply chain. For instance, this activity will consider questions such as: how would it be possible to establish a digital platform for Australian book identification and registration? In answering this question, major issues arise including: printer and publisher workflow management and job numbering; the operation of the ISBN agency and the interface with the National Library of Australia for CIP data; the interface with international bibliographic service providers for distribution and marketing purposes; and automatic mapping to international metadata standards (B-2-B e-commerce and internet resource discovery) for on-line selling requirements.
  4. Mapping of possible paths and strategies for the development of Astralian and international standards.

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