Re: content management & documentation management

Subject: Re: content management & documentation management
From: "Mark Baker" <mbaker -at- omnimark -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 15:29:22 -0500

C. Traynor wrote

> I've been researching the concept of single sourcing and have come across
> the terms "content management" and "documentation management" often. It is
> unclear to me whether these are the same thing or two distinct processes.
> Can anyone provide me with a clear definition of each?

No. In most cases, as spoken by vendors, they mean whatever the capabilities
of a particular system happen to be.

"Document management" may mean simply an automated library system with check
in or check out. It may mean a workflow system that moves documents around
according to a defined process. It may mean the ability to break down a
document into chunks and serve up the chunks individually. It may include
the ability to borrow chunks from one document, use them in another, and
remember the borrowing so that related material can be updated.

"Content management" has tended to be used specifically for web pages, and
in some cases may mean nothing other than document management for web pages.
On the other hand it may mean managing the content of a document, as opposed
to managing the document as a whole, and mean the same thing as the last too
meanings above for "document management." Occasionally, it means managing
information content independent of any particular document in which it might
be used.

Be aware that "single sourcing" isn't well defined either. At very least it
may have one of the three following distinct meanings:

1. Outputting the same document to different media from a single source
document file. There is a single source for all presentations of the same

2. Managing all documents in a single repository with some form of managed
borrowing so that you can take a piece from an existing document and reuse
it in another. There is a single source for all documents, plus support for
voluntary reuse.

3. Managing all information in a structured information set so that
information is never duplicated. Documents are produced by selecting and
arranging information from the information set. There is a single source for
each distinct piece of information.

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