Interoperable epublishing software components

Robert Forkel, Max Planck Digital Library (in the Max Planck Society)

Abstract


In this paper we want to address the conference topic "Improving the features
and design of publishing software".

Starting from our own experience as publishers of electronic journals and
developers of epublishing software in the Living Reviews project
(http://dev.livingreviews.org/) we point out obstacles we met when trying to
apply our publishing model and software to new fields of science. Some of
these problems did stem from incompatibilities of a publishing model -
supported, but also dictated by our software - and the publishing culture of
the new field. Examples for this are different publication types, different
reviewing methods and the like.

We proceed by identifying these obstacles as instances of a wider problem,
namely the difficulty of matching diverse publishing needs with supporting
software. While quite a few epublishing solutions have been developed during
the last decade, they still do not cover all practiced publishing models. And
then there are new models developing, for example in the area of reviewing.
But there are examples of diversity in almost all aspects of epublishing -
from the types of publications (original research articles or reviews, static
or updateable content, ...) through the access model (subscription or not)
to dissemination and storage.

What we have gained, though, through all the development efforts is a good
understanding of what the main functional areas of epublishing are - no matter
how different they may look in different publishing models.

This insight into the structure of publishing ventures should be translated
into a component architecture for publishing software. Thus, we propose
interoperability on component level as one solution to the problems outlined
above. As a first step towards interoperability we describe a possible
architecture which introduces components as software units responsible for
the management of certain - epublishing specific - resources; we list examples
of such resources and components and propose technologies which may be used
to implement this architecture.

In conclusion we call the epublishing developers' community to tackle the
issue of interoperability.