Since I was writing my case study about Springer Science+Business Media in Trimester one I was highly interested in the academic publishing industry and I wanted to gain practical experience in this publishing environment. I was lucky to do my placement at Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden. Springer Science+Business Media has offices in Berlin, Heidelberg, Wiesbaden, Dordrecht and New York, among others. The office in Wiesbaden is in charge of the German titles concerning the B2B market segment. The publishing company there comprises the imprints Springer Gabler (Economy), Springer VS (Social Sciences), Springer Spektrum (Natural Science) and Springer Vieweg-Teubner (Mechanical Engineering). I was mainly supporting the imprints Springer Gabler and Springer VS.
At first I have been overrun by all the abbreviations that are used on a day-to-day basis: BFlow, BWF, ET (Erscheinungstermin (dt.) = date of publication (Engls.)), HotP, FSV, TS, etc. My supervisor and all my co-workers there have been very nice and patient, explain me all the peculiarities of the different imprints and data systems. I have learned that the metadata of books are the basis for the whole production process and need to be maintained constantly throughout the process.
Moreover, Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden aims to publish about 1500 books per year and there are twelve employees taking care of these projects. This means that every one of them needs to handle around 125 books per year. This is only manageable because of the cooperation with the Full Service Vendor (FSV) Crest in Pune, India. Here Springer uses BPO (business process outsourcing) to optimise the workflow. I have experienced that in such a big company as this, it is not possible to do the practical production tasks we learned during our course, as for example doing the lay-out of the text or designing a cover. It is very good to know how it is done, because you can empathise with the co-worker doing this in India and give more precise instructions, but in principle you only work as a coordinator between the editors and the production editors at the Vendor. You commission, supervise and check the projects for their quality.
Standardisation and the optimisation of workflows have been predominant concepts the whole time I was there. Thus, I have learned how important it is to keep organised and to fill in data into the different systems meticulously.