University Web Developers

University Web Developers

Do you publish a magazine in print and online?

What does your workflow look like for this process?

Our story:
Our process is not terribly efficient.
* Editor writes/designs magazine
* Editor finalizes text in InDesign (meaning that is now the master copy)
* I then go back and copy/paste the InDesign content into our CMS. (I tried having students do the copy/paste, but they're not meticulous enough.)

We have the technology to publish online first, then take the XML into InDesign, but I know that our editor will balk at the change/having to learn a new trick (importing XML)

I'd love to be able to point to other institutions who have mastered this process. Anyone out there?

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Really wish we were going the XML > online + print route myself - we follow a very similar process as your story :)

I doubt we'll get to a point any time soon where the writers/editors can submit their content once and then have it repurposed automatically for both print and web versions, but our current goal is to at least have them submit it into a CMS for publishing online, as well as submitting it to the designers who then work on the print piece.

Where we want to head is to make the web version of the publication (for us it's more of a newspaper) to be an extension of the print so that it has everything that's in the printed publication, and more. So for example: publishing "extras" such as video/audio, including links to related stories or other sites online, including b-roll from the print production, allowing commenting, and providing tools to share/distribute the content online. I guess really just trying to apply a similar treatment to content and publications that other major newspapers have started to do.

That's the goal at least :)
Hey Adrian,

I doubt we'll get to a point any time soon where the writers/editors can submit their content once and then have it repurposed automatically for both print and web versions

Yeah, we probably won't have it automated by any means for a magazine, but when you can import the XML into InDesign, you can drag/drop it into the publication where you wish, which is what I imagine as the future.
Our magazine workflow is pretty much the same as yours--I'd like to move this to a system where text is finalized then sent to both the designer and the web team at the same time, but in reality, final proofing happens on the InDesign copy.

In the interest of getting more buy-in for the XML idea, we're working on a separate demo project: a two page brochure for each major, stored on the CMS in XML. We then generate HTML and InDesign versions from there. From there we move on to the catalog and, finally, hopefully, someday, the magazine.

I'm trying to keep us away from the Zmags route. Having a native web version allows better findability and makes it easier for alumni to share articles and features by e-mail or social media (we provide ShareThis buttons on each page to make that easier).
Our process for our alumni magazine:
Editorial team does the writing, sends writing to graphic designer who does layout/graphics work in Quark. Designer sends finalized magazine to print and final PDF back to me. I send PDF (with the exception of our Class Notes section - published separately online in alumni community) to Flipseek ( They convert to digital online format like this.

We wanted to make sure we weren't doing a lot of duplicate work by publishing in print and online. Rather than converting the magazine to web pages like we used to, we wanted it's online presence to remain magazine-like.

We've been using Flipseek for less than a year and are so far pleased with the results. We hope to expand our use of Flipseek's functionality by adding in contextual links and video down the road.

Are your readers and alums happy with the Flipseek version of your magazine? Do they find it easy to read? Newer alums and older ones? Do you have any anecdotes you could share?
Wow, I thought you were talking about our shop. We are in the same process (with the same details). I am going to follow this closely.

Indiana State
I would love to hear feedback on this as well as we have the same issue.

We are also currently redesigning our magazine site so any suggestions on that would also be appreciated!

We are moving away from a 'magazine looking' type of site (Flash) to straight HTML web pages.

I like these sites:
love the ability to share the story - at the bottom of each story there is a section where users can click on and share the story

Clean landing page design ( ) with navigation on the left and main features on the right with the right image to text ratio

I like the 'headline summary' section where you can see at a glance what is in the magazine -

Please pass along any examples you have seen.

Queen's University
(this might be a little more helpful for annalisa in re-reading it)

We took an entirely different approach. Though the feature articles in our magazine are online, our alumni really don't spend the time to read long articles on their computer (and if they do it's likely on a news site, not ours). Instead we provide them with content they can only find online and give them the tools to interact with it. A blog seemed perfect for this, allowing for video, photo galleries, polls, etc.

Getting the text of the articles up there is still a pain, even though it's just copying directly from pdf into wordpress.
This is a great topic and one that we see a lot of folks struggle with. Obviously, there needs to be checks and balances to any automation process, but a good CMS can truly enhance the process. I just participated in a webcast today with one of our clients (SUNY Stony Brook) who automated the process of publishing an online course catalog to both HTML and PDF. Their process begins with XML output from a PeopleSoft database. Much like the concept of publishing articles, the raw XML "source" flows easily through the CMS (in this case, OmniUpdate's OU Campus product) and allows for approvals, rewriting, and so forth, then is transformed by XSLT that is built into the CMS. The XSL stylesheets from the CMS ensure the exact output that everyone has agreed upon (HTML and PDF and perhaps more XML for InDesign, if desired).

Here's a picture that our friends at Stony Brook used to illustrate the process:

And here's a link to the recorded webcast if you'd like to hear them explain the process:

Once the process is automated, the cool thing is that it can save everyone time and keep things very consistent. In Stony Brook's case, they also saved big $$ because they eliminated printing (they mention in the webcast that they expect to save about $30,000/year).

Hope this helps in everyone's thought process. It's a very worthy topic!



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