Digital Publication

Since the invention of the Gutenberg printing press, the publication cycle of writing, producing, distributing, and storing publications has taken place solely in a printed format. Recently, the development of digital technology, with its unlimited capacity for information processing, production, and storage, has lent itself as an ideal platform on which the publication process can be carried out with less physical cost for publishing houses or distributors and little or no immediate environmental impact. However, the emergence of a new medium also brings its own challenges, as it must suit the needs of readers as well as writers and publishers.

The following page and its subsequent links provide a basic overview of the digital print medium, the current status of the movement towards digital standardization and open-source information, and relevant issues within the developing digital print industry.

About the digital medium

As a genre, the digital medium is expanding rapidly. The examples below outline the most prominent examples of digital media currently in circulation (as of March 2013):


  • Texts that have been formatted specifically for storing and reading directly on devices (these include multi-level platforms, including desktop computers, laptops, e-Readers, iPads, and smartphones)
  • Can include images and non-textual charts or graphs

Online articles

  • Textual articles in a digital format (whether created for digital use or reproduced in digital format after print publication)
  • Journals and scholarly articles archived in online publications or digital databases

Online data collections

  • Many types of structured and unstructured data, including historical, financial, social, manufacturing, support, sales, graphical, scientific, and medical research, are formatted with the intention of being read online. Over two billion manufacturing companies, wholesale and retail stores, banks, non-profit organizations, social networking organizations, government organizations, and more, publish data on their websites

Further information

The following links provide more specialized information about the digital print medium:

Annotated Bibliography

Beebe, L., & Meyers, B. (2000). Reprint: Digital workflow. Journal of Electronic Publishing

5 (4), doi:

Provides a comprehensive history of the digital print media, giving a basic overview of individual software programs and the process of using them to develop web-based text documents.

Disabato, N. (2012, May 22). Publication standards part 1: The fragmented present. A List Apart, (352), Retrieved from

Discusses the current transition from physical print media to the digital print alternative, explains the nature of the software used to host eBooks, and provides an opinion on the areas in which the digital print industry is successful and those in which it is not fully functional.

Disabato, N. (2012, May 22). Publication standards part 2: A standard future. A List Apart

1 (352), Retrieved from

Describes the intentions of the digital print publication industry, provides commentary on the projected outcome of the digital print format, and discusses the societal connotations of adapting to online print media.

Gambino, F. (2013, March 7). Interview by S.B. Stuart [Personal Interview].

Ms. Gambino provided key resources to aid in collecting information about the current digital print industry, including pertinent articles, relevant databases, useful search criteria, and a list of valuable contacts within the industry.

Gaskill, D. (2013, March 23). Interview by S.B. Stuart [Personal Interview].

Ms. Gaskill provided substantial information about the history of the digital print medium, its development over the years, and descriptions of past and current software in the industry.

Hillesund, T., & Noring, J. (2006). Digital libraries and the need for a universal digital publication format. Journal of Electronic Publishing 9 (2). Retrieved from;rgn=main

Discusses the current limitations of digital print software and eReader platforms, arguing that open standards are necessary to make the genre of digital print more marketable and accessible to individuals and libraries.

International Digital Publishing Forum. (2013). EPUB 3. Retrieved from

Provides a basic overview of the function and purpose of the EPUB software, information about the current version, and links to in-depth specification information and structural content.

Pohland, L. (2010, December 16). Project phoenix week: STC digital publication

strategies in 2011. Retrieved from

Gives a general overview of three strategies that a website can incorporate to host digital media based on permissions and availability to the general public: closed, progressive, and open.

Sande, S. (2010, January 31). All about EPUB, the ebook standard for apple’s ibookstore.

Retrieved from

Provides a review of the EPUB software, discusses the pros and cons of standardized eBook file formatting and program compatibility, and discusses the new ability for writers to self-publish using this medium.

Stork, P. P. (2000). The promise of ebook publishing. (1st ed.). New Riders, Inc.

Retrieved from

Outlines six ways in which the digital print industry markets itself and outlines current issues in the field from the perspectives of writers, publishers, and readers.

Entry by Storm B. Stuart