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GCN : December 2012
26 GCN DECEMBER 2012 • GCN.COM The Government Printing Office this fall began to roll out a new software system that will enable direct for- matting of XML documents for electronic and print publication. "We're replacing a 30-year-old composition engine used for the composition of the majority of our congressional documents," said CTO Ric Davis. The new system, the XML Pro- fessional Publisher (XPP) from SDL, a British information and document management com- pany, will streamline and stan- dardize the job of preparing for publication documents that are received in a variety of formats. Specifically it will facilitate the job of handling documents using the Extensible Markup Language, which is being adopted by govern- ment as the standard for manag- ing digital information, said Jim Bender, GPO's assistant produc- tion manager. XML documents now must be converted to a proprietary Micro- comp format for typesetting. "We will avoid that transformation step and publish directly from the XML," Bender said. XPP is an industrial strength tool built to handle the variety, volume and rapid publishing schedule of the GPO, one of the world's largest printers, said John Hoffman, principal project man- ager at SDL. "It's not something that's built for a mom and pop shop," he said, and praised the GPO staff for its ability to meet tight production schedules using the home-grown Microcomp, which relies on a col- lection of various codes for type- setting different types of docu- ments and exists in a number of versions. "They are using an assembly line made for Edsels, and are still getting cars out," he said, refer- ring to the failed Ford auto of the late 1950s. "When something works and you have a lot of dead- lines, you don't want to stop to fix it. But the world changes," he said. Those changes include the growing use of electronic publish- ing for many government docu- ments, and Congress' adoption of XML as a tool for producing GOALS: Streamline and standardize publication of documents received in a variety of formats and facilitate all document handling using Internet standard Extensible Markup Language (XML). TACTICS: Replace a 30-year-old composition engine that has been used for publishing the majority of congressional documents. Phase in a new system for handling all publishing with XML, which is being adopted by government as the standard for managing digital information. TOOLS: XML Professional Publisher (XPP) from U.K. document man- agement firm SDL, an "industrial strength" tool to support GPO's publishing volume drirectly from XML. The Government Printing O ce begins a transition to direct digital formatting of documents for both electronic and print publication XML FIRST: GPO'S PLAN TO MOVE TO DIGITAL PUBLISHING CASE STUDY