Re: Two questions for single-sourcing practitioners

Subject: Re: Two questions for single-sourcing practitioners
From: Char James-Tanny <CharJT -at- helpstuff -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 16 Mar 2002 15:29:59 -0500

Hi, Dick :-)

> Hi right back at ya. This is a heck of a way to spend Saturday, isn't it?

Well, I suppose I could be cleaning... ;-)

> I think this may intersect some of the issues raised in the Knowledge Management thread. To some extent it's not so much a matter of who knows -- it's more a matter of where they are comfortable expressing what they know. This company does not revolve around the RFI/RFP process. We get them infrequently and, in our experience, the effort that goes into them is rarely rewarded (compared with other approaches to selling). So I am not going to get the whole company to reengineer their work habits in order to make the RFI/RFP response process more efficient.

OK, so far I understand :-)

> <snip> <synopsis> folks write what they need to, using the app they're most comfortable with. You add them to a database. The problem is, what happens when you need to access the information? Since they didn't add it to the database, you have no way of knowing whether or not the information has been updated.</synopsis> </snip>

So you need a system that can track files from various apps, that lets you know when a file has been updated in case you need it for an RFP.

Obviously, AuthorIT won't do this...it tracks information in an internal library, and what you need is something that will track information from a variety of places, sort of like an external library.

But you also need a bit more...the fact that a document hasn't been updated doesn't mean that it's OK. And, given that you have some folks submitting information through e-mail makes it even trickier...

And, of course, this is complicated by the fact that you want to implement this system without hassling anyone else.

Now that I understand the question, I realize that I don't have an answer. While there has to be something somewhere that can at least track when different docs have been changed (by analyzing the time/date stamp), I don't think anything exists that can work without outside input...someone needs to flag a document and state that it needs to be updated for anyone else to get that information.

> Not sure I'm following what you did/what you tested. What I'm looking for is differential output, so that a register mark comes out as a superscript in Word but not a superscript in HTML and "(R)" in plain text. Or a "dash" (grammatical mark) comes out as space-en dash-space in Word but ampersand-hash-151-semicolon (without surrounding spaces) in HTML and hyphen-hyphen in plain text. As I said, this gets subtle.

Yes, very! I verified (almost) that the input and output were the same (that is, an en-dash was an en-dash), but not differential (that is, an en-dash in the editor resulted in two different formats, based on output). This would require a custom solution...perhaps taking the HTML from Dreamweaver and running a series of macros in Word to get what you wanted, or something similar. (This is just an example! I don't know how well it would actually work ;-) )

So now that I tied up your Saturday without providing a solution, maybe I'll go clean ;-)

Char
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Char James-Tanny (mailto:CharJT -at- helpstuff -dot- com)
JTF Associates, Inc. (http://www.helpstuff.com)

Consulting and Development for WinHelp, HTML Help, and Web-based Help
Adjunct Faculty, Bentley College
AuthorIT Consulting and Training
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Re: Two questions for single-sourcing practitioners: From: Dick Margulis

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