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18/07/2006 IT development eases sharing of information PDF Print E-mail
A new IT development is marking the beginning of the end of 'can't open yours' culture.

As part of its drive to reduce the cost of services without compromising quality, Bristol City Council today joined the Open Document Format (ODF) Alliance. The move is expected to make it easier to share documents in different formats and avoid the frustrating 'can't open yours' culture, which slows down work.

As part of its drive to reduce the cost of services without compromising quality, Bristol City Council today joined the Open Document Format (ODF) Alliance. The move is expected to make it easier to share documents in different formats and avoid the frustrating 'can't open yours' culture, which slows down work.
The ODF Alliance is an initiative driven by a broad cross-section of organisations from industry and the academic, voluntary and public sectors. Members of the Alliance support the use of the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) approved Open Document Format.  This ensures that organisations using varying software programmes can read and use each other's documents easily. The alliance has a membership of 220 organisations who all recognise the cost benefit.
Saving time and money


Most of today's electronic office documents have been created by a few commercial software programmes and more often than not each one has its own format which cannot be used in conjunction with others without recourse to a time-consuming and limited conversion process. In order to process a document, users need the same programme (and corresponding versions) or a filter that allows the document to be opened and modified. OpenDocument Format does away with this need.
Last year Bristol City Council converted its word processing and other office software to Sun Microsystems' Star Office package, saving £1.1 million. Since then many large organisations have announced their intention to migrate to ODF compatible software. Crucially Microsoft, whose Office software package is the most widely-used globally, has now agreed to make its software compatible - a major step forward.
Councillor Steve Comer, Executive Member for Central Support Services, said: "Finding more cost-effective ways of doing the things we've always done should be part of the job here. Making savings where they can be made easily and without negative impact, protects important services and helps us keep council tax down as far as possible."

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