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FreePint BlogWorkflows - managing information chaos

Thursday, 28th January 2010 Please login top-right to be able to star items


This week's Content Workflow event in Frankfurt (see for part one of a report on the event) saw some thought-provoking presentations on the issue of online access to documents. Scott Ahlberg, Head of Corporate Services at Reprints Desk (, the organiser of the conference, argued that the online model, rather than simplifying workflows, has led to an information chaos. Online access has raised end-users' expectations and, if anything, has increased content spending. According to Ahlberg, more than 50% of licensed e-prints are not downloaded; the concept of 'just in case spending' still exists in the online world. Ahlberg called for more flexible pricing models for articles, which enable customers to understand why they are charged certain prices. Customers also need to be made aware of what content they can or cannot use, or as the the case may be, re-use: once a document has been bought, is it possible to share the content with colleagues? Ahlberg hopes that in future there will be tools that can measure the content we are likely to use - as it stands there is still a gap between identifying and using articles. With the social web raising user expectations, it is important for workflow tools to be brought to the end-user. Stephen Garfield of the Copyright Clearance Center ( highlighted the complexities of copyright compliance, especially when applied within global companies. A tour of the various international treaties and intellectual property associations served to emphasise the different approaches to legislative and licensing in Europe and elsewhere. It is rare to find standardised licensing agreements even within publishers - no wonder that end-users are confused about what they can and cannot do with content. To manage the headache of rights management, the Copyright Clearance Center has developed Rightsphere, a rights advisory and management tool. The product, which was winner of the 2007 SIIA Codie awards ( and was first reviewed by VIP in May 2007 (, can be integrated into customers' workflows. Rightsphere helps users respect license and copyright policies and thereby contributes towards a freer flow of information within companies. This workflow solution, which includes mobile applications aimed at sales teams, has been taken up by firms such as Novartis and Astra Zeneca. Overall, Content Workflow 2010 presented the audience with a thorough walk-through of current copyright compliance issues, but managed to provide some solutions as well. As ever, developing the right tools is never enough: integrating tools into workflows requires changing end-user habits and attitudes.


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