Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wiley Seeks eContent Conversion Specialist

I keep Wiley's job postings on my RRS feeds and ran across something very interesting this morning. The Indianapolis office is seeking someone to convert its print materials to electronic formats. Check it out:

Responsible for assisting with the production of all eContent produced by the Indianapolis Composition Services department. This will include conversions from the page layout application directly to eContent such as XML, ePub, Kindle, etc. It will also entail the usage of XSLT to transform exported content into the appropriate format for compliance with Wiley’s version of XML and other eContent requirements. In addition, this position will assist with training people in eContent conversion methods as needed.

Requirements include a working knowledge of XHTML, HTML, and CSS and an exposure to XML (including schemas and DTDs). Knowledge of XSLT would be ideal. Prior work in a publishing environment would be a plus. Must also have a minimum of a 2-year technical degree. The successful candidate must also be self-motivated and have the ability to multi-task in a deadline-oriented environment. Written and verbal communication skills must be a strength, especially the ability to clearly communicate technical ideas to non-technical colleagues.

I have been thinking for a while that the brave new world of publishing will begin to require people who can do conversions like these. Now we know what a job like that would look like. The fact that Wiley is hiring someone on staff to do it instead of outsourcing it indicates that they understand the importance of making content available in multiple e-formats--and that they realize there's enough work to keep someone busy all the time.

This looks like a good opportunity for a tech/design whiz to get in on the ground floor of something big--and something that is likely to evolve and change a lot in the coming years.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Got a Fever for the Olympics? I Prescribe "State of the Skate"

The winter Olympics are almost upon us in snow-challenged Vancouver. So what better time to introduce you to a blog on figure skating?

If you want to get some expert analysis of the competition from a true fanatic and meticulous historian, check out State of the Skate. This week, blogger Kelli Lawrence has been running a series to help us "every four years" fans get up to speed.

In the interest of full disclosure, Kelli is my longtime friend and former JIST coworker. As our video manager, she let me do some cameo appearances in her films (you won't want to miss my turn as the caring older sister giving career advice to an earnest teen...). We bonded over '80s music trivia and had our babies within 2 months of each other. She even took me to Stars on Ice one time.

We'll check in with Kelli again in a few months when she finishes writing her book, Skating on Air, about the history of media coverage of the sport (for which she already has a publishing contract). I'm sure she'll have lots of tips and insights from a first-time author's perspective--not to mention great stories of all the skating legends she's been interviewing.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Good Connections and New Experiences at the Wisconsin Careers Conference

Last week I was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel north for the University of Wisconsin's Careers Conference in Madison. Now that I think about it, after nearly 11 years at JIST, it was my first conference aimed at the people who serve institutional job search customers--such as students and workforce development clients.

My main purpose in going was to watch several of our authors in action: Dr. Laurence Shatkin, Dr. John Liptak, and Dr. Richard Deems, in particular. Dick Gaither and Dr. Bob Orndorff presented pre-conference workshops; and sadly, I didn't get to see much of them. But it was great to see three of our authors doing well-received presentations. I also enjoyed the two keynotes and several other featured speakers.

For the first time ever, I decided to live-tweet this conference (since I finally have a laptop with a battery that lasts all day and working wifi). What an interesting exercise that was! It was hard work keeping on top of the most relevant and interesting points from each speaker, packaging them into tweets, and trying not to make any errors of fact or grammar. I think I'd give myself a solid "B" for my efforts. I realized that it takes a lot of skill to do it well. And I wondered whether there might be a market for freelance tweeters to go around publicizing conferences. I think I would enjoy doing that. You can get a feel for what I learned by taking a look at my Twitter stream from last week.
A side benefit from the firehose of tweets I was sending out was that it raised my Twitter profile. A dozen or more people retweeted my tweets, asked questions, and made jokes while I was in the midst of reporting the conference. It made it an interactive exeprience for me, and it informed a lot of others who couldn't be there. I think I even got a few more followers as a result.

Unlike the other conferences I've been to, people were not as open to networking and didn't necessarily know who I was. That was kind of nice. Sometimes letting a bunch of professionals know that an acquisitions editor is in the house is like throwing chum on the waters. But I did make one new friend: Leslie Bell, associate director of the career center at Hamilton College in upstate New York. Coincidentally, Leslie is starting a blog for her career center; so I was able to offer some tips. She said I inspired her; and if that were the only good thing to come of my trip, it would totally be worth it.

I also connected with at least one potential author and talked about book ideas with an existing author. And you know what else was fun? The six-hour drive to Madison with my co-worker Bob Grilliot. He was there to connect with customers at our booth, so he had to rent an SUV to haul the books. It just so happened that the SUV was equipped with heated seats and satellite radio. So we cruised in comfort while reveling in New Wave tunes, deliriously oblivious to the certain death that would await us should we break down or slide off the road in the frozen tundra of Minonk, Illinois. For me, an enduring image of the trip will be watching the wind turbines turn to the rhythm of the Smiths's "How Soon Is Now?" Pure poetry.