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DIGITAL digest March 2005

March 2005
At CIP4, Good Things Come In Threes

RESTON, VA—CIP4 (The International Cooperation for the Integration of Processes in Prepress, Press and Postpress) has gotten off to a fast start in the new year, with a deal to expand its scope, further testing and take on a new initiative.

The organization entered into an agreement with NPES The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies that transfers the PrintTalk specification and schema to CIP4 for its long-term maintenance and distribution. PrintTalk is the specification for exchange of business data between print providers and their customers. It defines a "best practice" common and open communications interface between companies who buy printed products and their suppliers.

Under the terms of the agreement, CIP4 will distribute the PrintTalk schema and specification at no charge, and will ensure that PrintTalk is kept current with future versions of the JDF (Job Definition Format) specification. PrintTalk will cease to exist as a separate organization, and its members who are not already members of CIP4 will continue the term of their PrintTalk membership under CIP4 until their next renewal date, at which time they will be offered CIP4 membership.

"The PrintTalk standard is mature and the 'pairing' with JDF under CIP4 enhances the capabilities of both, as well as ensuring continued interoperability in the future," says William "Kip" Smythe, vice president of NPES and PrintTalk's president.

"JDF supports the life cycle of print information, and that life cycle begins with the customer's RFP and order," adds James Harvey executive director of CIP4. "Printers and JDF-enabled MIS systems that incorporate PrintTalk can preserve customer data from its origination, saving time in data entry and communication, while reducing communications errors."

As part of the organization's ongoing activities, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG recently hosted the seventh CIP4 Interoperability (IOP) conference at the Print Media Academy in Heidelberg, Germany. A total of 85 representatives from more than 30 international companies participated in the event.

According to CIP4, a key difference in this round of testing was the high level of detail involved when verifying the exchanged information. Participants also reached an agreement on enhancements for the next update, JDF version 1.3, which will extend functions for package printing and security when exchanging JDF data online.

Lastly, CIP4 is launching the first worldwide annual awards program designed to recognize innovation in print production. The "CIP4 International Print Production Innovation" (CIPPI) awards will recognize one printer, publisher or prepress service provider in each of three categories:
 

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