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Workshare updates document-tracking software

The new version of the company's main server product has added security tools, including the ability to strip sensitive metadata from documents.

Software maker Workshare announced on Monday a new version of its main product for tracking and managing changes to corporate documents.

Version 3.5 of Workshare's self-titled application includes new tools for securing potentially sensitive metadata embedded in documents, new e-mail tools and the ability to integrate with leading content management systems.

Workshare is a server application that integrates with Microsoft's Office productivity applications and e-mail client to track changes to documents as they're sent back and forth via e-mail. Instead of the author having to juggle edits submitted through multiple messages, Workshare keeps track of all proposed changes and allows the document author to reject or accept them with a few mouse clicks.

The product is meant as an alternative to more elaborate collaboration systems, which typically require users to store documents on a central server and use browser-based tools for navigation.

Installation of such systems requires extensive back-end work and requires significant training for workers to learn to use new tools, said Amy Millard, vice president of marketing at Workshare.

"People are comfortable working in Word and Outlook, and that's the process we're trying to improve," she said.

The new version of Workshare includes tools for integrating with content management systems sold by Interwoven and Hummingbird, plus e-mail tools for easily grabbing all messages related to a particular document.

New security features include the ability to automatically strip metadata Word uses to track changes to documents. Such metadata can be used to track a document's history and has been responsible for high-profile leaks of company secrets, including a recent gaffe by a leading Linux antagonist, the SCO Group.

Word can be configured to remove such metadata, but the server approach ensures reliability and consistency, Millard said.

The newly released Version 3.5 of Workshare has a basic price of $300 per user.