Friday, January 28, 2011

Collaborating on documents, working papers, manuscripts, etc.

Yesterday I received a phone call from a product representative for a new collaboration tool called Hylighter. If you visit their page you can see very brief video that gives you the basics of the thing. This simple tool enables groups to share and comment on documents in a very straightforward way while maintaining the integrity of the original document. Unlike MS Word's track changes feature, Hylighter doesn't require users to distribute multiple copies of a document, nor does it enable collaborators to edit the document. All commentators work on a single iteration of the original document, which reflects all ideas and comments in a clean, color-coded format. A real dialogue can emerge on the page, through threaded comments, which then leads the editing or review process forward. It seems to me that this application harnesses the best features of Word (comment capabilities) and Google Docs (single document centrally accessed) while maintaining editorial (version) control of the work.

I'm considering negotiating a NELLCO offer on Hylighter. Is this something you can see having application in your environment? Do you think journal and law review staff would find this useful in their work? How about faculty using this in the peer review process? Could you see uses for it in your own work? Please share your thoughts!

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