Making it digital

Why making it digital is so different to making it for paper

Just a few tweaks and we can make paper resources into digital ones, can’t we? Well no, and here’s why:

As specialists in digital media for education, one of our core activities is the design and production of digital resources for educational publishers. These publishers, typically, are traditional organisations whose businesses have been built on the publishing of educational books and other printed matter.

Now, in the 21st century, with technology sophistication and the ubiquity of digital media in all of our lives (partially due to the demise of analogue TV by 2012), these very same publishers are having to turn their attention to the publishing of digital media. For many publishers this has initially meant the production and publication of digital media resources linked to published books. In time, more publishers will produce resources that do not have a book element and are complete digital resources in their own right.

For most publishers the transition is a pretty painful one because it involves more than just tweaking a few processes. It involves very real and significant change.

There are high-level strategic decisions to be taken including: what digital publishing platforms (e.g. CD-ROM, DVD, web, mobile devices, Broadband and IPTV, other devices e.g. DS, Wii, psp, etc.) should be addressed; what distribution mechanisms (e.g. on-line subscription, e-commerce, mail order, etc.) should be employed, now and in the future; where does ‘digital’ publishing sit within the organisation in relation to brand, marketing, markets.

One of the key considerations in this is what new opportunities does the dawning of digital media bring.

The decisions taken around these questions and the aims and objectives that come from these considerations then filter down to the practical level of how to achieve them, both at an organisational level and at a day-to-day operational level.

But to be able to make informed judgements both about what the new opportunities are, and what organisational changes will be required to address them, it is essential to be clear about what the day-to-day operational requirements are. And also to understand that the processes, skills and experience required in producing interactive digital media resources are very different to those required in producing printed resources.

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