RE: Structure vs. Substance?

Subject: RE: Structure vs. Substance?
From: Dan Emory <danemory -at- primenet -dot- com>
To: "Giordano, Connie" <Connie -dot- Giordano -at- FMR -dot- COM>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2000 14:00:25 -0700

At 04:32 PM 6/12/00 -0400, Giordano, Connie wrote:

We must be defining "content" differently, because I can't see doing
structure without content--you just can't do an outline on nothing and you
can't develop a structure for nothing.

I have to have some idea of what the content is going to be before I can do
any kind of structure. Whether it's an outline for an essay or a complete
set of DTDs, if you don't know what's in it, by at least simple definition,
you won't have a clue about how or why to structure it a certain way. What
does the product do, why does it do it, and why should anyone care? If you
have the answer to that, you have the start of content. If you don't have
an answer, you will have no clue as to whether your structure has successful
communicated the content.

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree-I just can't separate content and
structure so completely as you can.
Then apparently you've never written a manual to a generic government
or in-house document specification that typically defines the organization
(i.e., structure), the kind of content to be included in each structural component,
and sometimes even the level of detail of the required content.

Typically, separate specifications are written for each document type,
and all documents prepared in accordance with a particular
document type specification are quite similar, at least at the
highest levels of structure. There are obvious advantages
to this approach: Regardless of how many different companies
produce manuals for a large, complex system, users know, at least in a
general way, where they can find various types of information
(e.g., troubleshooting, preventive maintenance, installation
instructions, operator instructions, etc.) in the manual for
each component of the system.
| Nullius in Verba |
Dan Emory, Dan Emory & Associates
FrameMaker/FrameMaker+SGML Document Design & Database Publishing
Voice/Fax: 949-722-8971 E-Mail: danemory -at- primenet -dot- com
10044 Adams Ave. #208, Huntington Beach, CA 92646
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