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The topics discussed here grow out of the bread-and-butter issues that confront my consulting and software clients on a daily basis. We'll talk about prosaic stuff like Membership Management, Meetings and Events Management and Fundraising, broader ideas like security and software project management, and the social, cultural, and organizational issues that impact IT decision-making.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Web-based writing

A few weeks back I talked about the wiki as a tool for collaborative writing. A wiki is a website that is easily editable by all members of a community.

Recently I came across a tool that takes another approach to joint writing projects. Writely is a web-based word processor designed for shared writing. The person who originates each document can select which other users are allowed to work on it. To participate each editor just needs a free Writely account, which takes just seconds to set up. The document can be created from scratch on the site, or uploaded from your pc. When the collaboration has borne fruit, the finished document can be published to the web or to a blog directly from the Writely site.

How useful any of this is remains to be seen. The creators claim they are not just trying to write a web-based word processor: their goal is the bring the "anywhere, anytime" nature of the Internet to joint writing projects. I can imagine its value, for example, in developing a draft with a board committee, who do not have common access to documents stored on your LAN. A tool like this might be a lot easier than emailing the draft to ten people like you do now, and then collating their separate edits. Can't hurt to take a look at it.

Which raises the question, "How in the world is anyone supposed to keep up with all this new stuff on the internet?". Insomnia comes in handy, I've found. You might also want to check out the blog of Marshall Kirkpatrick, whose site is full of ideas to help organizations make better use of the web. For example, take a look at the tip sheet he posted the other day on internet searching.

Comments on "Web-based writing"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (October 8, 2005 at 10:51 PM) : 

Thanks for the link. Insomnia helps for sure. Hopefully some of us insomniacs will be able to congeal the fruits of our sleeplessness into useable info for people who are able to sleep. I've started a new blog, btw, though my old one still has lots of info on it (like that post on searching you linked to.) But new stuff is at

Best wishes


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