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  • Need advice: maintaining project materials for a group

    Hi all,

    I am working with a few people to write a book. I could use some advice on the best way to manage and organize the project materials and maintain version control.

    For project materials I see the following:

    1. MS Word documents (a main document with the text of the book plus documents submitted by contributors)
    2. Paper notes
    3. Project plan/Work assignments (probably MS Project but might be an Excel spreadsheet or Visio diagram)
    4. Digital images (to be inserted in the Word doc and used for the cover art)

    The biggest challenge I see is making sure everyone’s work gets incorporated in the main document and changes by one person do not get overwritten by another. Another challenge is making sure everyone is working with the latest versions of the document, project plan, and images.

    As an added twist, contributors are located in different cities and will be working at different times.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by howman; 08-06-2007, 07:21 PM.

  • #2
    I think you need to check out "Google Documents and Spreadsheets." This will allow you to keep the source document of the book online, allow access to your collaborators (secure from others) so edits and changes can be made and everyone is working from the most current version at the same time.

    I think this tool is being used by a number of other people with good results for exactly your kind of project. The website will have more detail on how this can work.

    You can also maintain a spreadsheet on the website for the project planning aspect.

    I am not sure exactly how the images will work, but you will probably put links in the book document to images stored in Picasa or some such method.

    Good luck.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks Barry! I'll check out Google.

      Comment


      • #4
        I should mention that while I use the Google Documents service and like it, I have never used it for a project like the one you describe. All I know is that it is promoted to be useful for just that kind of thing and there are some user testimonials to support that. But bear in mind that the service is in beta and may have some rough edges.

        One limitation to be aware of is a document size limit of 500 kB plus 2MB per imbedded image. But you can have a huge number of documents and even hotlink among them, so if the file size becomes restrictive, you could have a file for each chapter or otherwise break it down.

        Also, the files are stored in HTML, which may be fine for editing content, but once that is done and you are ready to do the final editing of the formatting, you will probably want to dump it into a desktop word processing application.

        Good luck.

        Comment

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