Writing a Book Collaboratively Online
November 6, 2007 7:49 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a relatively easy way for a group of people to collaboratively write a book, online.

Looking for a relatively easy way for a group of people to collaboratively write a book, online.

I figure I need easy web page modification on the 'pages' of the book (like a wiki), but with a dynamically updating table of contents (perhaps along the left side of the screen) that ideally has collapse/uncollapse option for the TOC sections (as I've seen on some websites).

A wiki seems like an obvious choice, but are there any wiki's that offer a TOC option that can be set up relatively easily? With collapsing sections and dynamically updating itself and is always visible on the screen?

It need not be a wiki; It could be regular html pages (and thus a regular website with dynamic table of contents on the left) -- so long as the 'pages' of the book are easy to edit/modify.

Wondering what is the easiest way (for a non programmer) to get such a thing up and running. Or is there already a website out there that has been built for this purpose?

The always-visible table of contents is key.

posted by jak68 to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Any chance all of you are on OS X? If so, SubEthaEdit might be worth a look.

That is more of a real-time collaborative tool though. If you're looking for more disjoint contributions, then yeah, something like a wiki would be a good idea.
posted by zap rowsdower at 8:09 AM on November 6, 2007

Google docs?
posted by ian1977 at 8:44 AM on November 6, 2007

Have you tried Blurb.com? They just added the ability to crowd source a book.

Check out TechCrunch's review the site.
posted by brokekid at 8:48 AM on November 6, 2007

Perhaps basecamp is what you're looking for. It's a great collaborative tool.

It comes with file sharing and message board. There is a free version and a pay version with more storage, etc.
posted by Baud at 9:30 AM on November 6, 2007

thanks for the tips. The writers are using various OS's (both osx and winxp).

Will check out blurb and basecamp...
posted by jak68 at 10:03 AM on November 6, 2007

Googlepages as one person suggested or sign up for a private bulletinboard.

Of course, IM and email works well.
posted by Kioki-Silver at 11:06 AM on November 6, 2007

FYI tech crunch's review (linked by brokekid above) in turn mentions a number of other sites specifically designed for collaborative writing (look at the comments as well as the text). Very helpful.
posted by jak68 at 5:32 PM on November 6, 2007

update: we wound up using wetpaint.com. Its more of a site where you can collect notes together with others and have a discussion board. Nothing too fancy but looks clean and neat and its easy and intuitive to use (no learning curve whatsoever).
posted by jak68 at 6:34 PM on November 18, 2007

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