RE: Writing structured content [recap]

Subject: RE: Writing structured content [recap]
From: quills -at- airmail -dot- net
To: "Gordon McLean" <Gordon -dot- McLean -at- GrahamTechnology -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2007 15:22:50 -0500

At 8:28 AM +0100 6/22/07, Gordon McLean wrote:
>Thanks to everyone who has chosen to respond to my question.
>The information mapping topics, whilst interesting, aren't really answering
>my question. I asked, specifically, about "structured writing" or "writing
>for single source", I also mentioned that I'm more interested in how best to
>shift a docs team from writing chapters, to writing distinct chunks of
>information. Hence why I titled my email "Writing structured content" not
>"What is structured writing"... Too subtle, right?
>A. the rewriting of existing content
>B. a distinct method of writing content in the future, which allows for
>maximum re-use.

Then I'm stumped, why ask if you know the answer?

If you are doing the job correctly you are already writing structured content.

From Macro to micro. Your chunks are discrete portions of a procedure
or whatever that can stand alone. Your write from that view to
accomplish the objective of that topic. The more narrow the topic the
more detailed and smaller is the chunk. Think tasks. Each task is

As for single source. Well, that doesn't work too good if your
audience changes as well as presentation and what or why you are
presenting that information. An experience programmer doesn't have
the same needs as a newbie. Nor does an administrator need the same
type of information as does a user.

Single source is only allowed for the same audience. If you use
structured writing, you might, and I emphasize might, be able to
reuse portions in different documents. Though again, because of the
needs of your audiences, you might not.

And procedural won't work with informational information needs.

So what do you really want to discuss?


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RE: Writing structured content [recap]: From: Gordon McLean

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