The Art of Electronic Publishing:
The Internet and Beyond

Sandy Ressler

Prentice Hall 1997
A book review by Danny Yee © 1997
"Oh no, not another book about the Web!" was my first thought on unpacking The Art of Electronic Publishing — and "OH NO! .... not another book about the Web!!!" is the first sentence of its preface. And, though it begins with ninety pages on the Web, it actually does cover publishing quite generally. Ressler discusses standards and their application, document processing and management, typography, SGML, ODA, VRML, fonts, graphics formats, colour standards, TeX and troff, software packages, CDROMs and DVDs, ISO 9000, and lots more. There are also case studies of a number of publishing projects, among them the Second Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, the CAJUN project, and the Text Encoding Initiative.

Though its superficiality is unavoidable (how much can you say about DTD construction or METAFONT in a few pages?), The Art of Electronic Publishing also exhibits a certain laziness in its use of materials: a Microsoft press release, quoted verbatim, hardly makes a good explanation of ActiveX, let along a useful evaluation; and, while it was good to see a mention of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, I don't think the complete text of the 1990 press release announcing its creation was a sensible inclusion. Most distressingly, given its subject, The Art of Electronic Publishing displays obvious signs of sloppy editing and proofreading.

The Art of Electronic Publishing does offer a useful overview of the entire electronic publishing world, with its many components and its variety of standards and software systems. It also contains plenty of pointers to sources for more information. Though much of the material was familiar to me, much of it was not, and I picked up quite a few useful bits of information from it. It was also a lot of fun to read.

January 1997

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%T The Art of Electronic Publishing
%S The Internet and Beyond
%A Ressler, Sandy
%I Prentice Hall
%D 1997
%O paperback, CDROM, index
%G ISBN 0134881729
%P xvi,450pp