[Ian Barnes](http://www.bloglines.com/blog/barnes)visited Toowoomba last
week, and gave the same talk about [sustainable word
as I reported in November, in a slightly longer version.
Ian has done some interesting work on converting word processing
documents into a sustainable standard format; he chose
[DocBook](http://www.docbook.org/), and considered the
[TEI](http://www.tei-c.org/)(Text Encoding Initiative) format as well.
These are both XML, both open, non-proprietary formats and both
structured into sections, rather than being flat, like a word processing
documents, or most HTML.
It struck me after hanging out with Ian for a couple of days that the
[ICE](http://ice.usq.edu.au/) approach applies beyond the word processor
/ XML interface. ICE grew out of an idea for an interoperable word
processing template that let Microsoft Word, OpenOffice.org Writer and
XHTML interoperate via the use of templates and style. **Not a magic
converter** that would attempt to map any-old Word document to any-old
HTML document to any-old Writer document but a way of working in any one
of those systems, [**using
styles**](http://ptsefton.com/blog/2005/03/02/use_styles) **and sensible
conventions** that give you documents that can be interchanged with the
Ian's success with mapping ICE word processing documents to a 'slice' of
DocBook show that the ICE approach is really suited to **general-purpose
interchange**. Maybe it shouldn't be called the *Integrated Content
Environment*, but *Interchangeable Content Environment*.
[ICE](http://ice.usq.edu.au/) is ready for brave, resourceful people to
try. At the moment it is quite good at making courseware from
OpenOffice.org and Microsoft Word documents, and on the RUBRIC project
we're training it to do project document management as well. If you want
help getting started with ICE please [contact