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Current Projects

There are a number of projects currently underway in the Electronic Publishing Research Group. Below are summaries of the currently active projects.

The ESPERE Project — Paul Pavey

The ESPERE project is investigating the technical and cultural issues involved with electronic submission and peer review of journal articles within the general scientific/technical area, and with particularly regard to the biomedical sciences. Help is available for inexperienced authors to make a coherent, integrated, article submission in PDF.

A Component-oriented approach to Digital Documents — Steven Bagley

Current formats for representing final form documents digitally take a monolithic approach to storage; one file contains one document. The goal of this project is to develop a new approach based on the Component-oriented nature of current software developement to store documents.

It is hoped this will allow documents to share content, and be more efficent for viewing over networks without full downloads.

Past Projects

Substituting outline fonts for bitmap fonts — Peter Thomas

PostScript and PDF documents created using Latex and DVIPS frequently use bitmap Type 3 fonts. This can cause problems for both accessibility and display of the document. Several techniques have been developed to substitute these fonts with their outline equivalents.

Reference linking using persistent identifiers — Chris Chapman
(Sponsored by NCC UK)

Chris is working on a project to endow existing PDF documents with added value descriptive metadata, utilising the Handle system of persistent identifiers.

Navigating a corpus of journal papers using Handles — This is a preprint of a conference paper written for the ELPUB2001 conference, held in Can terbury, Kent. Written by Chris Chapman and David Brailsford. (43Kb PDF, 8 pages)

Structure reconciliation of appearance and structured markup — Matthew Hardy
(Sponsored by Adobe Systems, Inc.)

Matthew is currently working on developing software to aid in the reconciliation of structured and appearance oriented documentation. XML is a prime example of structured markup, where appearance is secondary to the logical stucture of the document. The Portable Document Format (PDF) is the de facto standard for document interchange in the publishing arena and recently, the ability to convey logical structure (Structured PDF) has been added to the specification. Developing under the Adobe Acrobat environment, work progresses in easing the conversion between these disparate systems.

Reconciling the Structure and Appearance of Digital Documents Using XML and SVGJulius Mong

Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is an XML notation for describing vector diagrams, it is an unusal case of XML in that an SVG document describes low-level graphic primitives rather than the abstract logical structure in the case of a typical XML document. PDF has been working in a very similar way, focusing on appearance rather than structure, however using a non-XML syntax. SVG is a highly capable XML application for maximum quality vector graphics, there really is nothing stopping SVG to be considered as a possible Page Description Language (e.g. PostScript and PDF) and its potential to be used as a Web rendering mechanism in place of the current model dominated by (X)HTML and CSS.

Julius is investigating various technical and philosophical issues of using SVG as a Web rendering model and a complete all-XML document solution via developing a software system to convert both Legacy (unstructured) and Tagged (structured) PDF to SVG, retaining the original graphical contents, whilst at the same time presenting logical document structure (i.e. incorporating logical structure into SVG) using the following approaches:-

  1. An SVG document with logical structure information embedded using hidden XML statements that are not displayed on the output device but will enhance document analysis
  2. An all-structure XML document with the SVG graphical contents presented in a separate document, which is referenced to via XLink pointers from the structure entry point
  3. A self-contained XML document presenting logical structure whilst containing SVG drawings as graphical "inserts", each having its own graphics state and pointers to SVG "content streams" stored in the same document
Further information can be found HERE.

Julius is also working on a sister project of PDF-plSVG-pl. It is a Perl5 software library for generating SVG documents on the fly. It provides functions for developers who would like to produce SVG drawings whilst taking advantage of the advanced programming features offered by the popular (especially for CGI) language Perl. Version 1 of the package is available for download, and the library is currently being redesigned for enhanced functionality and increased flexibility.

SVG Project — Adobe Systems, Inc.

An SVG project funded by Adobe Systems Inc, which is looking at the impact of recent web-based vector graphics standards such as SVG, and developing some of the tools needed to enable these standards to be widely adopted.


CAJUN (CD-ROM Acrobat Journals Usin g Networks) was a project funded by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. The aims of this project were: to extend the automated hyperlinking features developed by the first CAJUN project; to develop methods of maintaining a corpus of electronic journal material; and to enable browsing of these journals on the World-Wide Web.

Open Journal Framework

The Open Journal Framework was a FIGIT project which was designed to allow publishers to produce journals and books which would easily tie into other publications and network resources. This was carried out by capitalising on the Microcosm flexible link technology and by developing a useful set of information gathering agents. This was a joint project between ourselves and the Multimedia Lab in the Department of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton.

Parallel Publishing for Transactions

PPT was an ELib project. The project aims were to develop and implement the electronic publishing of a journal with particular problems of representation, with a readership and range of authors unfamilar with electronic publishing, and with an editor who is a full-time academic. The project was undertaken jointly between ourselves, The Department of Geography at Queen Mary and Westfield College (QMW) and the Editor of the Transactions of British Geographers