This paper was submitted for publication and is copyright to Barry Schaeffer© 2005.
Published here May 2006.

Editor's Note | Introduction | First Things First | The Heart of Today's Effort
Markup Protocols | Pressure to Produce | The Consumer Side is the Most Important
Holistic Markup Design | Stakeholder Involvement

Stakeholder Involvement

Just as with tangible product design, the developers of a markup scheme must take into account the likely responses of every stakeholder group impacted by their work. Failing this, they may find themselves in the midst of a firestorm of protest or, perhaps worse, may find themselves judged irrelevant and ignored outside the confines of their own cloistered world.

Consider the developers of the codex or edge-sewn book around the 2nd century AD. Although perhaps the most important single discovery in the history of information, the codex was born in a culture that had little ability or wish to take advantage of a book's remarkable characteristics. This included ease of manufacturing, random access and page numbering, ease of transport and storage, and medium for the developing paper manufacturing disciplines. It was nearly fifteen hundred years before the necessary political, educational and language forms were available to foster the general publication and distribution of books.

It was even longer before Gutenberg assembled the technologies to mass-produce them. And longer still before the political and liturgical leadership's prohibition on reading by the common people would break down, leading to a mass education system designed to give everyone the skills of reading, writing and perceptive thinking. Pioneers who attempted to move this process ahead faster than culture, literacy and politics would support, often found themselves in serious trouble, either from a scarcity of adherents to their new techniques or through violent repression by offended groups.

Unlike these ancient forebears, we have the ability to look ahead to the impact our developments will have on their intended communities and take steps to affect the outcome. If we fail to take those impacts into account, we, and our devices, will deserve our fate.

We have the tools to assure successful integration of markup advances into the information life cycle. We need only the resolve to use them.

Holistic Markup Design  Holistic Markup Design

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