Re: Information Mapping

Subject: Re: Information Mapping
From: "Michael West" <mwest -at- oz -dot- quest -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2000 17:00:35 +1100

Shelley Hoose wrote
> [Information Mapping] really just seems to be common sense and another way
of packaging the
> organization of a document, web page, etc.

I wish it were common sense. Unfortunately, poor
organization is much more common than logical
organization, even among many who call themselves
technical writers.

The important part of IM is not the "packaging" (which
in fact can be pretty horrible) but the analytical process.

An alarming number of technical writers fail to distinguish
between instructions (or "procedures") and descriptions.
An alarming number of technical writers fail to distinguish
between a "process" and a "procedure." When this happens,
meaning is muddled, ideas are out of focus, important
information gets lost. And as a result, using the words of
what I have been told is a wise old Chinese saying, "that
which should be done is not done."

IM can help here. So can other structured writing techniques,
rigorously applied. It is the rigour, not the brand name,
that does the trick.

Michael West
Melbourne, Australia

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