The IGP Digital Library Is Open

2 May 2016

Publishers, online ebooks, online content, static sites, digital library, academic publishers, education publishers, University publishers, publishers

The demonstration Infogrid Pacific Digital Library is live, online and growing.

Read on Medium

Stating the Obvious

The Internet is a wonderful thing. In just the last few years it has profoundly changed societies across the world in many ways. Collaborating around the world is so easy... it's crazy! A project Skype chat, with the occassional conference calls between Denmark, Hawai'i, Nepal, India and New Zealand pretty much represents the gammut of communication flexibility, regional diversity and distance.

The Problem Statement

However this article is about an "inverse" Internet strength. Making content available locally to a controlled local audience on any device or platform. 

An enormous volume of published academic research and education content  is regional, language and socially specialized to individual institutions, or groups of instititions. While research and academic publishing at learning institutions around the world is moving ahead at an increased pace the cost effectiveness of traditional publishing models is a severe limiting factor.

Specialist and regional academic content is generally published as print books or journal articles that need to be purchased by peers and students. This content by its nature has smaller sales and it has become challenging to publish the works as paper books or traditional eBooks.

A Change Strategy

A trend with university presses and small academic publishers is to adopt a new publishing strategy:

  1. Publish Online first.
  2. Make print books available as Print on Demand only.
  3. Drop e-Book formats (Kindle and ePub) as they are irrelevant for this market.

This approach improves access to specialist academic content for research and education, dramatically lowers production costs and eliminates printing and print distribution costs. This is a significant saving for short print-run, large page-count books. More importantly it revitalizes content and makes it very easy to access. (Plus dozens of other benefits for users and publishers.)

Enter: Online Libraries


The challenge is publishing online first with a print book read to go. Online reading libraries of books, journals and supporting resources are arguably  the best method to publish and access large collections of valuable academic content for research, education and training everywhere in any language.

There are several approaches that can be taken. A publisher can use a Content Management Server System (CMS) but the cost of setup and operation is relatively high, feature software has to be implemented and changes are difficult to implement.

The IGP:Digital Library solution uses static webpages published from IGP:Digital Publisher as a format package to a cloud service such as AWS. This is a configure-once, one click operation and is incredibly cost effective, even for libraries containing hundreds of books with thousands of users accessing the content.

The IGP:Digital Library uses the same IGP:Foundation XHTML (FX) that is used to create print and online PDFs, Mobi and ePub2 or ePub3 books. It produces HTML5 ready pages with complete metadata for the book and each section. This means print and online are available at the same time.

Presentation Customization

The Library and content presentation is fully customizable and can be accessed on any device or platform that has a good standards compliant browser. More importantly all the resources and tools of the Internet are easily available to provide exactly the presentation and reading experience that is right for your content.

By default the pages are scrolling with page number and scroll-page navigation. Professional touches such as pop-up notes, footnotes and references are easy (the content comes to the user). Even Indexes can be interactive with the IGP Horizontal index navigation packaging.

Academic Citations

Citations by page numbers and ranges cannot just be "let go". They are essential in academic pubishing. This is why a print on demand hard copy is highly useful.

IGP:Digital Publisher allows the production of  print PDFs from the same content as the online library edition (and any other formats). The page references can be processed into the online content from the PDF and services like EasyBib can be integrated into the Library for users to generate citations as they do their research or papers. This ensures book pagination and digital library pagination are the same.

Of course the publisher has all those ISBNs, ISSNs and/or DOIs to create correct references and all that metadata is packed into the digital Library book HTML metadata when it is published.  

Joint Publishing

It is relatively simple for publishers to join together and publish specific document collections to a common location, and the content can still be available from an independent library sites.

New Business Models

Someone has to pay to keep this working so flexibility in business models is important. A library is not a book. Generally the business model is access based on institution or course registration. Business models range from open and free; institution or course registration; to pay per book. 

We will discuss this in more detail in future articles.

The Infogrid Pacific Library Demonstration Online

The demonstration Infogrid Pacific online digital library is live online and changing fast. Click on the link to browse and read books. We decided to make this demonstration a work in progress rather than a finished product. That highlights the flexibility and feature extensibility of a digital online library. Browse the help file and start with the Guy de Maupassant books.

Previously we created custom online libraries for a number of publishers, but it was time to productising the digital library concept. The components of a complete digital library are:

  • Page publishing with metadata (done with IGP:Digital Publisher)
  • Full text indexed search (available in our Static Website package). A small server is required.
  • Access Control. IP access and authentication and/or user/group registration (available in AZARDI:Content Fulfilment). A server is required but can be the same server as search. More on this in a later article.
  • Presentation customization. The options include branding, scrolling, paging and fixed layout as well as integration of other services through APIs.

The IGP:Digital Library demonstration contains only open source content. We have launched with the classic Guy de Maupassant short story collection as an easy to access and use reading example. We will soon be adding education and academic content in different collections.


In 2016 specialist academic and education publishers need to evaluate their options for getting their content to their users. New options are available now. Publishers can use any of these content delivery methods:

  • Print books throught standard print sales channels and online bookshops.
  • E-books through the standard e-Retailer models locked down to the available reading system features.
  • Private secure distribution of e-books (ePub3) with AZARDI:Content Fulfilment to controlled user channels.
  • Digital static site Libraries with controlled access for users around the world presented using the best of the web.

Static Site-Digital Libraries are a new and powerful publisher tool that delivers a new opportunity for valuable publisher content. It opens new uses, new markets, easy availability with low costs of creation and maintenance. Digital content is not just lock-out digital format packages linked to the lock-in business model of trade book eRetailing  such as Kindle and ePubX formats.

A special shout-out to Govind Satpute who worked above and beyond the call of duty getting the demo IGP:Digital Library running. Kudos Bro!

Posted by Richard Pipe and Govind Satpute

Related Articles

Static Sites for Publisher Content (blog article) A discussion on the creation, use, technicalities and costs of static sites for publisher content.

Indexes in eBooks Are Very Much Alive. An overview of the IGP:Digital Publisher horizontal index packaging option.

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