Re: Resources for learning Structured Writing?

Subject: Re: Resources for learning Structured Writing?
From: Laura Lemay <lemay -at- lauralemay -dot- com>
To: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- westnet -dot- com -dot- au>
Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:52:18 -0700


> If you're training your people to be TWs in 1989 this would be one
> good way to go about it, assuming you could find IM resources without
> the IM branding. But the field has moved on.

I was trained as a tech writer in 1989, and I learned information mapping in passing (not officially) as part of that. Information mapping does not teach you structured writing as we know it today. It does teach you things that are blatantly obvious to current tech writing practice, eg, audience analysis, task-orientation, chunking content, using headings, introducing and summarizing sections and subsections. It was new strategy in the 1980s, but yes, the field has moved on. I think pursuing it is likely to be a dead end.

In terms of actually learning about structured writing, the book "Single Sourcing: building modular documentation" was recommended to me a long while ago (I admit I never got around to reading it).
http://www.amazon.com/William-Andrew-Publishing-Technical-Writing/dp/0815514913

Laura

On Oct 20, 2014, at 7:26 PM, Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- westnet -dot- com -dot- au> wrote:

> _Okay, last attempt at searching for this. I'm still getting great
> responses but they don't address what I want, so let me try one more
> time to be specific._
>
> _I'm looking for a way to learn Information Mapping, as it was
> developed in the 1960s (and beyond, to the extent it's been improved),
> WITHOUT going through the "official" Information Mapping company._
> If you're training your people to be TWs in 1989 this would be one
> good way to go about it, assuming you could find IM resources without
> the IM branding. But the field has moved on.
>
> You said:
>> it became clear that whether or not one migrates to DITA,
>> learning the skill of structured writing is a good idea.
>
>> Therefore: Does anyone know of any good resources for learning this
> skill?
>
> I still think Developing Quality Technical Information is an excellent
> resource for learning structured writing, whether it's ultimately
> applied in a DITA environment or not. I might have misled you when i
> said:
> _Chapters 3, 5, 9 & 10 are the most apt for structured writing and
> DITA, but the rest of the book contains plenty of good general advice
> for TWs._
> It is certainly 'apt for DITA' but I don't think there is a single
> reference to DITA or tags anywhere in the book (at least in the
> edition we have here).
>
> As the title says, it's about how to develop quality technical
> information, not 'tech writing the DITA way'.
>
> --- Stuart
>
>
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