Maryland Comp A Survival Story –Waldman

Skills Needed

Although automation at that time is not what we think of today, it required highly skilled mark-up and make-up people. Even as desktop publishing was obsolescing traditional advertising typographers, the book typographer who had systems and personnel skilled in doing specialized titles still prospered—simply because of the complexity of the task. But progress and time caught up to even this niche and, by the mid-’90s, failures were becoming everyday events.

Luigi told me that Maryland Comp is doing what I have been writing about. They adapted to fit the new needs of their established customer base. For example, the contents of a biology book may have to be repurposed and sold as an interactive CD. Maryland Comp can produce and manage the entire project. By adding SGML or XML tags to the file, the material can be produced in a variety of formats, including the interactive CDs that they make and package for their clients.

Maryland Composition started in 1968 as a “comp house” primarily serving the publishing marketplace, with an emphasis on medical textbooks. The medical and technical industries were the driving force of their company—from the days of hot metal through the onset of cold type to electronic page makeup.

The onset of automation processes forced employees whose trades were composition and typesetting to become desktop publishing and prepress specialists. Improvements in technology and employees with shifting skill-sets could now offer the publishing industry and other marketplaces multi-purpose end products, as well as new products.

Maryland Comp believed that its true mission was always to be a content solutions provider (as they call themselves)—whether it was by pages created and put together on a light table, pages created through a Penta or Miles system, or pages created by converting information stored electronically in a database.

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