Update on LiXuid Manuscript: Developing the XML Editing Tool

LiXuid Manuscript™ is an Aries initiative that aims to build new features and functionality around the transition from unstructured representations of journal articles (Word or PDF files) to structured representations (JATS XML). Development of LiXuid Manuscript™ has been ongoing and has involved Aries staff from multiple departments. The deployment of Xtract in version 15.1 marked the first milestone of Aries’ XML-based development and kicked off the start of the LiXuid project.

So what’s coming next?

One of the upcoming aspects of LiXuid Manuscript™ is an XML editing tool. This editing tool will present a word processor-like environment where Authors, Editors, and production staff can make changes to the article directly within the editing tool while the XML is updated automatically behind the scenes. The benefit of this tool is that edits can be made to the content by the content experts themselves, while the XML editor constantly parses and updates the XML behind the scenes. This means less back-and-forth between external vendors and fewer misinterpreted changes.

To develop the XML editing tool, Aries staff have been working closely with a third-party vendor to create a customized version of their technology that fits into our user needs. A key component of developing this technology is user testing. One round of user testing has already been completed with another round planned for June of this year.

User Testing of the XML Editing ToolWord processor-like editing environment

During the first round of testing, which took place in September 2018, five testers visited the Aries office in North Andover, MA to spend either a morning or an afternoon interacting with the XML editing tool. Testers were given a script of editing actions to perform, ranging from simple tasks–like inserting or formatting text–to more specialized actions–like editing equations or inserting, labeling, and citing a figure. Aries staff also asked testers to categorize different functions into logical groupings.

The feedback collected during the trial sessions was then used to refine the interface design of the tool. For example, if a tester had difficulty finding or performing an action, Aries staff took note of what the user attempted to do, and adjusted the interface accordingly in order to make that action easier.

“This testing is important because we want to ensure that the editing environment is useful for organizations where an XML workflow is valued, and a user-friendly experience for their Authors and production staff members is essential,” said Carol Anne Meyer, Aries Client Services Account Manager, who organized the testing along with other staff.

Planning for a second round of user testing is underway, with a specific focus on testers with XML and production experience.

Want to learn more about this and other aspects of LiXuid Manuscript? Join our upcoming User Group Meeting taking place in Boston, MA on June 20-21, where we offer an Update on LiXuid Manuscript session and numerous other chances to learn more about the future of Aries product development.