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Internal production staff, advertising support staff, technical support employees and customer service departments were trained, then the ad production team began educating advertisers and sales. For customers, the publisher developed the Penton Digital Ad Web Site, which outlines Penton's digital ad standards, how to send ads and Penton's view and direction on CTP. It is a browser-based site that uses hot folders to connect customers transparently to the Penton FTP site for uploading files. Further automation enhancements will include data integrity preflight and e-mail verification of customers' ads, Healy relates. Penton accepts digital ads as PostScript, PDF or PDF/X-1 files.
"I think PDF/X-1 is great, but there are only a few applications to generate it right now," Healy claims. "If you make a high-end PDF properly with checks in place, that works just as well. … We'll also accept TIFF/IT ads if it's an option, but we'd prefer not to due to the [typically large] size of the file," he continues. "However, we do not accept native application files. Having no reliability defeats the purpose of the program. Rather, we steer our advertisers toward the other formats and educate them to create proper files." Advertisers supply SWOP-compliant proofs with their digital files. Healy estimates that 30 to 50 percent of ads are submitted digitally across all titles, mostly as PostScript or PDF files. Ads are preflighted using Adobe InProduc-tion and Rampage for PDF files. Penton also developed its own internal AppleScript for PostScript-to-PDF ad conversion.
Some titles are already digital, including the first two to go CTP: Hydraulics & Pneumatics and PT Design. "We ran those 100 percent digital, with no copydotting of ads," Healy reveals. The third publication to go all digital was the bimonthly title, Industry Week, one of Penton's flagship publications. In January, the publisher implemented Extensis Portfolio Server 5.0 for its ad management system. Previously, Penton stored ads in folders, CD-ROMs or hard drives, using its own naming conventions. The Portfolio server software provides centralized management of all digital ads, and permits easy access to authorized users. A sophisticated search engine and the ability to catalog ads by individual magazine titles are major benefits, Healy remarks.