Re: So now we are content engineers?

Subject: Re: So now we are content engineers?
From: Joe Pairman <joepairman -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2013 12:54:22 +0800

Great point, Kevin. Context is definitely everything.

I understand that a lot of people on the list feel that if you're in
charge of content technologies within a tech docs team, then you should be
called a Senior Technical Writer. And in the context of hiring, that might
indeed be a good way to find someone who had the right blend of tech skills
and content background. But within the organization, if you're called a
Senior Technical Writer, then other teams assume that your job is to write
about the product. And it gets a bit tedious to explain constantly that
they need to talk to others about that.

It's an interesting point you make about the definition of "CMS". In fact,
many people in the marketing and Web worlds assume that a CMS is a Web
content management system. So when I used to describe our CCMS tool SDL
Trisoft as a CMS, people expected that it would be a delivery platform,
which it's not. I now introduce it as a content development system, or an
IDE for modular content, depending on the audience, and a lot more people
understand it that way. I think this is just another case of "context is
everything".

(It might be worth mentioning that Mark Baker himself seems to see a minor
role, if any, for CMSs within content engineering. As for me, while I
recognize that there are not a few failed implementations, I've also seen
how CMSs can make things vastly more efficient and can improve content
quality too. And they are an integral part of the content development,
localization, and build process. I'd definitely put them under the umbrella
of content engineering.)


On Tue, Nov 12, 2013 at 12:06 AM, McLauchlan, Kevin <
Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com> wrote:

> 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
>


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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
RE: So now we are content engineers?: From: McLauchlan, Kevin

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