RE: So now we are content engineers?

Subject: RE: So now we are content engineers?
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: Joe Pairman <joepairman -at- gmail -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 11 Nov 2013 11:06:52 -0500

Context is everything. Here at our house, CMS Engineer is a lovely woman named Susanna, who sits one cube away from me and is the local Configuration Management System goddess. Her knowledge of products and processes is encyclopedic. She's also been around long enough to be a significant chunk of the corporate memory. At various meetings, she asks even more "whoops... did you guys think of..." questions than I do.

The reason I bring it up is that, if I raised my voice and said "CMS", only my co-techwriter and I would be thinking of "Content Management", and *everybody* else who heard the term would be thinking of what Susanna does. She's been at what she does, for this company, about as long as I've been at what I do for this company (since a previous century), and I'm pretty sure that her brand of CMS had a deeper and wider history (across industries) than does the techwriter-ish "CMS". In fact, I'm surprised that we (techwriters) came up with that initialism, given that most of us work for companies that would have had Configuration Management as a corporate concern long before they'd have had Content Management as a concern. We should have been aware of the Config term before we even thought about the Content term, just from working in the real world.

So then, I start to imagine that the techwriters who were exposed to the Content Management concept before being exposed to the Configuration Management concept would have been the ones who actually went to school to be techwriters (a recent phenomenon)... and learned CMS from academics who might or might not have had real-world experience. That is, the fresh young things would have heard "Content Management" first, in class, because they had yet to be exposed to jobs in industry, where they'd learn about "Configuration Management". Hmmm. Thus are myths created and perpetuated. :-)

-----Original Message-----
From: Joe Pairman
Sent: November-08-13 3:48 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: So now we are content engineers?

Since I first heard the term "content engineer" used by Joe Gollner, I've never thought that it was intended to be synonymous with "technical writer". Joe used it to refer to the application of engineering principles to the design of end-to-end content processes and the accompanying technologies (I'm paraphrasing but that's the gist of it). Mark Baker seems to define it in a similar way in his final paragraph.

I do think it's helpful to have a term for those of us who spend much of our time working on the tech planning & implementation side of things and don't do any actual tech writing (well, apart from specs, presentations, emails, and the odd internal guideline!) Most medium to large organizations that do anything interesting with structured content need at least one person dedicated to this. Other terms I've heard include "information architect" and "CMS engineer", though the former can cause confusion with those who work exclusively on Web IA, and the latter is often too narrow for what people in this kind of role actually do.

I run a small Content Engineering community over on Google+. Actually, I neglect it badly, so it's not very lively. But the posts that I and a few others have made there give a picture of the areas that this term is supposed to cover. Here's the link, for anyone who's interested:
https://plus.google.com/communities/117964510377945990313

Joe


On Sat, Nov 9, 2013 at 12:00 AM, Milan DavidoviÄ <milan -dot- lists -at- gmail -dot- com>wrote:

> Or perhaps he was speaking primarily for himself and secondarily
> inviting us to undertake a similar sort of reflection on our own work.
>
> --Milan DavidoviÄ
>
> Sent from my Yost 10
>
>
> On Fri, Nov 8, 2013 at 10:49 AM, Lippincott, Richard
> <RLippincott -at- as-e -dot- com> wrote:
> > I'm less sure that Baker was recommending a change in our job title
> > so
> much as he was using different words to describe what we do.



The information contained in this electronic mail transmission
may be privileged and confidential, and therefore, protected
from disclosure. If you have received this communication in
error, please notify us immediately by replying to this
message and deleting it from your computer without copying
or disclosing it.




^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
New! Doc-to-Help 2013 features the industry's first HTML5 editor for authoring.

Learn more: http://bit.ly/ZeOZeQ

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-leave -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com


Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit
http://www.techwhirl.com/email-discussion-groups/ for more resources and info.

Looking for articles on Technical Communications? Head over to our online magazine at http://techwhirl.com

Looking for the archived Techwr-l email discussions? Search our public email archives @ http://techwr-l.com/archives


Follow-Ups:

References:
Best places to put topics when they're needed twice: From: Editor in Chief
Re: Best places to put topics when they're needed twice: From: Gene Kim-Eng
Re: Best places to put topics when they're needed twice: From: Editor in Chief
Re: Best places to put topics when they're needed twice: From: Gene Kim-Eng
Re: Best places to put topics when they're needed twice: From: Editor in Chief
Re: Best places to put topics when they're needed twice: From: Gene Kim-Eng
Re: Best places to put topics when they're needed twice: From: rebecca officer
Re: Best places to put topics when they're needed twice: From: Gene Kim-Eng
Re: Best places to put topics when they're needed twice: From: Kathleen MacDowell
So now we are content engineers?: From: Erika Yanovich
RE: So now we are content engineers?: From: Lippincott, Richard
Re: So now we are content engineers?: From: Milan Davidović
Re: So now we are content engineers?: From: Joe Pairman

Previous by Author: RE: Footnotes - acceptable in technical documentation?
Next by Author: RE: Standards for command-line documentation + dumb Acrobat X user question
Previous by Thread: RE: So now we are content engineers?
Next by Thread: Re: So now we are content engineers?


What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads


Sponsored Ads