Publishing And Devolving Maintenance of a Prospectus

Paul Browning, University of Bristol gave a plenary talk on “Publishing And Devolving Maintenance of a Prospectus” at the IWMW 1998 event.


The compilation and publication of a prospectus can be a long-winded process. The generation of an electronic version as an afterthought can mean a substantial delay before potential students can access course information via the Web. Conventionally there are four main stages to the process: collation/updating of the course information from academic departments and services, preparation of the combined text using word-processing/desk-top publishing tools, dispatch of the text for printing, then reverse engineering the text into a Web-deliverable version.

This talk will describe an attempt to re-order the last three stages so that the electronic version becomes available soon after the collation/updating of information. If the text elements of the prospectus are held in a database it becomes possible not only to generate the Web pages “on the fly” but also to devolve the maintenance of the information to the people that provide it. Web form-based interfaces are intuitive to use and familiar to many users (the browser has become an “everyday” application) – they render Web-publishing a more transparent process (no authoring application, no file transfer application, no server directory structure to navigate). Once the text of the prospectus is held in a database then a monolithic document can be easily produced; this can be imported into the desktop publishing tool that is still used to prepare the version to be sent to the printers. Importantly, though, the Web version is already world visible.


See slides hosted on Slideshare.