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"Repurposing" Content

Data-to-events.com is a strong believer in retaining content of programs for future use -- i.e. "repurposing it". This results in substantial cost reductions when further development efforts are made in the future. Here are some thoughts about the implementation of "repurposing":

  • Vision and Direction. The organization must clearly want to do this. There must be a clear directive from higher management that "this is the way how things are going to be". The alternative is a haphazard collection of computer files scattered all around the organization and its vendors -- today's equivalent of "stuffed shoe boxes". This is clearly not efficient.
  • Organizational Dynamics. This is a team effort between all personnel and vendors. If your organization rewards "heroics" which encourage "one-off" behavior, direction must be clearly established that all participants will share and archive their materials before moving on to their next big event.
  • Common Sense. What should be retained for repurposing? Some common sense needs to come into play. Unless there are regulatory concerns, only the final copy of a word processing document should be retained, not all five previous drafts. Likewise, pick one or two photographs with the best overall qualities, not all fifty photos that were shots of essentially the same thing.
  • Hardware and Software -- Centralized Server and Document Management Software. All business organizations have centralized data files on database servers. These serve as a "keeper" of financial records, production, sales, etc. A document storage server or file area should be setup for centralized storage of documents to be repurposed. Software is available to manage these files -- basically serving the function of a librarian -- what is here? ... where is it? ... who created it? ... who checked it out?, etc. Examples of such software include Microsoft Sharepoint, PCDocs, etc. While the document management software is not absolutely essential, it does bring fantastic organizational capabilities for minimal cost.
  • Documents Standards (Not Necessarily Software Standards): Over the years, software packages come and go. Clearly organizations must have a standard for software that is responsible for the core operation of the business. Word processing, databases, spreadsheets, presentations, etc. must be able to be passed around and shared by the enterprise.

    Other projects such as photography, desktop publishing, statistics, report writing , web development, etc. may require more flexibility. It is suggested that if all possible, document standards dictate what format is most appropriate for long term reuse of the document -- a simple example might be: all retained photographs will be shot in "raw" format and converted to Adobe Digital Negative format (DNG), an open source format available to the public. This will prevent proprietary formats from making future use of photographs impossible.

    Another example of standards to be implemented might apply to workflow -- "..photographs to be edited in programs such as Adobe Photoshop will retain layers when saved. This will facilitate easy editing and modification in the future as well as conversion to non-English languages....".
  • Flexibility. There does need to be some degree of flexibility in developing standards operating procedures to make for a successful implementation of a repurposing project. Let common sense prevail.

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