Efficiencies abound in the Harvard University Press FileMaker Pro system, especially in the marketing department. FileMaker Pro allows the catalog preparation team to select titles, categorize them, link them to capsule reviews and biographical information on the author, and then export a neatly–compiled catalog entry for that book directly into Quark XPress, where the design team does the rest. "Our designers don't have to worry about re–keying data or cutting and pasting from somewhere," Rosemary observes. "They get the template, and all they need to do is make the copy fit the page and then add the pictures and color."
The designers of the Harvard University Press website enjoy a similar advantage, drawing data directly from the FileMaker Pro databases and using this information to generate finished web pages. And the design of these pages can be updated at any time, with no need to reimport the data. "I don't need to do anything when the web designers want to change the look of the page, because of the way we've implemented what we do," adds Rosemary. "All they do is change the template the export runs against, and we get whatever the new look is."
An added benefit is that FileMaker Pro also works well with ONIX, the book industry's standardized XML grammar for handling publishing data, allowing rapid communication with retailers and distributors, and streamlining a process that, because of various incompatible data formats, used to take days or weeks to complete. "Now that everyone in the book industry has agreed we all want ONIX, we create one document," Rosemary explains. "Our assistant sales director is able to go to that document, validate it using standard open source tools, and then send it out to our customers. And it takes a couple hours instead of most of a week to communicate with all those parties."
Expectations are high for the coming upgrade to FileMaker Pro 7, with Rosemary looking forward to improved database performance and smoother functionality thanks to a planned reworking of the user interface. "We're also looking to use FileMaker Pro to streamline our internal workflow," she adds, "which will, we hope, allow us to be a more nimble publisher, better able to serve our authors and get our projects done in a timely fashion."