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Public Documents as Weblogs
Mark Simpkins, Technical Consultant, Central St Martins School Of Art
Gavin Bell, Creative Technologist, Nature Publishing Group

Date: Thursday, March 17
Time: 2:35pm - 3:20pm
Location: California Ballroom C

Governments, councils, big business, and other organizations all increasingly release documents online, but the majority of these are released as PDFs. While the PDF document format does have many advantages it also has many disadvantages.

In June 2004, the UK government released its latest consultation document on ID cards. The document was made available as a PDF, as well as being purchasable from the Stationary Office. It was a document meant to engender debate, to ask questions, and expect responses.

The blogosphere was willing to answer this call, but it did face a basic problem: linking into the document. You could cut and paste a paragraph into your blog and add your commentary but the strength here does lie in the linking around the document, the conversation constructed.

Simpkins converted that document into a blog, breaking it down into its component paragraphs, making each a blog entry.

What have we learned from this experiment and others? Using other documents and other techniques to try and break these documents out of PDF's creating core resources for the documents and allowing us to link and monitor the conversations and uses around these documents.

For information on the project, visit consultationprocess.org.

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