Publishing – it’s a character-building experience!

As a contractor, I help my clients — often standards development or digital identity groups — with whatever process they need to get to their end goal. Sometimes that means I’m a team facilitator. Other times, I’m a copy editor. Almost always, I’m a project manager. This week, I’m the publisher of a new resource called the IDPro Body of Knowledge.

How hard could it be, you ask, to publish a new resource on the Internet? After all, new material is published every single day. Why would an organization need someone to manage all the moving parts? Write, save, and voila! There it is! Right?

Well, no. Not even close, actually. To get from idea to output involves a lot of cat herding, consensus building, and attention to detail:

  • Helping train a small volunteer committee to find authors, to review material, and to come to consensus on a publication process.
  • Develop the templates and the processes that will provide the structure for getting an article created and published.
  • Work with authors and early reviewers on content.
  • Find peer reviewers (who often have never peer reviewed before) and work with them to get the reviews complete.
  • Work with the authors to incorporate feedback from the peer reviewers.
  • Copyedit each and every article before it goes to the stakeholder groups for approval.
  • Walk not one but two stakeholder groups through the final review and approval process.
  • Work with the authors again, when necessary, for one more revision.
  • Take each article through the mechanics of pre-publication (make sure it’s in the correct template, create accessible PDF copies, create markdown format copies, make sure keywords are assigned, make sure the metadata for each article is correct).

And throughout, write newsletter articles, update stakeholder groups in regular meetings, answer any and all questions that come in via email and Slack, and prepare to market not just the initial resource, but all future iterations of the same.

I’m incredibly proud of the authors, reviewers, and other volunteers who made this happen. While I can (and do!) provide structure, the actual thoughts and vision come from the community. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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