Re: Chet's Comments on Document Database

Subject: Re: Chet's Comments on Document Database
From: Chet Ensign <censign -at- INTERSERV -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 31 Jan 1997 15:31:02 -0800

John Fisher wrote:

>> It seems to me that we (myself very much included) all too often tend
to jump to a solution before we've really defined the problem. The example
you give ("...what word processor or page layout program to use...") seems
to do just that. Often the problem is stated with a partial solution included
in the definition.<<

One of the events that got me thinking along these lines was exactly that
example. A department I worked for had decided to select a new authoring and
publishing system. The selection process immediately turned into roaring
debates between Mac vs. PC advocates, PageMaker fans vs. FrameMaker fanatics.
A few of us asked exactly what problems the department needed to solve,
suggesting that this made for a much more productive starting point. But that
never became part of the discussion. Instead, the decision was made the
corporate way. The new department head picked the system she liked.

I think that we in the various fields of communication need to start defining
the problems to be solved in terms of "knowledge transfer." Our job is not to
publish books or help systems or what-have-you. It is to get knowledge from the
people who have it (product designers, etc.) to the people who need it
(customers). The rest of the debate is going to proceed a lot differently if we
make that the foundation of the discussion.

Have a good weekend everybody.

Best regards,


Chet Ensign Office: 212-448-2466
Manager of Data Architecture Home: 201-378-3472
Matthew Bender & Company, Inc. Email: censign -at- bender -dot- com
New York, NY

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