Case Study: Columbia University Press

Columbia University Press (CUP) aimed to supplement two successful print publications, The Columbia Granger’s Index to Poetry in Anthologies and The Columbia Gazetteer of the World, with web sites that would reach a far wider audience than had access to the paper volumes. The Gazetteer is a multi-thousand-page reference work that chronicles major geographical features on every square mile of the planet. With hundreds of academics contributing updates as physical and political changes take place, the online version of this definitive resource serves journalists, policy makers, military personnel, scholars, travelers, homeowners, and curious readers of all stripes. Granger’s, long the trusted source for information on anthologized poems, now serves researchers, librarians, writers of verse, students, teachers, and poetry lovers all over the globe with its highly cross-linked, interactive site, The Columbia Granger’s World of Poetry Online.

Content Imperative

OBS designed, built, and hosted the first versions of The Columbia Gazetteer of the World and The Columbia Granger’s World of Poetry Online web sites.

OBS also contributed content to and built a web site for The Columbia Guide to Digital Publishing. The online version allows authors to continually update and expand their chapters.

Achieving economy through repurposing files—coding once and using many times—Columbia exported XML-tagged content files from both the Granger’s and The Columbia Guide to Digital Publishing sites for typesetting purposes. Additionally, sites for CUP feature innovative business models; regular data updates made by the Press’s authors and editors; and administrative interfaces that help Columbia manage subscriptions, distribute usage reports, and otherwise serve its worldwide reference market.

OBS’s Role

  • Creative consult
  • Business model development
  • Engineering legacy, proprietary, and open source code
  • Production management
  • Information design
  • Programming
  • Managed hosting
  • Customer support by telephone for online and CD projects