UKOLN "Publishing A Prospectus" talk given at the "Institutional Web Managment" Workshop


The compilation and publication of a prospectus can be a long-winded process. The generation of an electronic version as an afterthought can mean a substantial delay before potential students can access course information via the Web. Conventionally there are four main stages to the process: collation/updating of the course information from academic departments and services, preparation of the combined text using word-processing/desk-top publishing tools, dispatch of the text for printing, then reverse engineering the text into a Web-deliverable version.

This talk will describe an attempt to re-order the last three stages so that the electronic version becomes available soon after the collation/updating of information. If the text elements of the prospectus are held in a database it becomes possible not only to generate the Web pages "on the fly" but also to devolve the maintenance of the information to the people that provide it.

Web form-based interfaces are intuitive to use and familiar to many users (the browser has become an "everyday" application) - they render Web-publishing a more transparent process (no authoring application, no file transfer application, no server directory structure to navigate). Once the text of the prospectus is held in a database then a monolithic document can be easily produced; this can be imported into the desktop publishing tool that is still used to prepare the version to be sent to the printers. Importantly, though, the Web version is already world visible.

[Powerpoint 97 format] - [HTML format]
Hands-on Exercises
[Word 97 format] - [PDF format]

Biographical Details

Between 1986 and 1990 Paul was an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge. In 1991 he was appointed as Computer Officer in the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol. In 1997 he was the Information Strategy Co-ordinator, University of Bristol.