The Science of Digitization

Learning Content Delivered

Case Study


Oxford University Press ELT Division has a large number of very popular English Language Teaching (ELT) books in a number of imprints. Back in 2011 when this project started, the delivery method to students was print books with supporting audio CD-ROMs. The clients institutional and international customers were demanding interactive versions.

The publisher  had been engaged with another supplier for over 12 months who had failed to deliver the required desktop reader and had unilaterally withdrawn from the project. As with all education projects the delivery was tied to school and course semesters. The project was at risk with only four months to deliver.

Estel Labs was recommended to the publisher by a third party who had worked with us previously on projects for education content.

The requirement was for both a subscription controlled eBook delivery system AND the conversion of hundreds of print books into fixed layout audio books; all in just a few months.

This meant a subscription controlled channel delivery of fixed layout eBooks that exactly matched the print books. The books needed to be available with  high levels of content security both online and offline to all platforms and devices.


Estel Labs had the technology components substantially in place for the customer requirements  from our standard content solution frameworks. We were able to demonstrate a working solution to the customer within ten days, and identify the customization and change points to meet their requirements.

The delivery system was AZARDI: Content Fulfilment  ▶. This is designed for the controlled delivery of content to browsers, Windows, Mac and Linux desktops and Android and iPad tablets as web apps.

The Online and Desktop reader is AZARDI ▶. When the project started these readers were dedicated HTML5 reading systems as the ePub3 specification was not finalized.

For the pilot launch 20,000 students and 1,500 teachers has to be able to securely sign in and access online or download four gigabytes of audio books, all at the same time. The system was configured to use Amazon Web Services ▶ as a cost effective way to deliver Terabytes of content each month.

The book conversion from print to facsimile fixed-layout interactive audio books was done using IGP:Digital Publisher ▶. The collaborative nature of the production framework makes it easy for editorial quality control from anywhere in the world while production is in-hand.

Estel Labs not only provided the production and technology for content fulfilment but also manages the day-to-day hosting and maintenance of the system on Amazon Web Services.


We received the book content as PDFs and audio files just three months before the commencement of the course year. Production included page level audio editing, optimization for online delivery and creation of MP3 and OGG audio files to cover all browsers.

12 of the books were re-typeset before conversion to fixed-layout due to problems with the supplied PDFs. The production output was online book packages and downloadable book packages with fully indexed search.

Producing 10,000+ fixed layout pages with audio in just under three months required a dedicated team of production editors

The AZARDI:Content Fulfilment System is installed on a set of AWS servers controlling the delivery of content to browsers and platforms from AWS S3 storage buckets.

The account is control accessed from institution websites with semester-based subscription control. The desktop reader downloads secure packages and also manages subscription rights access control to all offline books.

For the 2012 semester we were requested to add a library of highly interactive early books for early learners. That is another story here ▶.

Estel Labs not only provide the production services, production technology and content delivery technology but also manages the day-to-day hosting and maintenance of the system on Amazon Web Services.


A two page spread of an interactive audio digital book as a close replica of the original print book. The audio reading tools are located top center. Pages can be zoomed in and out for reading on different platforms and devices.

The fixed-layout interactive audio books went live on schedule before the start of the first semester.

This publisher now has their digital content available on IGP:Digital Publisher. This means it is always ready to work. The same content that is produced as fixed layout has been tagged using IGP:FoundationXHTML which means it can also be instantly processed out as flow ePubs or PDFs.

When the ePub 3 specification was released in October 2011 all books were upgraded to ePub 3 with the added ePub3 processor. The same was done for the IDPF fixed layout specification. Only processing required; no additional labour. The fixed-layout ePub 3 content also works in Ingram's Vital Source library.

AZARDI:Content Fulfilment is used for the delivery of  digital fixed-layout books to learning institutions around the world. The content is delivered as secure subscriptions Online, to the desktop using a branded version of the AZARDI Desktop Reader,  and as mobileWeb Apps. New institution access portal accounts can be added at any time.

The system has now been operational for over seven years and is still running in 2017. It delivers terabytes of content to thousands of teacher and tens of thousand of students globally every month, reliably and without pause.

This project is a living powerful demonstration how the combination of the correct production and delivery systems can deliver powerful digital content solutions faster and more cost efffectively while delivering ongoing and future value.