We had a huge, unruly Web site. It just had different graphics, a better-named Web team and more people shoveling on content and applications. Finally, out of desperation, we decided to try a new-fangled thing called a Web content management system.
A case study of a team approach to information architecture at Duke University by graduates of the Duke Continuing Studies Technical Communication Certificate program.
Microsoft’s Visual SourceSafe was not created with technical communicators in mind. It was created for engineers writing software source code. But it is successfully used by technical writers in offices around the world to control documentation.
According to a June 2006 study conducted on behalf of the Online Publishers Association (OPA) by the Center for Media Design at Ball State University, advertising dollars aren't keeping up with skyrocketing consumer web demand.
Much effort is focused, on the selection and subsequent implementation of a content management system (CMS). While it is obviously vital to ensure that the initial implementation project is successful, this is only the beginning of an ongoing commitment to growing and enhancing the use of content management throughout the organisation.
If a modern day Rip van Winkle woke up after just a year's sleep, he would be stunned by the buzz around Ajax today. Technology is moving very quickly in this space and whether you are a web author, a CMS developer, or a regular web user, Ajax will make some exciting changes to your world.
In the content management system I currently use, I’ve noticed no less than nine metaphors, which are meant serve as organizing principles, but they don’t. Granted, the particular tool I use isn’t really meant for gobs and gobs of editorial work, but nonetheless its organization and structure were likely created by a developer within arm’s reach of a bottle of tequila.
While I'm a big fan of XML for many purposes, it's a misconception that it's the single best solution in every scenario, and it's worthwhile to consider the alternatives in situations where the benefits of XML are not necessary. In this article, I discuss alternatives to XML, SGML, and HTML that might be suitable when budgets are more limited. While XML is perfect for highly coded information, other options can work well for many kinds of information. Markup languages are at the high end of the cost spectrum, so if you don't need the benefits they provide, you certainly should consider the alternatives discussed below.
Creating an XML-based Content Management System to single-source technical publications is as simple as 1 - 2 - 3. OK, maybe it isn't quite that easy, but this article discusses how it can be done.
Ann Rockley shares information about an upcoming report on component content management systems her group will be releasing this summer. She also says the Rockley Group is launching a blog to provide quicker information to users in a more interactive way. She talks about the growing presence companies have in the blogosphere, and why they chose WordPress as their blogging tool.
The nature of content has been undergoing a profound shift in the past several years, beginning with single-sourcing efforts and continues as the need for portable content increases. The portability of content is not a manufactured need, but an extension of the trend to create, manage and deliver content in more efficient ways. In turn, this shift affects content development and delivery, particularly localization, which feels the impact of source-language changes exponentially.
This article discusses how organisations can resolve the conflict between the need to produce bespoke, customer-specific, technical communication and the need to re-use as much information as possible. It begins with a description of the conflict and resulting trade-off and then compares it to the field of manufacturing, which has found ways to deal with a similar issue. Universal information modules are introduced as the solution - these allow the manufacturing principle of mass customization to be applied to technical communication. The article ends by outlining the requirements needed for supporting tools in order to adopt this solution.
In this column, I’ll review what user assistance architects mean by reuse and what its benefits can be. I’ll then describe some different scenarios for reuse and offer guidelines that user assistance architects and information developers can follow. My examples show how DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture) can be an effective reuse framework. But the principles I discuss go beyond DITA, and you can apply them to any structured information framework or toolset.
What is the proper foundation for an enterprise-scale Digital Asset Management (DAM) system? How much of that system should be part of an organizations shared infrastructure and how much should be tailor-made to a specific application? There is no single answer to these questions, but changes in the technology industry are forcing everyonevendors and customers aliketo change their assumptions about how DAM systems will be built. This paper explains how the content-management infrastructure is changing, why that matters to DAM, and what benefits can be derived from leveraging a content infrastructure for DAM. Examples from an enterprise implementation at the University of Michigan illustrate the types of architectural issues and requirements that affect platform choices when selecting a digital asset management system.
There are two camps in technical documentation. There’s the “quick web” folks who connect easily and author easily, and then there’s the “structured quality” camp that requires more thoughtful testing and time spent on task analysis and information architecture.
Many websites are still publishing content that is not core to their business. The justification is that such content will indirectly deliver benefit. This is not a good idea. Focus on the content that is directly applicable to your organization’s objectives. Any other content confuses. It wastes time and money.
Effective Intelligence is a helpful concept in the design toolbox. User research and testing are the best ways to know your users, but knowing what may limit a user in reality helps design ways to make them smarter.
Reviews briefly the systems that Gery presented in Electronic Performance Support Systems and then focuses on the 19 attributes she subsequently developed to elucidate them. Then examines the 1997–2001 competition award winners in light of these attributes. Doing so, it turns out, both clarifies the attributes and suggests a few new ones.
I and my co-workers developed an author-friendly method for electronic submission to an academic journal, which is published using a SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language)-based system. The method uses a style function and RTF (rich text format), and can be used in popular word processing software: Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, PageMaker, etc. The method has been adopted in Bulletin of Chemical Society of Japan (CSJ) since April 1994, which is the monthly English journal of CSJ, and has been published since 1937. The journal has been published in a SGML-based system since January 1993. Our electronic submission method will be included in SIST (Standards for Information of Science and Technology) No. 14 (draft): 'Guideline for electronic submission', which is considered in SIST Committee in Japan, and will be published in near future.
The topic of technical publishing is relatively new to the world of Eclipse. One can make the argument that technical publishing is just another collaborative development process involving several people with different backgrounds and skills. This article will show that the Eclipse platform is a viable platform for technical publishing by discussing how to write documents such as an article or a book within Eclipse. In fact, this article was written using Eclipse.
Are you a Web publisher or Web submitter who uploads documents manually? The primary role of a Web publisher is to publish content on the Web. The content being published could be in different file formats like html pages, pdf documents etc. A typical process involves a Web publisher uploading a document, entering the metadata for the document, and posting it to the Web. This effort is time-consuming. Is there any automated tool that can help Web publishers submit several documents automatically without having to enter the metadata of the documents manually and processing them? The answer is yes.