XML (almost) all the way
Experiences with a small-scale journal publishing system
In 2006 my university academic IT support group was approached by an academic colleague wanting to start a new journal, which would be available in electronic form only. There were restrictions imposed by the technical capabilities of the pool of authors, the requirements of the discipline, and — unsurprisingly — the lack of financial resources.
The decision was made to implement a system using only open source software, and building largely from scratch, as the existing open source journal publishing systems at the time, although comprehensive and well-established, were seen as far too large and complex for the task.
This paper is a case study describing the process and explaining the background to the decisions made. It attempts to draw some conclusions about the technical viability of creating a small-scale publishing system which attempted to retain XML throughout the workflow, and about the human factors which influenced the decisions.