Re: Writing structured content

Subject: Re: Writing structured content
From: Troy Klukewich <tklukewich -at- sbcglobal -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2007 09:27:35 -0700 (PDT)

Hi Gordon:

I have no UK or training connection, but I might add to your google-fu and the general discussion: "minimalism."

Minimalism encompasses structured and single-sourced techniques, but provides a global methodology for dealing with content using those very techniques.

Strictly speaking, a structured or single-sourced approach can be used to build virtually the exact same output as before with the same word count for the customer. If you have a repeat warning note or a reference table that shows up in multiple contexts, you single-source those pieces of information and save a bit on maintenance and translation.

Minimalism, on the other hand, can result in huge word count reductions while increasing customer satisfaction with more focused, relevant, and easy to navigate documentation. If structured documentation with single-sourcing is the theory, then minimalism is the applied science.

I think there is a real risk that structured documentation and single-sourcing methodologies are sometimes being used to essentially pore old wine into new bottles. It makes sense to fundamentally rethink content development technique when moving to structured documentation and single-sourcing systems.

JoAnn Hackos has been delivering a number of courses in the United States that might give you ideas for what to focus on in the UK area.

Troy Klukewich
Information Architect

----- Original Message ----
From: Gordon McLean <Gordon -dot- McLean -at- GrahamTechnology -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2007 3:12:22 AM
Subject: Writing structured content

As a step towards taking the 'single source' plunge, I'm looking to locate a
training course on how to write for such a solution. I've seen these
referred to as "structured writing" and "writing for single source" in the
past, but my google-fu is failing me.

Does anyone know of any such training courses being run in the UK?

Basically looking to migrate the team from a document-centric writing view
to a component-centric writing view, and whilst I can take a good stab at
what that involves myself, I think we'd benefit from some formal training to
help re-enforce some of the ideas.


Gordon McLean

Publications Team
Tel: 01415334164

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