A Compelling Argument: Justifying Distributed Authoring

Carl Cargill, Netscape Communications

The current rationale for distributed authoring seems to be centered on the concept that it is a "technology whose time has come". With the appearance of the World Wide Web, the argument runs, there will be a need for the ability to author documents in a cooperative and team-aware process, allowing the "team as a whole" to create and modify their creations in real time. What is generally overlooked in this bit of wishful thinking is that the organizational structure - not technology - drives the process of creation in most organizations, and that organizational structure has not significantly changed in the past 100 years. The real challenge for distributed authoring is not that of the technology, but rather the challenge of demonstrating that it serves a real and useful role in the evolution of the business organization. This talk will discuss how distributed authoring can be a key technology for the organizational structures of the present, and the future.