LShift is proud to announce that a significant grant from the
Technology Strategy Board has
been awarded for the design and development of the
Progressive Publishing System (PPS).
PPS will allow authors, designers, and publishers to automatically
convert existing electronic documents into standard e-publishing
formats. Existing conversion processes rely on a high degree of manual
intervention, require a mixture of costly, and often proprietary,
software components while delivering unreliable results.
LShift, along with its project partners Mute
and Minibar Ventures,
applied for the funding at the beginning of 2011. We had already
developed a series of in-house technologies to accelerate and automate
the creation of our own documents and so joining forces with Mute (a
leading arts and technology publisher) and Minibar Ventures (a highly
regarded technology start-up advisor) meant that we would be guided in
applying our own efforts to other publishing scenarios and have access
to existing market intelligence.
With the vast range of electronic document formats, unique production
workflows and various methods for handling a document’s “metadata”
(information describing each document) LShift saw the development of PPS
as a complex problem well-suited to its expertise. PPS will allow
developers to extend the range of supported conversion formats as they
change and emerge over time. Not only will complex document structures
be supported (such as tables of contents, indexes, footnotes, endnotes
and image data) but so will any descriptive data associated with the
document. PPS will also support and preserve the data required by direct
distribution and sales platforms (Amazon, Neilsen etc.) for content
creators and publishers.
Along with its extensive metadata tools, PPS will allow users to preview
converted content and ‘teach’ the system custom conversion rules as
idiosyncracies in authorship or materials are discovered over time. The
platform will ultimately allow collaboration and document management
features to facilitate contributions from individuals and groups into
any point of the writing, design and editorial cycle of a document.
The system will go into private beta in February 2012 with several
publishers who are active in diverse content creation and distribution
channels. They include traditional book and magazine publishers through to
organisations with a high-profile online presence but who wish to
automate the conversion of legacy materials.