Table of contents become the book’s dashboard¶
To readers, the table of contents is little more than ... well ... a table of contents, listing chapter titles and page numbers. Or, in the age of digital publications, contains a link to the chapter inside the PDF or e-book.
To authors, publishers, translators, proof readers and project managers the table of contents is so much more.
It is the result of the conceptual phase leading to the book production, it is the map of the book, the window into the book, the landscape, the promise.
And it can be more still.
Working with an online book production and workflow management tool like Booktype, the table of contents becomes the dashboard of the book, giving access to all aspects of the work in progress as a central control room would do. In this blog post, we walk you through a few components of what the Booktype table of contents is capable of.
If you want to try it yourself, go to omnibook.pro and start your own book. You can use the web-based book editor to create a new book and chapters. If you import existing documents from Microsoft Word DOCX or EPUB files, the table of content will be automatically generated.
Workflow management in the table of contents
Making a book is a social event. There is never just one author writing one book. From proof reading to translation, from contributing editors to actual collaborative writing, many people work on one book. The table of contents needs to reflect this reality of book production. Booktype's status assignment gives everybody an immediate overview of where the book is at. In a dropdown menu, each chapter can be assigned a status to reflect its position in the workflow.
Because every book is unique, these status labels can be individually assigned to every book. Default settings are configured for the overall Booktype instance and will be assigned automatically to every new book. If need be, in the settings for every book you can fine tune these settings.
Restructuring the book in the table of contents
Think of the table of contents as a whiteboard more than a piece of paper, think of it as a collection of post-it notes that can be moved around. Booktype provides a number of actions that can be taken inside the table of contents. The button "edit chapter" which opens up the book editor, also has a dropdown element which offers a number of actions, as you can see below, like renaming a chapter.
You can put a chapter on hold, meaning the chapter will not show up in the book when you press "Publish". But the chapter will also not be deleted. If you work on a software manual, for example, it might be a chapter about a feature which is still in development. Developers are invited to contribute to this chapter, but it is not part of the book yet.
If you want to remove a chapter entirely, not just put it on hold, you can also delete it.
As a project manager or author with the appropriate rights, you can also lock chapters in the table of contents. "Lock editing" is a soft lock by the author or editor. It can be unlocked by anybody, who has the appropriate rights to do so for this book. Rights and roles can be customised in Booktype to fit any workflow and team structure.
"Lock exclusively" is putting a lock on a chapter which is more strict. Only the person who did lock the chapter or administrators of the Booktype instance can unlock such a chapter. This is often required to make sure that after proofing, fact checking and all, the chapter stays as it is before publishing the book.
Changing the book structure is simply a matter of draging and dropping the chapters where you want them inside the table of contents.
Split a chapter into two
One more feature, related to the table of contents: at times, the import from Microsoft Word does not recognise a chapter break, because instead of using a paragraph style for a headline, it might just be a bold line. Or you could not stop writing the entire night and realise in the morning that your entire book lives all in one chapter.
In cases like these, place your cursor anywhere in the chapter, where you want to break the long text apart. Then select "Insert > Split chapter" to insert a chapter break. Booktype will ask you to give the chapter a new title. The new chapter will appear immediately in the table of contents beneath the original chapter.
Give it a try: write a book
Of course, there is more. In the screenshots above you can see how chapters are clustered in sections (also called "parts" of a book). You can toggle the "detail view" on and off. You might also be interested to hear that the chapter title inside the book can differ from the chapter title in the table of contents.
Why not give it a try? The easiest way to give Booktype a test drive is pointing your browser to the social platform for writing books: omnibook.pro - which is built with Booktype technology.