Calenco youtube
Calenco linkedin
Calenco vimeo

The single document source, or single sourcing

Single sourcing is the basic principle of reliable reuse of a company's sensitive or strategic content. It revolutionized the way in which company documents are created and updated. Companies and communities that use it have completely abandoned traditional word processing or DTP tools.

Single source (single sourcing)


To understand the meaning of this article and the importance of the single source principle, we must look at companies' and communities' search for productivity and reliability.

  • In fact, every day they face short lead times and large document production volume.

  • What's more, the content of these documents must be reliable and updated to be quickly disseminated on various media.

In the past, it was relatively easy to control information that had been published mainly on paper or in PDF for its digital version. Today, we are in the digital era, with immediate dissemination of information by anyone who has access. And to make matters worse, this information must be read in an instant on tablets, smartphones, on the Web... It can also be disseminated in a PDF file attachment. The challenge of creating and disseminating reliable information by companies and communities is becoming critical.

What is single sourcing

By source we mean clearly identified content. Single means that the content exists a single time for a chosen work context. What's more, if the work context was until now limited to a person on his PC, it now becomes collaborative. It can be shared between several collaborators.

The goal is for the chosen content to be written a single time and to be re-usable by one or several writers to quickly create new documents with reliable, updated content. You also avoid the risk of errors associated with "recopying" or "copy-and-paste", which can result in serious consequences due to the dissemination of incorrect information. And this is not even counting the time that we are used to wasting with word processors.

Classifying reusable content in the single source

This is one of the strong points of single sourcing and re-usable content, which allows the writer to organize his document production for greater efficiency. The writer identifies the parts of documents that he can establish as re-usable content. On each of them, he will place one or more tags that will allow his to classify them in order to locate them quickly. Performance of a single source is measured by the re-use rate of the selected content.

Advantages of a single source

We all know the copy/paste function in word processing. It is a way to reuse parts of documents without having to rewrite them. However, this results in many problems that we must manage:

  1. Quickly finding the document, in various folders, that contains the part that interests us;

  2. Recreating the page layout once the part of the source document has been pasted in the new document;

  3. Updating all of the documents that contain this copied and pasted part as soon as the original was modified.

If the first two points result in us wasting a lot of time, the last one concerns the issue of the reliability of information disseminated internally and externally by the company or community to customers or the public.

Single sourcing solves this major risk of disseminating unreliable information in companies and communities.

Difference between inclusion and copy/paste

When you wish to add reusable content to a new document that you are writing, you do an inclusion, not a Copy-Paste. This means that you do not create new content, but you include the image of its original. The included image is thus non-modifiable, to ensure the reliability of the information.

In other words, to illustrate this we can imagine one or more mirrors in which a content (source) is reflected. The content is repeated identically on each mirror. Also, when you modify the content (source), the image in each mirror will be instantly modified.

Reusable content Reusable content from the single source multiplies like an image on mirrors

In conclusion, now imagine that each mirror is a new document. You have the principle of reusable content from a single source. A bit of poetry in the production of a company document...

You understand why, in a single operation with Calenco, you can update all of the documents that were created with the reusable content that you identified.

Easily, without specific computing simple as reproducing an image in a mirror.

image in mirror From the single source the content is duplicated as its image in a mirror

Watch this short video that demonstrates the speed and simplicity of this principle.