separating authoring and composition [was features db]

Subject: separating authoring and composition [was features db]
From: Chet Ensign <Chet_Ensign%LDS -at- NOTES -dot- WORLDCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 1996 10:17:14 -0600

Joyce Flaherty writes:

> 1-Chet, I believe Mary LaPlante (sp?),

Laplante ... was Executive Director of SGML Open, now works for CAP Ventures.

> Ron Tonjes, who started a very successful local writing business,
> ProWrite, has this to say: "If I allowed my writers to format, I
> would be broke."

A couple of other anecdotes. One was from a contact at a semiconductor company
who said that the problem with giving design engineers a sophisticated page
layout program was that they are paid big bucks (as in > $60,000/yr.) to design
chips not design pages. Another was a similar contact in a legal firm who
sputtered that he wasn't paying lawyers $200/hr. to be desktop publishers.

> If you are writing a paper and need the input, I can put some effort into
> gathering specifics for you--at least one item <grin>.

Well, it is a book and any leads you have are greatly appreciated. <grin> Even
one.

> 2-Who will provide the look and feel of the document?

That would depend on the way the system was set up, but my take on it is this.
The writers as information developers **have** to be involved in the look and
feel. The difference is that instead of doing that almost constantly -- as we
all do with format-controlling programs -- they do it as part of a rational
design process which, once complete, applies to the entire category of
documents to which it is applied.

> My job is to retrieve only the information you need,
> when you need it, and quickly. Still, I can't ignore the printed
> page completely.

Nobody can. There was a posting earlier in the week where the writer said that
they are feeding the Web, CompuServe, etc etc. That's the new reality. That's
why I posted the query about the impact of the info explosion on our jobs. The
days when companies could content themselves with feeding one info channel
(print) or two (print + CD) are going bye-bye and the reality that is dawning
on them -- and hence on us -- is that the channels are going to **keep
growing.** So you are on the right track by focusing on the need for managing
the information in place of the printout.

Thanks for the stimulating discussion.

Best regards,

/chet

Chet Ensign
Logical Design Solutions
571 Central Avenue http://www.lds.com
Murray Hill, NJ 07974 censign -at- lds -dot- com [email]
908-771-9221 [Phone] 908-771-0430 [FAX]


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