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Manual to Digital, End to End: A New Journal Production Workflow

Digital Content Development


The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is the computer industry’s premier membership organization. ACM hosts the industry’s leading digital library, comprised of journals and magazines, conference and workshop proceedings, electronic forums, and a learning center.


The flow of journal content into the ACM Digital Library was cumbersome. Additionally, ACM’s editorial services vendor was costly and employed a manual workflow that included editing on hard copy, which led to production delays. And ACM’s custom website templates, designed to enable authors to submit articles in the correct style, were inefficient and rarely used, necessitating manual and time-consuming post-submission adjustments.


To transition from a manual to a digital workflow and to streamline production, Aptara designed and instituted a full-service content solution that includes:

  • Updating ACM’s document type definition (DTD) for tagging XML files, smoothing content delivery to the ACM Digital Library
  • Creating templates for author submissions that preserve the author’s work, supply semantic tags and descriptions automatically, and support full accessibility (80% of the submissions use LaTeX markup language, and 20% are in Microsoft Word)
  • Providing end-to-end management of production tasks 
  • Analyzing article submissions to ensure that the correct style template is applied prior to production
  • A digital workflow for editing content prior to pagination that employs BaKoMa TeX software (commonly used in the computing and science industries) for editing LaTex files and Aptara’s PowerEdit for editing Microsoft Word files
  • Handling quality assurance using ACM’s staging website to validate files prior to their online submission 


Aptara’s full-service production solution for ACM:

  • Improved time to market by approximately 60%
  • Reduced production costs by approximately 27%
  • Transitioned the workflow from manual to fully digital
  • Restructured the journal production model with a streamlined, user-friendly digital copyediting system