Re: Info on Information Mapping

Subject: Re: Info on Information Mapping
From: Ray Bruman x2325 <rbruman -at- TURING -dot- RAYNET -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 14 Jun 1994 10:27:52 PDT

"Arlen P. Walker" <arlen -dot- walker -at- JCI -dot- COM> continues the thread:

> >Information Mapping is a copyrighted, structured approach to writing
> >documentation, reports, memos, and almost any type of written communication
> >except creative writing such as fiction, plays, etc.
> >
> I have to wonder what the term "copyrighted" means in this particular case.
> Does it mean that if I use their methods, the page layout in my manuals
> belongs to them? Do I have to pay royalties for any publication produced
> using their techniques? Does it mean that if I happen to produce a document
> on my own which resembles their approach to documentation, they'll sue me?
> Does it mean that even if I read Horn's book, I'm not free to adopt any of
> his techniques?

Our local (Silicon Valley) chapter of STC had a presentation from
Information Mapping (tm) on June 6. I was unable to stay for the
program, but I picked up an information packet.

I was amused to find it very ordinary; the kind of promotional
brochure that arrives by the pound once you get on the industry's
mailing lists, neither particularly clear nor well-designed.

The photocopied worksheet in the packet was even worse, _stating_
useful principles without actually _using_ them, e.g.

"The writing process is simplified by understanding that there are
six _information types:_ procedure, process, principle, structure,
concept, and fact. By knowing the audience and purpose and the
type of information being conveyed, it is easier to know how to
present the information to best meet the situation."

To which I would ask:

"Can you say 'bulleted list'?
"Can you say 'active voice'?
I thought you couldn't."

My company gives lip service to "Information Mapping," largely because
an extremely important customer does too. Therefore I am politely
interested. Some people on this list have clearly found it useful.
I'd like to hear more about it. I don't doubt that they make some
useful points, but the ones I've seen are better articulated in
_many_ other places and publications at a lower cost.

Your resident curmudgeon,

Ray Bruman Cogito, ergo remuneror.
Raynet Corp.
rbruman -at- raynet -dot- com I think, therefore I am paid.

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