RSuite CMS

The History

client_logo_humankineticsHuman Kinetics is a publisher specializing in topics related to physical activity. Its publications include textbooks, consumer books, journals, online courses, software, and audio-visual products. The company is structured in four divisions: Consumer (resources for athletes, enthusiasts, and coaches); Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance; Journals (publishing more than 20 scholarly and professional journals); and Higher Ed and Professional.

Human Kinetics’ audience includes K-12 and college students, professors, personal trainers, rehab specialists, athletes, coaches, physical educators, and nutritionists. Based in Champaign, Illinois, Human Kinetics has offices in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

The Challenge

Human Kinetics sought an affordable XML content management solution that would maintain an efficient publication process while keeping things simple for its editors and authors. The system would have to allow the editorial team to work with its existing tools while providing new, granular search capabilities to accommodate editorial’s desire to reuse content and simplify version control and reporting processes.

Also essential was the need for a centralized workflow management process with a single source of content feeding Human Kinetics’ multi-channel output, which includes print, web, and eBook publishing.

Human Kinetics’ conditional publishing requirements added another challenge. Content needed to be delivered for student textbooks, complete with quizzes and review questions. The textbooks’ accompanying instructor ancillaries, with answers to the quiz and review questions, also needed to be produced. All content needed to come from the same source.

The Solution

Human Kinetics’ publication team uses RSuite CMS and the open source DITA For Publishers project (which was created by RSI Content Solutions architect Eliot Kimber) to ingest Word-based book manuscripts and automatically convert the documents to DITA XML. From the DITA files, content is pushed to Human Kinetics’ multi-channel publishing formats, including InDesign, variable XHTML, PDF, EPUB, and MOBI.

A two-stage RSuite CMS review and approval workflow was also implemented, centralizing the workflow process and allowing the Human Kinetics production team to manage and track print production process collaboration. The workflow task notifications are easy to track and feed reports detailing the production status of any given title at a moment’s notice.

Human Kinetics’ RSuite CMS development and implementation was completed by developers working from various remote locations using an instance hosted on Amazon EC2 (Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud); binary media was loaded via a hot folder.

The Results

The RSuite CMS implementation was completed on time and under budget in roughly 8 weeks, using an agile approach to requirements, development, testing, and acceptance. The engagement was capped by a 2-day, on-site administrative/development training session and several hours of online instructor-led user training. RSI Content Solutions provided the support needed for Human Kinetics to take the lead in deploying and validating three internal instances of RSuite CMS for development, production, and standby.

With RSuite CMS, a custom publication metadata search form has been implemented, allowing the publication team to locate assets in the repository by searching custom-defined attributes, which can include author, ISBN, editor, subject matter, and scheduled/target release date. The style sheets and business rules inherent in the DITA for Publishers application met Human Kinetics’ conditional publishing requirements, without encroaching upon the editorial process.

“RSuite CMS combined with the DITA for Publishers framework is helping us achieve the holy grail of single-source publishing: XML content automatically delivered to InDesign and to multiple ebook delivery formats. The transformations from structured content to designed content have been seamless, allowing our staff to focus on content and product development.”
–Holly Gilly, Vice President for Product Development, Human Kinetics

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