Ever since database technology arrived in the 1960s, people have wanted to visualize that data. And as data has exploded over the past 6 decades, computer graphics technology has advanced in parallel. As of today, humans consume data in quantity and quality never before possible. Database publishing software has had to evolve to keep up.

This was an analysis by IDC of 16 prominent forms of database publishing for print, as of the early 2000s. They are positioned based on the degree of complexity along the Y axis, and volume of document throughput on the X axis.

16 Document Types
In many cases, database publishing uses exactly the same tools as desktop publishing. For example, Adobe InDesign is fully exposed to automation, and there is a server version of the product that publishes at scale.

Consider this cruise booklet. Thousands are produced daily, but it’s not just a collection of charts and figures, or a crude price listing. Each personalized booklet includes data intermingled with targeted text, while ads are interspersed using available white space. For a different recipient, the document may offer a unique sequence of sections. And based on the shape of the data, the page count can differ.

Using sophisticated applications like Silicon Paginator, such content can be produced at scale with lights-out automation, while the output still looks carefully handcrafted.
Paginator Flow

Additionally, artificial Intelligence helps ensure neat pagination into signatures while avoiding excessive whitespace. If, for example, the data flows to a single line on the final page, Paginator can copy fit and pull that line back. If there is whitespace left after the data flows, it can be filled with an ad.

Technology has brought database publishing to the point that very sophisticated visualization and communication can be automated as never before.

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