Looking back, looking ahead: What happened at #XUGXV

Chalkboard wall art reading "Welcome to XUGXV"On November 7, 2019, we hosted the 15th eXtyles User Group Meeting (XUG)—the annual gathering for Inera software users, staff, and partners. Back for a second year at the Revere Boston Common in Boston’s beautiful theater district, 70 customers, partners, and staff convened to share expertise, best practices, and new developments!


XUG attracts all the folks in the industry I want to talk with. (Charles O’Connor, Aries Systems)

What’s new, what’s next, what’s already here

It wouldn’t be XUG without Liz Blake’s review of “what’s new and what’s next” with eXtyles. And this year we had a lot to talk about!

Last year at XUG we introduced eXtyles Arc, a fully automated eXtyles solution; this year featured a demo of eXtyles Arc in the cloud, an implementation designed for tire-kicking with real files and a variety of document processing options. (Want to see how it works on your content? Just ask us!)

Candid photo of the group during a Q&ALiz also showcased a number of improvements we’ve made to eXtyles—many of them as a result of development work on eXtyles Arc—as well as the new COM architecture (no more macros to vex your IT department!) that we announced last year at XUG and started rolling out in January 2019.

This part of the program wrapped up with an exciting integration idea we’re discussing with Cabells: What if eXtyles could check your reference list for materials published in blacklisted predatory journals? As we anticipated, XUG attendees had a lot of opinions on this topic! If you couldn’t make it to XUG, we’d love to hear your opinion, too—drop us a line at [email protected].

My first XUG—very positive experience! (Keith Rose, American Chemical Society)

New at XUG this year was a session on what’s not new in eXtyles: Features already built into eXtyles that many users may not know about or don’t use regularly. This talk was a group effort, researched by the support team and presented by Sylvia Izzo Hunter, one of several former eXtyles power users on the Inera team.

We also heard from Jenny Seifert, who always manages to make tech support fun, and Joni Dames, our resident expert on tagging content in the BITS DTD. Attendee feedback suggests that variety is the spice of XUG, so look for even more Inera faces at the podium at XUGs to come!

Spotlighting accessibility in scholarly content

A highlight of this year’s XUG was the afternoon plenary talk by guest speaker Madeleine Rothberg of WGBH. A subject-matter expert at WGBH’s National Center for Accessible Media, Madeleine walked us through the what, how, and why of making many different kinds of content accessible and inclusive.

In addition to a wealth of practical information and resources, we learned that the very first TV program to feature captions was Julia Child’s French Chef! You just never know what new and interesting things you’ll learn at XUG.

Great sessions, great to be part of conversations/networking with other eXtyles users! (Lisa Perry, IEEE)

Concurrent sessions

At XUG 2018, we piloted concurrent sessions as a way of giving our increasingly diverse attendees more content options. Last year’s concurrents were a big success, so we brought them back this year!

Journal Workflows

Brooks Hanson speaking during the Journal Workflows sessionIn this session, presenters addressed innovations and challenges in the always-evolving world of journal publishing.

Brooks Hanson of the American Geophysical Union kicked things off with a buzz-worthy talk on the critical importance of open data.

Brooks Hanson was dynamite! (Debbie Lapeyre, Mulberry Technologies)

Next we heard from Karie Kirkpatrick of the American Physiological Society, who shared the “spooktacular” tale of APS’s transition from their previous journal hosting platform to Atypon’s Literatum.

Finally Debbie Lapeyre, of Mulberry Technologies and the JATS Standing Committee, updated the group on what to expect from JATS 2.0.

Complex Content

This session focused on the joys and challenges of working with content that doesn’t fit neatly into the typical journal-article package.

Kristin Carr of the Connecticut Secretary of the State told us how her workplace has embraced eXtyles as a solution after an unsuccessful attempt at implementing an XML-authoring workflow, which is also the story of our first DITA implementation!

Joni Dames presenting her talk on book and book-part-wrapper tagsNext, Inera Solution Architect Joni Dames tackled the sometimes vexing question of when to use <book> and when to use <book-part-wrapper> in a BITS XML workflow for books and book chapters.

Patrick Gibbons of the IEEE Standards Association wrapped up the session by describing how IEEE’s overall commitment to XML has played out in the specific context of creating a workflow for publishing and updating standards. (Look for real-world examples at the end of the PDF!)

Enjoyed talking with publishing pros from other industries (i.e., journals, books) (Andy Charest, American Petroleum Institute)

Approaching 20 years of eXtyles

eXtyles turns 20 in 2020, and some of our customers have been using eXtyles since the very beginning! We invited four of those long-time users to share their eXtyles journeys with us: where they started with eXtyles, how their eXtyles workflows have evolved and changed, and how they imagine they’ll be using eXtyles in the future.

Special thanks to Rob O’Donnell, Monica Mungle, Christina Hampton, and Margaret Perkins for not only offering their eXtyles insights but also hosting four of our workflow breakout tables!

Industry updates

Bruce Rosenblum presenting Industry UpdatesWhat do new accessibility emoji, JATS4R, BITS 2.0, format-neutral manuscripts, and digital archeology have in common?

If you guessed “they featured in Bruce Rosenblum’s industry updates talk,” you’re right! Bruce’s high-speed tour through recent happenings in the scholarly communications industry is a perennially popular feature of XUG, and the 2019 edition was a particularly wide-ranging one, featuring the above topics and many others. Check out Bruce’s slides here for all the highlights, plus lots of links to follow for more details!

Bruce always offers a thoughtful and balanced perspective from an interesting angle—excellent food for thought. (Anonymous XUG attendee)


Irina Golfman and Bruce RosenblumMaking XUG an engaging, participatory, and inclusive event is always our goal, but it’s our customers, partners, and guest speakers who make it happen!

If you were at #XUGXV, thank you so much for joining us! If you followed along on Twitter or are reading this blog post and clicking through to the presentation slides, thank you, too! We hope to see even more of you next year for our 16th annual XUG and eXtyles’s 20th birthday!