Sector Educational publishing
Target Users University students
Country Italy
Dimension National
Nature of the initiative Private
  • Il Mulino
Contact Andrea Angiolini
Editorial and digital director


The Italian publishing house Il Mulino has launched on 7th October 2013 Pandoracampus, a new platform specifically addressed to academic studies. Pandoracampus is multi-publisher, since together with Il Mulino also De Agostini, Carocci and Wolters Kluwer Italia are now publishing their textbooks on it. Each of them implements its own price policy.
It’s an interoperable e-learning platform which also allows to shop for the access to contents, whether are chapters or whole textbooks, via the web app and soon also via the app for iPad where it’s already possible to take advantage of all the other features.
At the core of the ecosystem there are texts, contents available also in printed version. Around them, there is a wide range of further enhancements, resources, active contents, services for students and teachers, resources to check learning progresses.
Pandoracampus is compatible with the MIUR (Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca) decree D. M. 781 27/09/2013.

Business needs

Pandoracampus takes place in a landscape highly influenced by the legislative context on the move, new ways of teaching and learning which affect the role of publishers and authors as well as new students’ attitudes and behaviours.

In this scenario, an habit which heavily affects Italian academic publishing is illegal photocopies. To overcome this problem and provide a valiant alternative to students and professors by offering a personalized path, Pandoracampus offers flexible solutions. On the platform, students don’t purchase the books but they pay to have access to them. Pandoracampus provides them the possibility to choose among different types of licenses, according to specific needs: access to the whole text, only to some chapters or to the entire coursepack, for a duration of six months or only for one month.



The titles available, chosen between the most adopted textbooks in a wide range of subjects , offer the digital version of the printed text plus extra contents and a number of innovative services which aim to meet the needs of both students and professors.

The reading ecosystem , ‘the Reader’, allows to focus on the text, with the index displayed as needed. The text, in HTML5 format, is enriched with integrated glossary of the subject, images galleries, videos, internal and external links, exercises and extra resources.

Students can take advantage of the resources available and of the collaborative environment where it’s possible to study and share comments. They can underline the text, take notes, make researches in the whole book and ask questions to tutors or colleagues who are studying the same textbook, as they all are connected via the platform.
Professors can prepare their own coursepacks, digital personalized textbooks. They can choose chapters from different books available on the platform, even from different publishing houses, and organize them as a course. After the approval of the platform, a value is placed according to the algorithm which rules the platform.


The role of technology

The keywords that characterize Pandoracampus are standards and interoperability since the platform is  completely based on standards (docbook, HTML5, DOI, ONIX, MARC 21, lms/lti) and can be integrated with e-learning platforms (like Moodle).

The workflow – which starts basically from InDesign - captures the regolarities of the styles and produces, first, a non-hierarchical xml file and than, using a specific environment connected to Pandora and developed and managed by Il Mulino, produces XML files hierarchically structured (docbook), hidding the complexity of the process for the copyeditor. There are further workflows for the enhancements and active contents, based on HTML5, Javascript and CSS. The platform was developed within Il Mulino and other partners - such as editorial services - were involved in training courses and tests, especially about interactive contents.


Results obtained

In the first phase of the project, the focus was about collecting as many data as possible in terms of feedbacks and analysis of students’ attitudes. Many focus groups with students and professors were activated in order to understand which are the features used, which are the critical points, which is impact on the study. The feedbacks showed a broad spectrum of attitudes and behaviors but point to interesting results.
As a confirmation of results achieved and the value of the platform, other Italian publishing houses may soon join Pandoracampus.


Pandoracampus was born in the Italian context but it has been conceived looking at international models. The software is multi-language and multi-level and the platform is built on standards and interoperability, characteristics which may make it scalable also in international contexts.

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