Lightweight DITA

Lightweight DITA: a Preview from Michael Priestley

A new buzzword has appeared in the worlds of structured authoring and content reuse--Lightweight DITA. On November 28, Michael Priestley, one of the lead DITA architects and a Senior Technical Staff Member at IBM, gave a presentation to the Toronto Chapter of the STC about Lightweight DITA and how IBM has used DITA as a key part of a 60-million-page knowledge center. Continue reading ...

three musketeers of technical content

The Three Musketeers of Technical Content

Creating good technical content can be an adventure fraught with danger. But do not despair, for there are some brave heroes who will fight for you! Call them the Three Musketeers of Technical Content. Together, they introduce flexibility, usability, and efficiency into creating, maintaining, and publishing technical content. Continue reading ...

Getting Started with Topic-Based Writing

Think for a minute about how you would like to see your writing described by a critic (say for the New York Times): sensible, understandable, logical, resonating, compelling, interesting…topical? Writing content that works for your readers, especially when it covers something technical and complex, doesn't just happen. It takes some thought and planning to structure it, both to be usable and relevant to the reader, and to be reusable and effective for your organization. Enter: Topic-based writing. Continue reading ...

Bilingual TW in ESL environment helps with localization

Being Bilingual Helps: ESL, Localization and Technical Communication

"'Following your privies e-mail,' is 'privies' the correct word?" Questions like these are pretty common in ESL (English as a Second Language) environments, where you are one of the few, and possibly the only native English speaker in a team, department, or even the entire company. Working in an environment where everyone else is communicating in a strange language (i.e. not English) poses several challenges, especially during this age of globalization. Continue reading ...

sharepoint-manage-content

Can SharePoint® Manage your Content?

If it seems that Microsoft® SharePoint is nearly as ubiquitous as Word and Windows, it’s because SharePoint implementations are a major factor in IT project expenditures today. In fact, if SharePoint were a standalone company, it would rank in the top 50 software companies in the world. It should come as no surprise that executives concerned about the management of technical content often wonder if technical publications in XML can be managed well using Microsoft SharePoint. Continue reading ...

content management system maturity model

Assessing the State of Your Content: Applying the Content Management System Maturity Model

Before you can decide how you can improve your content management practices and get on the road to implementing or enhancing your content management system solution, you need to assess where your organization stands—what kind of content do you have, where is it located, and how is it currently managed? Answering these critical questions is essential to determining your content maturity. Continue reading ...

Best Practices for CCMS File Naming Conventions

No matter how much technology advances, how to name files for easy organization and retrieval seems to be a perpetual challenge. One of the inevitable decisions to make when creating your content strategy is to develop a file naming convention for your thousands or millions of topics, graphics, maps, documents, and snippets you may end […] Continue reading ...

Organizing Your Content: Ditching Folders in Favor of Content Tagging

Content Tagging Best Practices Authors’ note: This best practice article applies to both enterprise content and technical communication content. Think about these content tagging best practices when organizing content in shared drives, CMSs, or SharePoint. Technical communications content in CCMSs is also specifically addressed at the end of the article. The single, biggest mistake we […] Continue reading ...