Re: Resources for learning Structured Writing?

Subject: Re: Resources for learning Structured Writing?
From: Yves Barbion <yves -dot- barbion -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- westnet -dot- com -dot- au>
Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:20:49 +0200

Hmmm... interesting. Thank you for the pointers to the in-depth
discussions, Stuart.

A source? Well, yes actually, and it's the same source which was mentioned
earlier in this thread: the excellent book "Developing Quality Technical
Information".

On page 129, I read: "Research on short-term memory that George Miller
reported in 1956 indicated that people can remember seven items plus or
minus two"
And on page 130: "The traditional guidelines on the number of items in a
list that users need to remember are:

- Seven items maximum for online documentation
- Nine items maximum for printed documentation"

Anyway...

And, Stuart, you're right in saying that the book is about how to develop
quality technical information, not "tech writing the DITA way", but the
lead author of the book was Gretchen Hargis, who was "a pioneer of IBM
Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)". Indeed, DITA is not
mentioned in the book (and it's not mentioned in the index), but it is a
very good book on topic-based authoring. And the DITA information types
concept, task, reference are described on page 218.

You're "looking for a way to learn Information Mapping, WITHOUT going
through the "official" Information Mapping company"? Hmmm, I don't think
that's possible, so yes, I think you are looking for something that does
not exist. But then again, you don't need to learn Information Mapping if
you want to do structured writing (or use DITA). Just learn the best
practices of structured authoring, which are described in the books
mentioned in this thread.

Kind regards


Yves Barbion

www.scripto.nu





On Tue, Oct 21, 2014 at 4:45 AM, Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- westnet -dot- com -dot- au>
wrote:

> Yves, do you have a source that shows that DITA is based in any way on
> Miller's infamously misunderstood magic number?
>
> It was a source of exasperation to Professor Miller himself throughout
> his long and productive career that he was mainly known in the wider
> world for misapplications of this paper.
>
> In-depth discussion on many myths around Miller's paper at Edward
> Tufte's [1] site:
>
> http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0000U6&topic_id=1
>
> Karen Schriver on Techwr-L:
> http://www.techwr-l.com/archives/9808/techwhirl-9808-00667.html
>
> --- Stuart
>
> From: Yves Barbion
> Date: Mon, 20 Oct 2014 14:09:51 +0200
>
> By the way, DITA was not really developed "in response to Information
> Mapping". This is a common misunderstanding because both
> methodologies are
> based on the same scientific research and principles, for example:
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Magical_Number_Seven,_Plus_or_Minus_Two
> [2]
>
>
> Links:
> ------
> [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Tufte
> [2]
> http://enwikipedia.org/wiki/The_Magical_Number_Seven,_Plus_or_Minus_Two
>
>
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--
Yves Barbion
www.scripto.nu

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Read about how Georgia System Operation Corporation improved teamwork, communication, and efficiency using Doc-To-Help | http://bit.ly/1lRPd2l

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