In Search of a Simple Definition For Dynamic Publishing

Ann Rockley, President, The Rockley Group

By Ann Rockley, President, The Rockley Group

A recent article on this blog, Scott Abel asked “What is dynamic publishing, anyway?” Scott quoted a definition from my most recent book “Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy” New Riders, 2012, another from JoAnn Hackos, and a third from Quark. All were good, but different. Scott then opened the discussion up to the community which resulted in a number of possible additions to the definition.

Mark Baker responded that the instantaneous publishing that we all do every day through blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and other communication streams is dynamic publishing. That, in fact, what is published about any topic is never static as the comments and responses dynamically change the perception one person has of the topic versus another person’s perception moments later as they read the accompanying thread of multiple opinions. Mark’s thought on this comment: “The source of social media is typically never revised or filtered (to a custom view), but the ability of the crowd to append to the content thread makes it ‘living content’ more so than dynamically published content.”

Mike McNamara took a slightly different tact and substituted the word “dynamic” with the word “flexible” to arrive at this definition: “It’s the ability of a ‘process’ to respond to potential changes affecting its value delivery, i.e. the activity of preparing and issuing of material for public distribution or sale in a timely and cost-effective manner.”

Joe Gollner offered “Dynamic publishing delivers customized information products that help users to be optimally effective. Dynamic publishing achieves its goal by leveraging automation to assemble content resources according to users’ requests and according to the applicable business rules, and then rendering, packaging and delivering contextualized information products that they can use with whatever technology is available to them.”

Steve Manning was very succinct in his commentary. “You do not publish ‘canned’ content, but provide a mechanism for users to publish their own, customized, subsets of your content.”

Rahel Bailie broke it down into definitions for content and publishing then rolled it up to: “So dynamic publishing is the process of showing specific sets of content to different audiences, carried out by software that analyses audience member choices, and then responds based on a set of business rules.”

Michael Boses also shared a succinct definition: “Dynamic Publishing is a system that automatically and logically assembles discrete components of content on demand and produces an acceptable published product.”

Sarah O’Keefe pointed out that many of the definitions were too technical and that dynamic publishing had its roots in the oral tradition of storytelling. She proposes that “dynamic publishing is a process of rendering output that determines the content and presentation when the information is requested based on user specifications, user profile information, system information, or other factors.”

Noz Urbina defined it this way: “Dynamic Publishing allows content to be assembled on request and delivered to its destination ready for consumption. It may add value above and beyond simple assembly and rendering by automatically enriching content with additional relationships, features or even additional content during the actual publishing process.”

Don Day pointed out that we need to look at the dynamic publishing in terms of the benefit received. He made the case that users may not actually need dynamic publishing if they can effectively search for, and receive the desired content.

Everyone raised a number of excellent points and while all the definitions were somewhat different, a number of common concepts were used such as:

  • Automatic
  • Assemble
  • Upon/as requested
  • Based on user needs/requirements

Given these common themes I propose a revised definition:

“Dynamic publishing automatically assembles and delivers (publishes) content based on specific customer requirements.”

What do you think? Is this definition just right? Too much? Or not enough?

I’d like to know what you think. Share your thoughts in the comments section.