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Why have academics failed to make full use of the information manipulation and distribution tools offered by the Web? Ariadne\'s Philip Hunter investigates:
Just three or four years ago the Web community was getting used to the idea that the way we would work in future would be radically different from the way we work now. The world of coalface flatfile html markup would begin to disappear in favour of collaborative working, managed workflow, document versioning, on the fly pages constructed out of application independent xml chunks, site management tools and push-button publishing via multiple formats - html, xml, pdf, print, etc. Text appearing in more than one context would be stored in a central repository and repurposed according to particular requirements.
In the UK Higher Education sector, this doesn\'t seem to have happened. Worldwide in the university sector, it doesn\'t seem to have happened. Site management tools are being used here and there, and there are now decent text editors both available and widely used - this means that Web Editors are no longer expected to deal with basic markup chores all day every day. Some sites put together pages on the fly, using SSIs or ASP chunks. There are sites which interface with backend databases to provide user requested data in a user friendly format. However you will have to look hard for a Higher Education sector site which uses all of these techniques and which yokes them together with collaborative working and managed workflow. Higher Education is not using content management systems as a matter of course, and is not making use of the most sophisticated systems available.[ More ]