by Tyler M. Carey, Chief Revenue Officer
For the former – accessibility – Westchester has a lot of resources that we can bring to bear to help. If you’re at all looking for further support in making your content — whether upcoming titles or backlist — accessible, please do reach out. Westchester became a GCA-certified vendor in 2021 to help publishers with their accessibility needs for ePubs. We also joined DAISY to further our knowledge and support for accessible content. In an ongoing basis, we’re keeping track of emerging trends in ePubs, Accessible PDF’s and more, including these recent changes for ePub files from the W3C. Personally, I’m on the Workflow Committee of the Book Industry Study Group, where my talented colleagues on the committee recently released this update regarding fixed layout ePubs. We’re helping with tasks from WCAG compliance to creating alt-text entries to large-scale backlist scanning and conversion projects. This recent IBPA webinar I participated in with Michael Johnson from Benetech covers some highlights to consider.
For the latter topic – AI – well, I’m not sure any of us have a clear vantage into how GPTs and emerging tools will impact our business in the long term. The team at Westchester have been using scripts and natural language processing for years to help automate repetitive tasks and run some of our comparisons and checks. Much as indexing software became a tool for trained indexers to use to organize keywords and condense the time it takes to index a book, AI will likely be used to help improve accuracy and create even more efficiencies in various parts of the publishing workflow. The talented publishing professionals at Westchester Publishing Services establish the gold standard in our industry, and using a variety of technologies to provide high quality solutions for our clients is simply part of our DNA. I know we’re already harnessing AI in specifics areas of our toolsets. I’m looking forward to seeing how our team will continue to evolve and develop more solutions that benefit our clients and the industry as a whole.
In case you missed it, this article by Thad McIlroy in the June 6 issue of Publishers Weekly, provides a bit more of a stimulating viewpoint on the subject. And this article exposes perhaps the extreme case of trying to automate as much as possible with AI – and the negative impact it can have on content and the people who collaborate with you on your content.
While these strategic discussions are happening in all of our shops, I still remain grateful that the majority of my time is being spent exploring the editorial and production services the industry has come to expect Westchester to handle with care since the launch of our company in the 1960s. Much like the rest of the publishing industry, we continue to pivot and evolve, but remain steadfast to striking the right balance between technology and human expertise to allow our clients to trust their publications with Westchester.
How can Westchester help you for the balance of the year on your projects? Whether it’s helping with manuscript prep, typesetting, copyediting, or other tasks for your titles and assets, just reach out, we’ll be here for you.