Share Your Documents Using DocuShare

Posted: August 24, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Emily Yaghmour

If producing documents can be painful, producing them collaboratively can be torture. But University Computing and Information Systems (UCIS) has software that can make the collaborative process a bit easier. Late last year, the university acquired 500 user licenses for a product called DocuShare, created by Xerox. As its name suggests, it enables users in different locations to share files and collaborate in producing documents.

Randy Anderson of UCIS expects the product will be particularly useful to taskforces as they develop written plans and reports. It would also be useful to faculty members engaged in collaborative writing, suggests Keith Segerson, executive director of UCIS.

DocuShare works with all kinds of files–Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, Microsoft Word files, video, and audio. You don’t have to be on campus to access the files; you can do so remotely over the Internet.

The software contains security features that enable a person in a given user group to control who has read-only access to files on the system and who can manipulate the files. It also enables users to track who made changes and when they made them.

Another product, called i-drive, which George Mason is piloting this fall for students, also provides the ability to share documents with others over the Internet. But Anderson believes that, while i-drive works well for storing and sharing noncritical files and for clipping and saving web content, DocuShare is better suited for document collaboration. UCIS will maintain and regularly back up all DocuShare files, he points out, whereas i-drive servers are maintained off campus by the company that produced i-drive. Also, because the DocuShare system is located on campus, users accessing the system from campus may do so using the university’s Intranet rather than the Internet. Access, therefore, should be both fast and stable.

For more information or to ask for access, contact Jeanette Blanchard of UCIS.

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