Online Document Collaboration

Collaboration is a broad and all encompassing term which comprises of many technologies and application. Web meetings/conferencing, internet forums, desktop sharing, instant messenger, emails, shared calendars, online project management, wikis, social networking (Facebook, Linkedin, twitter), ranking and voting applications, online document or spreadsheet editing are all examples of collaborative applications.

My interest is more in defining document collaboration and how to categorize various ways collaboration happens around documents or content. With a variety of choices in the area of small business document management systems – the decision may come down to which system allows users inside and outside the organization to efficiently and effectively conduct online document collaboration.

Following activities around a document/content can all be considered some form of collaboration:

1. Real time multi user document editing
2. Asynchronous document collaboration
a. Check-in/checkout
b. Revision control
c. Comments/Discussions/annotations around documents
d. Workflow around documents
e. Assigning tasks around documents – comments, approve/reject, updates
f. Messaging/emails/alerts around updates or arrival of new documents
g. Email based invitations to user inside and outside the organization
to collaborate on a document library
h. Desktop access to document library and synchronization of desktop
content to online document management systems
3. Wikis – these are free form content collaboration tools
4. Blogs – These could be considered as collaboration tools.

Online document management systems that offer the above will provide the most value for effective
online document collaboration.

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