Hederis To Receive BISG's Industry Innovator Award

Posted By: Brian F. O'Leary Announcements,

Since 2014, the BISG Board of Directors has presented its Industry Innovator Award to an organization that boldly reimagines what publishing is and can be. This year, the Board honors Hederis for its commitment to building "write-once, read-many workflows" that support multiple downstream use cases, including those meant for print-disabled audiences. The company's ability to bring leading-edge workflow solutions to publishers of all sizes, at a cost that benefits those publishers, is equally notable.

Recent recipients of BISG's Industry Innovator award have included Wattpad, Bookshop.org, Macmillan Learning, LitBar, Little Free Library, Project Cicero, and SheWrites Press. The award will be presented to Hederis CEO Nellie McKesson and her colleague John Bylander as part of BISG's 2023 Annual Meeting, scheduled to take place on April 28 at the Harvard Club of New York.

On learning of the Board's decision, McKesson said, "I'm so honored that Hederis is receiving the Industry Innovator Award from the BISG. Single-source workflows have been my passion since the early days of my career. The Hederis team has spent many long days (and nights) working to make these workflows accessible to publishers of all shapes and sizes. To have that effort recognized by such a respected organization is incredibly validating, and our whole team is even more energized to keep pushing for the single-source revolution."

The name Hederis (pronounced “header-iss”) is derived from hedera, a purely ornamental symbol used to mark a break between paragraphs. The company works to give publishers control over their processes and intellectual property, keeping staff employed with fulfilling work that builds real skills.

Nellie McKesson's career includes a wide range of workflow-related accomplishments. She spearheaded O'Reilly Media's switch to use HTML and CSS instead of XML in their single-source toolchain. She also served as part of O'Reilly Media's Atlas team, building a web-based single-source tool, and built  the first automated/single-source publishing tool for Macmillan's trade publishing division.

These experiences shaped the Hederis app. The company focuses on their understanding of what users need, how they want to interact with workflow tools, and the features that users consider vital. In developing automated or single-source workflows, one of the big roadblocks requires adjusting the text or layout and seeing how those changes affect the rest of the book.

This part of workflow has historically required a painful series of steps: making the change in an XML/HTML/Word text file, running the book through the toolchain, seeing how the final PDF pages look, and going back to the text file to make a different change, over and over until you get the results you want. The Hederis app gives users editable laid-out pages directly in the browser, so that you can make a change and see how it will appear right away.

Other single-source workflows mandate the use of templates to drive their book designs. In these kinds of workflows, book designs are controlled by the CSS design language, which can be expensive to develop and maintain. The Hederis app allows users to customize the design of any book using a browser-based design tool, without needing to have any code knowledge.

Hederis also worked to include accessibility tools directly in its ebook workflows. Publishers can create cleanly-coded, accessible ebooks without adding extra steps or production cycles to their workflow. Their supported accessibility features give publishers of all sizes access to tools the support this critical requirement for digital products.

Hederis works to make single-source workflows available to publishers of all sizes. This approach ensures that the book publishing industry is ready to meet new demands for formats and distribution methods. It also provides publishers with an easy way to take risks on smaller works, while helping publishing staff rediscover the joys of working on books.

The Industry Innovator Award will be presented as part of a lunchtime program at the BISG annual meeting, which will take place at the Harvard Club of New York on April 28. Registration is now open.