Sent by Ann Rockley on 9 January 2004 14:02
At 10:41 AM 1/9/2004 +0100, Mirko Bulinsky wrote:
>my client would like to reuse content within
>its Enterprise Document Management System (EDM). For opportunistic reusing
>he wants to work with Word 2003 since this is the enterprise standard.
>I was exploring the marked for products, plugins or SDK's enabling the usage
>of Word as a document composer.
>Since document composing is a very common and basic task within EDM, most of
>the vendors declare that they can do this, even with the usage of Word. A
>closer look reveals: none of them can do it!
>That surprises me. Word is probably the most widely used editing front end
>and the methods of reuse, described in Ann's book are crucial within
>authoring complex documents. Is there no marked for this? Are there no EDM
>products using Word as editing and composing tool this way?
All CMS will work with Word from a BLOB perspective (binary large object).
In other words they can store a Word file and control it. They can also
typically transform it into something else like HTML. However, the majority
do not give authors access to the content that makes up the content of the
file (e.g., sub-sections). The only way to reuse the content is to check
the whole content out, copy the piece of information that is of interest
and check it back in along with your new document that contains the reused
content. The problem with this is that the second document is controlled as
a document and the content you reused is not tracked and controlled only
the whole document is.
This is not the fault of the CMS, it is really the fault of the way that
Word files are typically authored, as a single document with very little
markup that identifies the content (e.g., there is a lot of "Normal" styled
text) that does not provide enough information to the CMS to enable it to
"chunk" the content into separate elements that can be controlled and
tracked. If the content is appropriately identified (e.g., specific style
tags like Caution, Summary) some CMS will enable you to set up a "bursting"
map that breaks up the Word file as it is stored. Once content is burst
into element parts you can reuse any of the elements and control and track
However, that being said, Word 2003 now accommodates XML Schemas. XML does
enable you to create structured content whose elements can be easily
identified by your Schema and therefore stored individually in your CMS.
This means that current users of Word will need to move to XML and
restructure their documents appropriately. This could be an issue if you
have a lot of legacy information. There are also Word to XML converters
that will do some conversion of legacy documents, but you will still have
to do some manual work to move it from unstructured to structured content
that provides more intelligence about the document.
If you are interested in then taking your Word documents and creating
complex documents like manuals that have a TOC, multiple sequential
sections, and an index, I would look at publications oriented CMS. Most XML
native CMS are publications oriented, though they can also support output
to web sites (some better than others). You may need to integrate a
sophisticated delivery tool that enables you to do this.
Most of the high-end ECM systems (Documentum, Stellent, FileNet) handle
Word well, but they do not handle very granular content (small size
elements) well. You will need to create larger elements (though they can be
much smaller than a document) or use a lot of nested reuse.
>please trim your posts.
The Rockley Bulletin addresses issues of importance to those interested in
content management, content reuse, new tools and technologies, resources,
strategies, best practices and more. http://www.rockley.com/Bulletin.htm
"Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy" (ISBN 0735713065)
by Ann Rockley with Pamela Kostur and Steve Manning is now available from
amazon.com or amazon.ca. For more information visit
please trim your posts.