Editable files for the What is Schema.org briefing are now available from the Cetis Publications site. The process of enabling editable copies of this publication has leads me to some reflections on the publishing workflow behind it.
We published What is Schema.org? a Cetis briefing paper for LRMI in June, as with most of Cetis’s publications it is covered by a CC Attribution licence so, according to the terms of that licence
You are free to:
Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material
However, it was published as a pdf, which a colleague of mine says means “pretty damn final”, so you would have found it hard to take advantage of second of those freedoms.
Why was it published only as a pdf and not as a .odt/.docx file like many of Cetis’s other publications? Well, I decided not to run risk the of head injuries and masonry damage that comes with trying to do page layout in OpenOffice or Word, and prepared the pdf using an open source desktop publishing package called scribus. On the whole I’m happy with that. I could have released the scribus files when we published the document, but, firstly we were in a bit of a hurry and I didn’t have time to check that the text file assets had been synched with any in-page edits that had been made in the last round of proofing (I’ve done that now, so here is an archive of the assets and other files you need). I’m aware that not everyone will find scribus to their taste; the original text was created in Google docs, which many people might find a better starting point for making changes to the text (because it is). The Google doc text had got well out of synch with the text in scribus and the final pdf.
So, I have made sure that the Google doc has the same text as the published pdf, and have set the sharing on it so that anyone can see it and can make a copy to edit themselves (here it is). I did consider other possibilities, such as version control repositories e.g. github, but in this case I don’t think I want version control. People will make their own edits to suit their own purposes, I hope. In other words, forking is good, I don’t envisage pulling updates back into the Cetis version too often. I have also made a promise to myself not to start on the page layout for the next briefing (What is LRMI? in case you’re wondering) before the text is fixed, so that the Google doc and Scribus files for that don’t get out of synch.
I’m still not entirely happy with the editability of the images. They were created using Lucidchart. You can get the output as png files through either the google doc or the scribus archive, they’re better than nothing but I suspect that svg versions might be more useful.
Is this worth it? Personally I think so, otherwise I might as well use Creative Commons licences with the No Derivative restriction, which I choose not to. In this case, I know there is interest in creating a version that covers schema.org in RDFa as well as microdata. That would be an update worth publishing through Cetis.