There are many ways to publish articles or information on the web. Unlike the print world where any word-processing software the author chooses can be used to generate similar printed output, publishing online requires a bit of thought as to the form of the output.
While PDF documents can be posted for download viewing, many users find materials more accessible when they are presented in HTML form as part of a web site. When text and materials are part of a web site pages can be bookmarked, references within them can real links to other materials on the web, and the text can be easily browsed and searched. In contrast, files-for download force the user to use an alternative viewing program that is not as optimized for online research as a web browser is.
Material Lifetime and Life-Cycle
Depending on the nature of your materials, various tools and methods may be appropriate for publishing them online. As materials live online, they are often linked-to and referenced by others around the world. In some cases it is best to use a system that will show the viewer the latest version of the material (with links to previous versions of the material) a permanent URL. For other materials that are by nature less or never changing (re-postings of journal articles come to mind), systems can also be considered that do provide support for dynamic editing of the materials.
- Content Management Systems - These tools may be useful for publishing a large amount of work, but may be overkill if only a single short page is needed.
- Blogs - Blogging systems can be useful for creating a simple online magazine or publishing research updates in a form that is chronologically dependent.
- Wikis - Wikis enable quick and easy online collaboration at the expense of control over the content. They can be very useful for sharing working information that is rapidly accumulating and changing. The open-editing model of Wikis can make them less useful however for publishing authoritative versions of materials.
- Uploaded PDF documents - While this method has some negatives, it allows for precise control over what the output will look like on readers' screens and in print.