Re: Information Mapping

Subject: Re: Information Mapping
From: jenv <jvettrli -at- NETCOM -dot- CA>
Date: Mon, 21 Dec 1998 08:17:39 -0500

An anecdote on my one brush with Information Mapping:

At my former employer, one of the managers in the Training & Documentation
Department went on the IM course (I think it cost $1500 Canadian). In
addition to the IM manual, she also received a WordPerfect macro that
provided a quick-and-easy toolbar for producing the IM format.

Several months later, a trainer (oddly enough, T&D is staffed with training
specialists who are called on to also document, but no documentation
specialists) wrote a short (apx. 15 pages) manual using her own format.

The manager, who was the only one with access to the IM macro, saw fit to
re-do the document in the IM style. Several sections were moved around,
some were chunked together (I thought the point of IM was to *break down*
information into smaller, more easily absorbed bits); in all, things were
sliced and diced to the point where the interpretation of several key
concepts were changed.

Never mind that the document was rendered nearly unusable -- it was in the
"required format".

I ended up stepping in (I was working on special projects out of a
different department and reported to a different supervisor) to clean it up.

I think the danger with IM is when companies see it as a quick-fix solution
for documentation, but have no real appreciation of the writing process
overall. Yes, IM can be a useful tool in the hands *of writers*, but when
all and sundry get their hands on it, the results can be very messy indeed.

Just my 2 cents...

----------------------------------------------------------------
jenv -- "Technology: no place for wimps"
jvettrli -at- netcom -dot- ca, jvettrli -at- torfree -dot- net,
jenv8888 -at- geocities -dot- com, jenv8888 -at- hotbot -dot- com
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/4491/


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