Social Documents

It looks as though there is a new category of web application emerging: services which encourage the sharing, posting and processing of online documents. Techcrunch mentions two of the more prominent: Scribd and Docstoc….. the Techcrunch comments also mention Thinkfree.

Its not completely clear how these services may evolve and what new forms of writing and reading they may encourage, but this has to be a hot area when you look at the enormous success in the last couple of years of YouTube and Facebook, MySpace etc

Exact Editions is a technical service for publishers, and it may be my failure of imagination that cannot see it becoming a social end-user tool. On the other hand there is clearly an unmet need — on Saturday I was hearing of such a need from a friend who has built up a database of literally hundreds of peace agreements (Sri Lanka, Sudan, Burundi etc — unfortunately/fortunately its a hot and growing area in international law). She was explaining the difficulty of satisfactorily providing access to them through the web. HTML versions and PDF versions have obvious drawbacks. There is also the need to provide precise citations and comprehensive searches and for the database to grow gracefully. Exact Editions would be a good solution, but its hard to see the business model and our process is one which still requires a significant degree of human intervention and some investment on our side.

Hmmmm. Anybody got any suggestions? I know we could do it pro bono, but that is probably not scaleable.

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