8. Saying it from a single source

Library staff are busy people, and the thought of producing information or documentation in lots of formats can be exhausting. You can make it far easier for yourself by using an approach called single source publishing.

This involves formatting one master document in such a way that it facilitates production in a range of formats, such as HTML for the web, PDF for printing or Braille transcription.

The source document is written in a computer language called XML (Xtensible Markup Language). XML does not use formatting or typesetting which means that the information can easily be changed into other output formats.

Single source publishing saves time and money, as well as reducing the possibility of making mistakes. It saves you the bother of re-editing documents to make the various versions that you need. Single source publishing also makes it easier to update documents, as there is only the one master file.

For single source publishing to be successful you need to:

  • know your audiences, and what formats they might want
  • follow clear print principles (see the next section below).

You can find out more about single source publishing from “Accessible Information for All”, available from the Citizens Information Board. New single source publishing tools appear regularly, so keep in touch with new developments.

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