"The real value of ReportLab's work will be appreciated with each subsequent edition of the Equipment Catalogue"
-- Justin Hartree, Humanitarian Department, Oxfam
Oxfam is one of the world's leading international aid and development organisations. Their Humanitarian Department based in Oxford in the UK produces an Equipment Catalogue for use by project managers operating in the field in emergency situations across the developing world.
The catalogue is an A5 size, ring-bound manual which Oxfam previously constructed manually before distributing printed copies. With each new edition there were considerable logistical problems associated with gathering all the necessary information, ensuring its accuracy, and then producing the final booklet. The process was time consuming and error prone and meant that the printed version was frequently out-of-date and inaccurate.
To solve these problems, Oxfam decided to migrate all the information to a Content Management System (where it can be edited and updated) and generate the printed version automatically. This is where ReportLab came in, transforming the data from the CMS is into a PDF which can be printed or distributed electronically. This system now gives ownership of the content to the relevant departments and means that Oxfam has the ability to produce each updated version of the Equipment Manual at the touch of a button.