Future-proofing Electronic Files

December 2004
by Marshall Masters

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A self-publisher with one title and a multinational publisher with thousands of titles have the same urgent need to ensure that electronic content will last. Huge publishers with expensive content-management systems shuttle managers to standards committee meetings around the country to bone up on the latest tools and technologies. Yet, despite these prodigious expenditures of time and money, their best-laid future-proofing plans often go awry.

Given this discouraging observation, can future-proofing make economic sense for small to medium-sized publishers with a few desktop PCs and a handful of popular desktop publishing applications? Yes, and it will save money today as well as tomorrow.

But brace yourself for a big shock. The MS-Word DOC format is not a highly survivable format.

“Oh, my gosh–we only use Word DOC files!”

Learning from History’s Dust Heap

Yes, “everyone” uses Word today. Then again, in days gone by “everyone” used WordPerfect and WordStar. Why aren’t these applications well supported now? For several reasons, but one stands out: upgrade blackmail.

If you have never experienced upgrade blackmail, either you never use computers, or you never pay for software. The rest of us know the drill: Someone with a new version of your desktop application edits your file, and now your older version of the application cannot read it, which forces you to pay for an expensive upg…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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