Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Managing PowerPoint? Repositories and the Office Desktop

It turns out that I have 1009 powerpoint files on my laptop and I don't know what most of them contain, let alone know what I can reuse for any future presentations that I am planning.

I'd at least like an overview of all the slides in all those presentations, so that I can organise them. Then I'd like to compare all these slideshows, delete the duplicates, note the variations and evolutionary history between different versions of the same presentation, and between different presentations on the same subject. I'd like to trace the cross-pollination of slides between different subjects. Microsoft SharePoint has the concept of a Slide Library ("a secure, online repository in which PowerPoint presentations can be stored, worked on and shared") but expects you to do all the organisational work, whereas I want something that will help to apply some organisation.

Should I do this on my laptop? Or should I try and do this on (shudder) an environment that sells itself as providing content curation and management services? Oh all right then, I'll do it in a repository. But I don't think it's going to be easy - for a start we're talking about efficient user tools for ingesting, comparing, contrasting and refining 1,000 items.

Still, there's a basis to build from: SWORD and Microsoft Office Repository tools should help me to at least get all these items into the repository. Once we're there we can take stock of any low-hanging fruit (searching, reporting, cataloguing, thumbnail previews, exporting collections). I've already done some of the preparatory work on the laptop - using AppleScript to create preview images and textual contents of every slide of every presentation. Now I can package up all these things appropriately and see whether a repository actually gives me any added value.


  1. This is exactly the kind of problem we're trying to tackle with The Fascinator http://fascinator.usq.ed.ua. We want to let it discover any class of file and let you classify stuff using informal tags and/or formal ontologies then route data to repositories and/or backup system based on that classification. In the case of PPT we could get it to build HTML views of slideswhos, or even to index each slide individually and build them back into presentations, showing where things have been reused.

    You should be able to tag stuff with things like 'Rubbish' or /conference/OR/OR09

  2. Reimplement Apple's Cover Flow in a less pointless-eye-candy fashion and the world is your oyster.

  3. Look at second video in http://www.nordisc.fr/presentationengine/, the SlideShopper, would not that be the slides repository you are looking for : organizing, sharing, viewing dozen, hundreds, thousands of slides directly from powerpoint?
    Repositiroy slides can be on your computuer, ftp, http, https server.