Digital Production and Workflow Management
Digital Production and Workflow Management
- 20 students
- 4 courses
This course covers the basics of working with content and examines issues associated with design and production of printed books, ebooks and digitally published products.
Going Global: How to Take a Local Publishing Company to International Heights (PART TWO / Advanced Level)
A module by Filipe Silva
Learning Objective: To develop a deeper understanding of the international publishing business, particularly in targeting to local audiences and reviewing global challenges in selling to local markets. An overview on how to use the power of rights and translations to expand your global footprint, establishing the right business model and creating an international sales force and strategy.
Going Global: How to Take a Local Publishing Company to International Heights (PART ONE)
A module by Filipe Silva
Learning Objective: To understand the broad concepts and partners related to international sales, and exploring Print Book, eBooks and Audiobooks formats in international markets. An overview of the main bookfairs around the world and making meaningful market partner connections.
Questions about Digital Production and Workflow Management?
Who is this course for?
This course is aimed at those wanting to work in, or better understand, the production function within publishing. Although it is adapted from the MA Publishing via distance learning at Oxford Brookes University, this course assumes no prior knowledge of the topic and explores print and digital production tasks and responsibilities from junior to managerial level. While the course materials do discuss a range of publishing products and sectors the focus is predominantly on book and ebook publishing.
The course represents about 50 hours of independent study via reading of the written chapters and completion of the skills builder activities. All resources needed to complete the course are either provided or freely available in the public domain.
Course Description: Digital Production and Workflow Management
This course covers the basics of working with content and examines issues associated with design and production of printed books, ebooks and digitally published products. Particular attention is given to analysing and evaluating the ways in which technology and innovation influence the way products are developed, produced and distributed by the publishing industry through a range of examples and case studies.
In addition to practical details of working with content the course also covers essential management skills within the production environment such as planning, organising, briefing, costing, supplier management and controlling a project from inception to completion are discussed and practised through skills building activities.
With born-digital products the eventual route to market can dictate the production specification from the outset therefore the final chapters of the course explore digital products and their business models in more detail.
By the end of the course you will be able to:
- Understand how books and ebooks are created, manufactured, and distributed and the principles of doing so sustainably and responsibly.
- Evaluate the digital production processes and functions such as scheduling, estimating, quality management, costs and specifications for print and electronic products.
- Assess the strategic implications of the impact of technological and other forces of change on the way publishing’s creative industries specify, design and produce their products.
- Evaluate key issues that impact on design and production strategies and practices in an international context of print and digital publishing media.
- Assess project management approaches for processing and distributing products in appropriate international commercial and operational contexts.
1: Innovation in Publishing
Chapter 2: Introduction to digital workflow
Chapter 3: Content, structure and markup
Chapter 4: Design and composition
Chapter 5: Printing
Chapter 6: Project management
Chapter 7: Briefing, scheduling and estimating
Chapter 8: Managing suppliers
Chapter 9: Digital products 1
Chapter 10: Digital products 2
Recommended Texts & Resources
Each chapter within this course has a dedicated bibliography at the end, as well as further reading. These sources were originally selected from the Oxford Brookes University library collection and we are conscious they are somewhat UK centric. Below are some key texts and resources that you may find useful.
Publishing in general
If you are new to publishing and would like a general primer on the industry we recommend you start with Inside Book Publishing by Giles Clark and Angus Phillips and Contemporary Publishing and the Culture of Books edited by Alison Baverstock, Richard Bradford and Madelena Gonzalez. Beyond the current industry landscape, the purpose of publishing and publishers is theorised at a macro level in The Content Machine by Michael Bhaskar.
- Baverstock, A., Bradford, R. and Gonzalez, M. (eds) (2020) Contemporary publishing and the culture of books. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge
- Bhaskar, M. (2013) The content machine: towards a theory of publishing from the printing press to the digital network. London: Anthem Press.
- Clark, G. N. and Phillips, A. (2020) Inside book publishing. 6 ed. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
Print Book Production
If you are interested in knowing more about the function of print production departments and the impact of printing on the environment then Book Production by Adrian Bullock and The Green Design and Print Production Handbook by Adrian Bullock and Meredith Walsh are informative and practical resources. The Production Manual by Ambrose and Harris is more of a hands-on reference for graphic designers and goes into technical details such as the best way to create colour images intended for print or digital screens.
- Ambrose, G. and Harris, P. (2016) The production manual: a graphic design handbook. 2 ed. New York: Fairchild Books.
- Bullock, A. (2012) Book production. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
- Bullock, A. and Walsh, M. (2013) The green design and print production handbook. Cincinnati, Ohio: How Books.
We highly recommend you start by visiting Chris Jennings’ Digital Publishing Hub website dedicated to book and ebook production. As explained in the course, there are many ebook formats and the dominant ePub standard is an evolution of web technology therefore, other web development resources such as w3schools.com are also useful to bookmark.
- Jennings, C. (2022) Digital Publishing Hub [website] Available at: <https://www.publishsa.org>
- W3schools (2022) HTML [website] Available at: <https://www.w3schools.com/html/default.asp> and
- W3schools (2022) CSS [website] Available at: <https://www.w3schools.com/css/default.asp>
Page Design & Typography
If you want to know how to layout a page for optimum readability and aesthetic appeal and are keen to learn the rules to perfect margin width then Book typography: a designer's manual by Mitchell and Wightman is an excellent investment. On the other hand, if you want to learn how to use typographic software such as InDesign we have included a few suggestions below but be warned, print books on these topics can date quickly as software and standards are updated.
- French, N., Blatner, D. and Adobe Systems (2018) InDesign type: professional typography with adobe InDesign. Fourth edn. San Francisco, California: Adobe Press.
- Jennings, C. (2022) Digital Publishing Hub [website] Available at: https://www.publishsa.org
- Mitchell, M. and Wightman, S. (2005) Book typography: a designer's manual. Marlborough, Wiltshire: Libanus Press.
- Williams, R. (2015) The non-designer's design book: design and typographic principles for the visual novice. 4 ed. San Francisco, California: Peachpit Press.
Publishing in the Digital Age
The following two sources provide a neat pairing of then and now. The Maguire and O’Leary edited collection, Book: a futurist’s manifesto, reflects on a particular period in time when devices such as the Kindle and iPad launched consumer ebooks into the mainstream. John Thompson reflects in Book Wars on the impact that the digital revolution has had on the publishing industry over the subsequent decade.
- Maguire, H. and O'Leary, B. eds. (2012) Book: a futurist’s manifesto: essays from the bleeding edge of publishing. [ebook] Available at: [Accessed on 10 February 2022]
- Thompson, J.B. (2021) Book wars: the digital revolution in publishing. Cambridge: Polity
1.1 Chapter Aims
1.3 Analogue Institutions in a Digital World
1.4 Darnton’s Communication Circuit
1.5 Hype Cycle of Emerging Technology
1.6 Publishing Innovations: Content Creation
1.7 Publishing Innovation: Design & Layout
1.8 Publishing Innovation: Printing
1.9 Publishing Innovation: Distribution
1.10 RSS (Really Simple Syndication)
1.11 Creative Disruption
1.12 Opportunities for Growth
1.13 Chapter Summary
- To explore and evaluate how technology is changing the world of publishing
- To compare digital and analogue technologies and identify innovative technologies
- To examine current digital publishing practices and assess the issues publishers face
- To identify opportunities for growth and innovation, and predict opportunities
2.1 Chapter Aims
2.3 Digital Workflow
2.4 How is Workflow Different from Project Management?
2.5 Workflow Planning & Analysis
2.6 Production in Practice
2.7 Platforms, Operating Systems and Devices
2.8 File Management
2.9 Unique Identifiers
2.10 Version Control
2.11 Workflow Challenges
2.12 Chapter Summary
3.1 Chapter Aims
3.3 What is Markup?
3.4 Markup Taxonomies
3.5 Presentational and Procedural markup
3.6 Descriptive Markup
3.7 Understanding and Using HTML
3.8 Shifting from Print to Digital
3.9 Understanding and Using CSS
3.10 Adding Class Names for Semantic Detail
3.11 Understanding XML & DTDs
3.12 How do Publishers use XML?
3.13 Chapter Summary
4.1 Chapter Aims
4.3 Typesetting & Typography
4.4 Typefaces & Fonts
4.5 Composition Tools
4.8 Page Layout
4.9 Chapter Summary
5.1 Chapter Aims
5.3 Printing Technologies
5.4 How Does Litho Differ From Digital?
5.5 Deciding on Design, Colour and Paper
5.7 Paper & Ink
5.9 Finishing - Hardback
5.10 Finishing - Paperback
5.12 Print Suppliers
5.13 Green Printing
5.14 Chapter Summary
6.1 Chapter Aims
6.3 What is the Digital Project?
6.4 What is Project Management?
6.5 Project Management Techniques and Tools
6.6 Waterfall Project Management
6.7 Iterative Project Management
6.8 Agile Project Management
6.9 Digital Production in Practice
6.10 Managing and Controlling
6.11 Managing the Project Team
6.14 Risk Management
6.15 Project Closure
6.16 Chapter Summary
7.1 Chapter Aims
7.3 Briefing Prepress
7.6 The Print Specification
7.7 Estimating Print Products
7.9 Digital Product Development
7.10 Briefing for Digital
7.11 Functional & Technical Specifications
7.12 User Journeys
7.13 Content Inventory & Information Architecture
7.14 Navigation & Visual Design
7.16 Estimating Digital Products
7.17 Chapter summary
8.1 Chapter Aims
8.3 Types of Supplier
8.4 Finding Suppliers
8.5 Business-to-Business Suppliers
8.6 Managing Suppliers
8.7 Digital Service Providers
8.8 Key Performance Indicators
8.9 International Suppliers
8.10 Chapter Summary
9.1 Chapter Aims
9.3 Taxonomy of Digital Products
9.4 eReader Software and Devices
9.5 Ebook Formats
9.6 Portable Document Format (PDF)
9.7 Flowable ePub & Amazon Mobi
9.8 Fixed layout ePub
9.9 Ebook Apps
9.10 Chapter Summary (Part I)
10.1 Chapter Aims
10.3 Ebook Sales & Distribution
10.4 Digital First
10.5 Academic Sales Channels
10.6 Workflow Planning
10.7 Chapter Summary (Parts I and II)
10.8 Course Conclusion