Many digital edition platforms ignore and eliminate traditional pagination. They create a ‘reflowable’ text which has a loose format which adjusts its shape to the device on which the text is displayed. Exact Editions (along with Google Book Search and most of the PDF-based digital magazine systems) is firmly page-centric. And we actually use the pages, by making the Tables and Indices live resources.
So we hit problems when publishers play fast and loose with page numbers. We met this problem today with two very different publications. The first a distinguished and intellectual magazine which has a lot of ads occuring in an unpredictable pattern within the whole magazine. So page 8 in the table of contents may really be the 18th page and page 10 the 23rd. Only the editorial matter is paginated. Such an arrangement is easy enough for a human to navigate but it gives our algorithms indigestion (hiccoughs?). The only acceptable solutions we can think of is to suggest to the publisher that they impose a traditional (ie normal) pagination, or that they supply a PDF where all the ads are collected at the back. There may be publishing objections to these solutions, so it is not certain that we can help them with a digital edition.
The second problem today was a book (I look forward to seeing it since it covers the best pubs in the UK), but awkwardly for us the index is based on a numerical ordering in which the pubs appear in the book, rather than simple pagination. As it happens, I have just bought another and weighty tome (letters from and to Wittgenstein) in which the indices are ‘entry’ ordered rather than page-derived. Putting all the correspondence with Wittgenstein in a date order and then using the numerical order of the letters for a scholarly apparatus rather than the pagination, makes clear editorial sense. I am pleased to say that our algorithms can probably deal with the pubs, so Wittgenstein’s letters would be a comparative breeze. If Wiley/Blackwell are looking for a new digital platform we can help out…..
Loose-leaf publishing is another matter. We have wondered about it, but for the moment we shall walk by on the other side.