Academic publisher IGI Global dramatically increased productivity after developing an agile in-house publishing system with Typefi and Inera eXtyles at the core.
Founded in 1988, IGI Global is a leading international academic publisher committed to facilitating the discovery of pioneering research that enhances and expands the body of knowledge available to the research community.
From its headquarters in Hershey, Pennsylvania (USA), IGI Global produces and disseminates premier and peer-reviewed content to international researchers, scholars and librarians worldwide.
IGI Global’s 11 core subject areas include Business and Management, Computer Science and Information Technology, Education, Engineering, Environment and Agriculture, Government and Law, Library and Information Science, Media and Communications, Medicine and Healthcare, Security and Forensics, and Social Sciences and Humanities.
In 2002, IGI Global launched the InfoSci®-Database platform, which has since grown to offer electronic access to IGI Global’s entire collection of advanced e-books, e-journals and videos in a state-of-the-art, XML-powered platform and search engine.
The need for a unified in-house production system
Until 2009, IGI Global publications were manually typeset using Adobe PageMaker. Most of the typesetting was done externally, and production of each output format—print, web PDF, and XML—was handled separately, involving duplication of effort.
There was also no centralised system for storing content, which made it challenging to maintain control of content assets.
IGI Global realised its systems were unwieldy, unproductive, and costing money and business opportunities. In its search for a solution, IGI Global evaluated outsourcing all production, but ultimately decided to bring production in-house.
“We made the strategic decision to make a large up-front investment in developing an in-house system to gain benefits in the long run,” said Dr Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, President and CEO of IGI Global. “There were no long-run benefits in outsourcing.”
IGI Global needed an automated in-house publishing solution that would provide effective content management, faster production, delivery of XML in formats required by partners, and the ability to easily repurpose content.
A three-part system: Inera eXtyles + CMS + Typefi
The initial solution was a combination of Inera eXtyles, off-the-shelf content management (CMS) software, and Typefi. eXtyles was used for editing and XML conversion of content, while the CMS managed XML, XSLT, and the interface with Typefi.
After about two years, the IGI Global team realised that it needed more flexible software for managing the interface between eXtyles and Typefi. In 2011 IGI Global built its own in-house workflow management system under the management of Justin North, Director of Information Technology and Communication.
“The off-the-shelf software actually hid the detail of how Typefi really worked,” Justin said. “Once we were using the Typefi API, we really began to understand the potential of the software, and the breadth of the API.”
The result was an in-house system that was fully integrated with eXtyles and Typefi, and which also met all of the original objectives.
All publications could be produced in this system by 12–14 production staff, with just one specialist designer creating the output templates and setting them up within Typefi.
IGI Global has continued to develop and refine the platform for maximum benefit, navigating the complexities and in-house changes attendant on any large software project.
“No two publishers do things the same way, so any system has to be modified to suit a publisher’s particular requirements,” Mehdi said. “We learned what works and what doesn’t work.”
Reliability, productivity, and new ways of thinking about content
IGI Global now maintains full in-house control over its content assets and has enjoyed major gains in the two primary areas it uses to measure the success of its publishing system—reliability and productivity.
“Reliability has increased significantly since we began using our own interface,” Justin said. “The system has been refined now to the point that we are really seeing the benefits, maybe 80–90% to our advantage.”
This reliability underpins IGI Global’s fast growth in an adverse economic climate. In 2009, before the new system was implemented, IGI Global produced 120 books and 50 journals annually; by 2012 those numbers had roughly tripled to 350–360 books and 145 journals.
Production staff members have broadened their focus from print outputs, and now understand and think creatively about the XML needs for online outputs.
The ability to easily convert content into XML with eXtyles and produce numerous outputs with Typefi also enabled IGI Global to take advantage of print-on-demand technologies, an unexpected benefit that would have been difficult to realise using the old processes.
Continued growth thanks to a mutually-beneficial relationship
Dr Mehdi Khosrow-Pour said one of the most pleasing aspects of the project was the ongoing relationship with Typefi, which he jokingly described as a marriage.
“Each side needs a clear understanding of the other side, so that the relationship benefits both. Typefi really understands that,” he said.
“Typefi has been responsive to our needs—they have worked at understanding our objectives and how we can benefit from the software. Our experience with Typefi has been very positive.”
In 2018, IGI Global celebrated 30 years of academic publishing excellence, and its ever-expanding portfolio now contains over 4,500 reference books, 175 highly indexed journals, and 100 video lectures.
Through a commitment to sound ethical practices, customer-centric values, and an agile publishing process with Typefi and eXtyles at its heart, IGI Global is well-placed to continue offering cutting-edge resources that fuel innovations and inspire positive societal changes around the globe.
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