September 19th Collaborative Design Workshop

On September 19th, UC Press and the CDL hosted a collaborative design workshop at UC Press’s Oakland offices at which we walked through an early version of Editoria, and began to imagine how publishers outside of our organization would approach using a system such as this.  Much of the meeting was facilitated by Adam Hyde, co-founder of the Collaborative Knowledge Foundation, who walked us through both the application and the collaborative design process.  Adam has been blogging about this process recently, and we have found it to be quite successful in the development of the application. Adam’s fellow co-founder, Kristen Ratan, also joined us.  We were delighted to welcome representatives from the following organizations:

The goal of the meeting was to introduce to users from outside UC Press and the CDL to the system as it had been conceived and built to date, gather input, and determine whether we were on the right track by analyzing workflows within these other organizations.


This was an energizing and very provocative session that really challenged everyone to think about book production in a different way, and we’re very grateful to all of the participants for their openness to this approach.

The application as we reviewed it now contains three primary interfaces for managing the book production process:

  • The Dashboard—The dashboard gives users an overview of the books that they are working on and the current status.
  • The Book BuilderThe Book Builder is the primary organizational tool for managing the various components of the books in production.  We have blogged about the the book builder before, and it has become a critical interface for the development of the book.  In addition, the book builder now contains an interface for managing the teams who are involved in making a book.  The teams and roles within the teams are flexible, and they can be used to assign tasks in the system.
  • The Editor—The editor is another major hub of the system. It is where manuscript styling, copyediting, and editing review will happen, so we are now very focused on building the very best editor that we can build.

In addition, we have also built some automation into the creation of PDF files from HTML source using the Vivliostyle CSS typesetting engine.  Currently, it is envisioned that the outputs from the system will be a print-ready PDF and an EPUB file.

Through the workflow mapping exercise which we undertook as part the collaborative design process, we were excited to mostly validate that most of the functionality that users would expect to see in such a system can reasonably be accommodated in the existing interfaces that we have spec’d out.  The session did bring to light that many of us manage things like art and manuscript styling in unique and different ways and often at different points in the process, and we will obviously need to address those issues as adoption of the system widens in the future.

In the meantime, we are grateful to the users who engaged in the session with us, and continue to work on our initial build.  We are currently busy working on the development of the editor that will be used in the system, which will require things like annotation capabilities and some functionality similar to Word’s track changes.  We look forward to sharing updates with you on those soon.

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