Many print organizations are slowing cycle times because they have failed to embrace accredited standards for exchanging content, such TIFF/IT-P1 and PDF/X-1a.
Getting in the standards game earlier rather than later will give publishers an edge as they head into the new year and beyond, says Linda Manes Goodwin, executive director of Manes Goodwin Associates, in San Francisco.
"The economy is definitely a factor," Manes Goodwin says. "Publishers have to realize that printing isn't [the] burgeoning industry it once was, and to be successful and profitable, they'll have to look at new opportunities like cross-media publishing, which will enable them to leverage content in a variety of ways, not just for print."
Manes Goodwin, an executive board member of the Digital Distribution of Advertising for Publication Association (DDAP), says there's a bigger picture at hand.
"You have to look at the big vision, and that is cross-media content transformation," she says. "As we move forward, CTP will be 'been-there, done-that.' " Manes Goodwin says the next standards wave is Job Definition Format, or JDF. Born at CIP4, The International Cooperation for the Integration of Process in Prepress, Press and Postpress, JDF is a proposed industry standard based on Extensible Markup Language (XML).
Assigning the JDF to a digital file destined for any type of media output (e.g., offset, digital, or Web) lets partners in the production chain exchange exact information on the file's creative, prepress, press and postpress designations.
If publishers are not already producing periodicals CTP, and working with accredited ad standards such as PDF/X-1, they can't entertain electronic business data exchange via JDF, Manes Goodwin says.
"You've got to be in it to win," she says. "If you're not already in the accredited standards game, there's no way you'll be able to win your way to the next one."