Development and Launch of Robust Virtual Library

New digital format allows users to browse, search, bookmark, annotate and share ancient classics with ease.

The Business Need

Harvard University Press (HUP) and the Loeb Classical Library Board of Trustees had a goal of developing an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing, virtual library of the more than 520 volumes of Latin and Greek texts that comprise the Loeb Classical Library. These volumes currently exist in print in the form of Greek and Latin texts with English translations (almost 300,000 pages) and needed to be converted to a digital format with access through a modern and elegant interface allowing readers to browse, search, bookmark, annotate and share content with ease.

Centric’s High Impact Approach

HUP needed help to set up and run this new product development effort. This was a cross-organizational initiative, which included the Editorial, Production, Digital Publishing, Technology, Sales and Marketing groups. In addition, a 3rd party web development organization was brought in to customize their digital publishing platform, a font development organization to build the proprietary fonts and a global digital content conversion organization managed the conversion of the almost 300,000 pages of printed text to digital format.

Centric’s dedicated program manager helped HUP to:

  • Develop a project plan which included timelines, dependencies and budget tracking.
  • Work with font developer to translate foreign language “print” fonts into digital formats.
  • Develop RFP for digital content conversion, lead the vendor selection process and manage the conversion organization to deliver the conversion of high quality digital content in XML format.
  • Manage web platform development organization throughout the development cycle – design of initial concepts, platform customizations, feature/functionality prioritization, 12 development iterations, gathering of HUP feedback for each iteration to share with platform development company.
  • Develop and implement QA process for both content and site functionality.
  • Report status, including financials to HUP management and the Loeb Board of Trustees.
  • Ensure that issues were resolved in a timely way by working with various groups at HUP.

Results

Over a multi-year period, Centric helped the Harvard University Press develop and launch one of their first (and most complex) digital products which is being sold to educational institutions around the world www.loebclassics.com. Through this work, Centric coached and mentored HUP staff in the disciplines of program and project management and they now have a much more structured process and approach for making decisions regarding digital projects and for driving change throughout the organization. This approach has expanded beyond digital projects and now is now also used for more complex print projects.