Over the last year, Microsoft has really engaged with the STM publishing community and has been maintaining a steady dialog on how they can help publishers start to use OOML and the OpenXML (DOCX) format.
I had the honor of moderating a seminar session at the SSP Annual Meeting on 28 May titled The View from the New Office: Opportunities and Issues Incorporating Office 2007 into Scholarly Publishing. Microsoft staff Pablo Fernicola, Murray Sargent, and Alex Wade all did a wonderful job of presenting many of the new features of Office 2007 and the value of OOML and OpenXML/DOCX formats. Cyndy Wessling also of Microsoft also chimed in from the front row on the latest release dates. Paul Topping of Design Science presented the amazing progress he has made on MathType. Tim Ingoldsby and Bruce Rosenblum presented the issues surrounding the new format that are still causing problems for publishers. Presentations can be found at inera.com/word2007directory.shtml. Here are my observations.
Microsoft has Created a New XSLT to Fix MathML Support in OOML
Great news! Unfortunately, they are currently planning on shipping this when Service Pack 2 is ready for Office 2007. That would mean that it is not likely to happen until early 2009. This would be a real shame. Apparently the XSLT transform has been tested and really would make a significant difference. Without this XSLT it is not really advisable for publishers that need MathML in their workflows to start supporting the OOML/DOCX format. If anyone from Microsoft is listening out there, I highly recommend you simply publish this XSLT as a beta out on your developer forum or even better please post it to your scholarly website at microsoft.com/mscorp/tc/scholarly_communication.mspx . The XSLT is not technically part of the Office 2007 offering. It is a transform that publishers and their partners (as well as others) can readily start inserting into our automation routines. You have come so far! Give us the tools so we can start the migration. You want, we want it, let’s get moving together.
Back in February, Microsoft announced support for ODF coming in Office 2007 Service Pack 2 (SP). This SP is planned for release in early 2009. This is huge news. It means that authors now have much more freedom of choice. A beta may be ready as June/July 2008. Keep an eye out for this one.
Macintosh Office 2008
The new Office 2007 Math Editor is not shipped in Mac Office 2008. It turns out the Mac Office group is completely separate from the Windows team. There is no shared code base.
In order to do math in Mac Office you will need the MathType/Design Science toolset.
VBA is due back soon for Mac Office.
Simple Demo of DOCX Containers
To demo the power and components held within a DOCX file
Change the .DOCX extension to .ZIP and then open within a ZIP program to see the various containers (folders).
Microsoft is always releasing new experimental improvements that further the usefulness of their product line. One such improvement is a plug in that allows the user to quickly
Search Commands in Office. It is a vast improvement over using the Help function.
See this at: www.officelabs.com
Microsoft have created a free plugin that allows OpenXML (DOCX) files to be translated to the Daisy format for accessability. See this at http://www.openxmlcommunity.org/daisy/
Microsoft Research Projects
• Ontology Markup of Scholarly Papers – prototype with PLOS
• Are interested in chemical markup via Office
• Storing datasets inside DOCX files – prototype with Broad Institute
• Autodeposit into Gene databank
• Data Archive project – prototype with Johns Hopkins
See information about these at Microsoft.com/science