Help! Publishing processes?

Subject: Help! Publishing processes?
From: "Nyman, Rikki" <Rikki -dot- Nyman -at- ALLIEDSIGNAL -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 10:20:00 -0700

I am de-lurking to beg for your collective insights.

Our documentation department has been given the target of increasing
productivity 20% in the next year. Management has this idea that we can
find the Golden Fleece of publishing software and all our problems will
be solved. Most of us charged with this goal think our focus should be
bringing our processes from the Typewriter Age into the Computer Age.
We have an impossible time frame (six weeks) for proposing a solution.
All of this is vintage corporate Americana.

We do a lot of documentation: large 500-2000 page manuals, small
10-pagers, and many presentation-type (short-suspense) materials. We
use Interleaf, ArborText, Word 6, and PowerPoint. Most of the
documentation we produce is paper-based, but we recognize the need to
provide docs to our customers online and via the Web, and on CD-ROM. We
use SGML and though most of us are not very sophisticated about its use,
it is something we need to use more because of our customers'

What I hope is that I can get some idea of the variety of overall
publishing models. For example, one suggestion was to have the writers
write using Word and have a dedicated desktop publisher use the most
appropriate tool (e.g. Interleaf or ???) for the production and
distribution of the document.

I'd like to know . . .

What tools have you integrated for your solution?
What is your process? How is your publishing process organized?
What are its strengths and weaknesses?
What is your publishing volume?
How do you use writers, editors, graphics people, and desktop
How do you use SGML? HTML?
Do you have specialists doing designated tech. com tasks, or is your
operation one where everyone wears multiple hats?

Respond to me off list to prevent band blowout. In return for your
help, I will compile the responses into a summary and post it to the
list after we have made our recommendations to management.

Thanks in advance for any and all help!

Rikki Nyman
rikki -dot- nyman -at- alliedsignal -dot- com

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