That’s (not!) all she wrote: What happened at #XUG2018

Photo: the XUG 2018 registration deskOn November 8, we hosted the 14th eXtyles User Group Meeting (XUG)—the annual gathering for Inera software users, staff, and partners. At the Revere Boston Common in Boston’s beautiful theatre district, over 60 attendees convened to share expertise, best practices, and new developments!

What’s new

Photo: XUG candy bowlIn addition to a new venue, XUG 2018 pioneered some new formats, including concurrent sessions tailored to customers who work with journals and to those who work with more complex content such as books and standards, as well as a free-form breakout session with table topics determined by attendee voting.

I love how informal and comfortable everything was, and how receptive Inera staff is to all comments. (Bobbie Jo Hanks, USGS)

Photo: XUG attendeesOf course, it wouldn’t be XUG without a review of recent eXtyles updates and improvements! See what we’ve been up to here.

We were thrilled to welcome a record number of first-time attendees to XUG 2018, and to see both newcomers and seasoned XUG participants enthusiastically engaging with one another—over coffee and lunch, at breakout tables, and during the post-meeting reception.

I was grateful for the opportunity to look under the hood of a program I use every day. (Sam Wilder, JAMA)

Introducing … eXtyles Arc!

XUG is our favorite place to announce exciting news, and this year’s news is very exciting! Over the past several years we’ve been developing eXtyles Arc, which enables fully automated markup of unstructured content.

Currently developed for STM journal content and deployed as part of an eXtyles SI implementation, eXtyles Arc

  • Extracts metadata from unstructured author-submitted files
  • Automatically applies paragraph styles, eliminating the most manual stage of eXtyles processing
  • Runs all eXtyles reference and citation processing steps
  • Logs inconsistencies and errors for your review
  • Exports Word files to JATS XML

eXtyles Arc is designed to be used on raw author content either as a fully automated publishing solution or in combination with high-touch editorial workflows.

Contact us at to learn more, and stay tuned for more details on this exciting new technology!

Concurrent sessions

When eXtyles was released in 2000, almost all of our customers were journal publishers, but over the years our user base has expanded to include many other content types, including books, standards, reports, and legal content. eXtyles users who work with more complex and variable content types often have very different workflows and concerns from those who work with journals, and it’s important to us that XUG content be relevant and useful to as many of our customers as possible. What to do? Well, how about offering choices?

Journal Workflows 2020

This session addressed innovations and challenges in the always-evolving world of journal publishing.

Photo: Monica Mungle, JAMA NetworkCharles O’Connor of Aries Systems led off with an overview of how Xtract, Aries’ implementation of eXtyles Metadata Extractionmakes the submission process easy—or at least easier!—for authors. Next we heard from Monica Mungle of the JAMA Network about JAMA’s implementation of visual abstracts: why they did it, how they did it, and how it’s going.

Debbie Lapeyre, of Mulberry Technologies and the JATS Standing Committee, updated the group on how JATS 1.2 (currently in vote) differs from JATS 1.1. Our final speaker was Peter Olson of Sheridan, who rounded up some best practices for citing preprints and data in scholarly publications.

JATS was the most relevant, but visual abstracts was inspiring! (Kathleen Sheedy, APA)

Getting Complex Content Online

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

Photo: Stacy Lathrop, NCBI BookshelfStacy Lathrop of NCBI Bookshelf kicked things off with “Bookshelf Evolution: Modelling Order Out of Chaos,” a journey through the process of making Bookshelf work for a wide variety of content types (and vice versa). For a different perspective on the world of online book publishing, Tom Beyer of Sheridan PubFactory drew on his hosting platform experiences to discuss “What Exactly Is between the Covers? Putting Your Books Online.”

Very helpful to hear the issues [other organizations] have overcome in the XML journey. (Bobbie Jo Hanks, USGS)

But “complex content” doesn’t just mean books! Many of our customers work with standards, which have their own unique and complex set of needs. From ASTM Compass, Kara Laufer Levesque and Jaclyn Kovach spoke about their organization’s experience of using XML to publish standards online.

Pain Points & Prescriptions

Photo: Discussion at the Editing breakout tableThis year’s XUG breakout session was designed to bring attendees together around common workflow pain points, from handling author submissions to keeping up with vendor and platform requirements. Peers sharing challenges, best practices, and productivity hacks is what XUG is all about, so we were pleased to see lots of lively discussion!

Elizabeth [Blake] and Elisabeth [Elbers] facilitated a wonderful conversation about authors. Excellent! Highlight of my day. (Sam Wilder, JAMA)

Photo: Discussion at the Keeping Up with New Developments breakout tableInera staff were on the lookout for ways eXtyles or Edifix might be able to help with workflow problems, and we followed up the roundtable sessions with a group discussion of some intriguing new ideas!

Good opportunities to talk specific subjects with peers. (Willem Galanis, JBJS)

Industry updates

What do IBM Watson, bagel emoji ????, JATS4R, Open Access, and disappearing Word hotkeys have in common?

Photo: XUG attendeesIf you guessed “Bruce Rosenblum talked about them at XUG,” you’re right! Bruce’s high-speed tour through recent happenings in the scholarly communications industry is a perennially popular XUG feature, and the 2018 edition, featuring the above topics and many others, was no exception. Check out Bruce’s slides here for all the highlights, plus lots of links to follow for more details!


Photo: Sunset over Back Bay, BostonWe always aim to make XUG a participatory and inclusive event, but it’s our customers, partners, and guest speakers who make that ambition a reality!

Lively and interesting. It is clear you are passionate about your products and making them better. (Kristin Karr, Connecticut Secretary of the State)

If you were at #XUG2018, 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 15th annual XUG.