Raiders of the Lost Content

The Quest to Unlock the National Institute of Business Management Archives

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be talking to a few publishers who have either already, or are starting to unlock all of their previously paid content and repurpose that content into a free Internet hub.

One of the most challenging parts of this for many publishers is how to get all of that content into a content management system, especially if—like many publishers—you don’t have the original source files anymore.

Phil Ash, President of the National Institute of Business Management very recently started the process of turning over 600 newsletters into web content for an upcoming free Internet hub (launching in September). This isn’t to say that all of the content will go on the hub. Mr. Ash told us that the membership site will hold onto some of it, but that the content “behind the wall” only makes up for 1/3rd of the total online content they will be publishing.

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Mr. Ash’s team is currently taking PDF or Quark documents and manually extracting the content either directly into his content management system, or into a text document. According to Mr. Ash, the most basic explanation of this process right now is:

  • Copying and pasting the article into a Microsoft Word document
  • Taking out line breaks in content
  • Doing a global replace on paragraph marks
  • Dropping content into Content Management System

To find the most efficient means of doing this, Phil is currently testing three different types of content loaders/extractors:

  1. High school intern at $10/hour. He can do one newsletter page in about 8 minutes, regardless if the page includes 2 long articles or eight short ones. So for an 8-page newsletter, they’re paying about $10 and content is automatically put into their CMS.
  2. Ukrainian admin team at $5 per 8-page newsletter. Mr. Ash lived in Ukraine for many years and still knows people willing to help out. They enter content themselves into the CMS, and Mr. Ash considers them to be the best value.
  3. Professional firms that range from $13-$20 per issue – many outsource to India. Firm requires predetermined fields (for CMS) and delivers XML files. These firms are expensive and not competitively priced.

However, Mr. Ash has found that there are two things that are not performed very well by any of the three options above:

  1. Tagging articles for taxonomy
  2. Writing a short description for the article (although he says “the high schooler does it best”.)

At this early stage in the process, Mr. Ash says that their intern and editorial staff do the best job at these two tasks. He told us that to pay either the Ukrainian admin team or the professional firm to do it would be very expensive.

Are you in the process of converting your once-paid content into free content? Ditching the shelves and shelves of “old” print content for a robust and search engine friendly Internet hub? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you.


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