Collaborative writing is an important element of the virtual workplace. While it is sometimes enough to e-mail a document back and forth between authors and editors, users frequently need a more effective solution. Users can choose from system-based or browser-based software and from synchronous and asynchronous editors. These products can vary from the simple to the sophisticated and from free to expensive. This chapter looks at research on the use of collaborative editors and tools currently on the market and provides guidance as how to evaluate the appropriateness of the tools, paying particular attention to collaborative features, industry standards, and security.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Synchronous Editing: Editing in which users are able to edit the same document at the same time and changes are reflected in the document in real time.
Asynchronous Editing: Editing in which users are not able to edit the same document at the same time.
Browser-Based Software: Software that runs inside of a Web-browser rather than as a stand alone program. Browser-based software is frequently run from a remote server.
Groupware: An integrated suite of applications that supports a wide variety of collaborative efforts. These efforts can include writing, calendaring, instant messaging, and data basing, as well as fax, voice, and video services.
Office Open XML (OOXML): An open standard for electronic documents developed in large part by Microsoft for its Office 2007 suite. OOXML is based in part on XML
Open Document Format (ODF): An open standard for electronic documents developed by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS). ODF is based in part on XML.