Scitation® Expands Agile Publishing Infrastructure
Melville, NY, 28 May 2008 — The American Institute of Physics (AIP) announced today a major expansion of its development infrastructure for Scitation®, AIP's online publishing platform serving 25 scientific and technical publishers.
"The market for online content is expanding and Scitation® is growing with it," noted Paul DeCillis, Director of Online Publishing for AIP. "Over the past year our development team has pushed forward Scitation's infrastructure and functionality in several new directions in order to better serve our clients and position us for further expansion well into the future."
Central to the expansion is the implementation of a new agile publishing and product development environment comprised of the Mark Logic XML content server and a new enterprise web content management system. These extremely flexible and robust systems – integrated with the main Scitation® platform – will allow AIP and its publishing partners to accelerate the creation and deployment of new information products and online features, as well as to manage Scitation®, the 180 publication sites it powers, and the products themselves more efficiently.
According to DeCillis, Scitation's new infrastructure is supremely suited to repackaging content in new or experimental ways. "Mark Logic will not only allow publishers to more easily break down the silos between their own content, but also enable them to just as easily integrate their content with that of other publishers if required," DeCillis said. "In addition, one of our strategic initiatives is to add eBook hosting capabilities to Scitation®, and Mark Logic will enable us to deal with the special demands of rendering books online."
DeCillis added that the new infrastructure better positions Scitation® to serve as a next-generation platform, where applications and content are blended in order to put "content in context" for users. "Ultimately, we will be able to mine the data in Mark Logic, ferret out new relationships between scientific articles, and use those relationships to not only build new products very quickly, but to improve searching, provide guided navigation, and enhance discoverability. Mark Logic will also allow us to easily store and mine externally created content, especially content generated by users working with Web 2.0 and other social tools. We can use that data to enrich the context and connections around any piece of archival content in the base system."
In addition to infrastructure enhancements, Scitation's web engineering team continues to accelerate its agile development program. "Evolving the platform and its feature set is an ongoing process rooted in understanding client needs, working closely with users throughout the building and testing phases, and finding ways to decrease our reaction time to unpredictable and often volatile developments in the web publishing environment," said Larry Belmont, Manager of Scitation® Development.
"We've successfully repeated an iterative development process that is rooted in user-centered design and feature-driven development. It allows us to get functionality into the hands of users much faster than we were able to with the "traditional" approaches we used just nine months ago."
In late 2007, Scitation® introduced a new rendering of online articles that incorporated a battery of Web 2.0 features into the HTML abstracts for AIP's online journals. Five agile iterations later, the design is being rolled out to the rest of Scitation's publications, and the engineering team is readying complementary redesigns of Scitation® itself, as well as of HTML tables of contents, search results lists, and other key publication elements. "One of our guiding principles in the original redesign project was to optimize user engagement with the content." said Belmont. "That meant we wanted to make the content easy to read and keep all of the functions and tools that allowed the users to interact with the content in plain sight. That philosophy drove everything we did, from creating a cleaner layout to using new flexible web frameworks like Tiles and Ajax to elegantly present our new feature set without inflicting cognitive overload' on the users, or overwhelming the science."
AIP's experiences emphasize how agile publishers must interact with both clients and end-users at all stages of development to build highly usable functionality. "An agile mindset, methodology, and development framework enabled us to react quickly to user feedback provided via online surveys during the course of the project," said Belmont. "Our average development cycle between iterations was 14 working days over a four-month timespan, and each iteration not only delivered new functionality, but also added improvements suggested by users."
SSP attendees interested in AIP's agile publishing initiative from a hands-on perspective are invited to Concurrent Session 4A" The Agile IT Organization (Friday, May 30, 10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.), where Larry Belmont will be presenting "Adventures in Agility" How One Publisher Changed Its Approach to Online Development in 45 Days."
AIP's Scitation® publishing platform currently hosts over 1,500,000 articles from more than 180 scholarly publications for 25 learned society publishers, in fields including physics, chemistry, geosciences, engineering, acoustics, and other sciences. AIP also offers a suite of publishing services, which covers every aspect of journal production, with complete management oversight from receipt of authors' manuscripts through online and print distribution.
For more information please contact:
Director, Publishing Services Sales
American Institute of Physics
Two Huntington Quadrangle, Suite 1NO1
Melville, New York 11747-4502
Phone: (866) 782-4786, (516) 576-2447
Fax: (516) 576-2481