A schemaless computer database in 1965

bobdc.blog - Sat, 2014-09-13 15:09
To enable flexible metadata aggregation, among other things. Bob DuCharme http://www.snee.com/bobdc.blog
Categories: DITA

More posts around the web

JustWriteClick - Tue, 2014-08-26 03:14

Seems like more and more I’m writing everywhere but here! I wanted to do a round-up of some of my writing around the web.

On the Rackspace Developer Blog: Austin Ladies Hackathon

This weekend was a blast, hacking with all women at Rackspace, and wow were the projects impressive. Here’s how it went.

Friday night we gathered at a restaurant, the Flying Saucer, to meet each other and start to form teams. I’d guessimate that 20 of the 30 participants showed up. I helped out by facilitating discussions for people to find teams, and I spent a lot of the night talking to complete newcomers about what a hackathon is like, what to expect, and especially how to learn at one. We also recruited for the upcoming NoSQL Mobile App Challenge (http://rackspacemobile.challengepost.com/). (Read more …)

On the O’Reilly Radar blog: The book sprint: Not just for code any more

Do you really want a technical book for your project? Does your community need to provide more helpful docs to support even more users? Does your community have a lot of knowledge they need to get out of heads and into bits and bytes? Do you have a good mix of technical experts and technical writers and users who would enjoy each other’s company for a week of hard work?
If the answer is yes, then consider a book sprint. (Read more…)

On the opensource.com blog: The Women of OpenStack talk outreach, education, and mentoring

In the open source world, a women-only event seems counter-intuitive. Yet I am finding reasons for such events the more I attend them.

At the OpenStack Summit, a twice-a-year event where OpenStack contributors get together to plan the next release, the Women of OpenStack group has set up events where we invite the women first. Men aren’t excluded, but our hope is to get more OpenStack women together. I can hardly capture the value of getting together with other women in OpenStack at the Summit, but here goes.(Read more…)

Categories: DITA

Exploring a SPARQL endpoint

bobdc.blog - Sun, 2014-08-24 17:03
In this case, semanticweb.org. Bob DuCharme http://www.snee.com/bobdc.blog
Categories: DITA

Web Applications on Mobile: current state and roadmap

The W3C has published the July 2014 edition of Standards for Web Applications on Mobile, an overview of the various technologies developed in W3C that increase the capabilities of Web …
Categories: DITA

Gilbane Conference schedule – sneak peek

The full program will be published in a week or so, but the schedule is available now at http://gilbaneconference.com/2014/Schedule.  
Categories: DITA

Additional Gilbane Conference workshops posted

We’ll be posting the complete program for this years’ Gilbane Conference over the next 2-3 weeks on the main conference website. The afternoon workshops are below. Workshop D. Adaptive Content Modeling for …
Categories: DITA

When did linking begin?

bobdc.blog - Sun, 2014-07-20 13:40
Pointing somewhere with a dereferenceable address, in the twelfth (or maybe fifth) century. Bob DuCharme http://www.snee.com/bobdc.blog
Categories: DITA

Information Development World Pre-Conference Workshops

The Content Wrangler - Mon, 2014-07-14 15:53

At Information Development World, we have nine Pre-Conference Workshops on Wednesday, October 22, covering a variety of topics related to creating exceptional customer experiences.

Workshop size is limited to encourage deeper exploration and maximum time for discussion. All workshops run from 9:00am until 5:00pm with morning and afternoon breaks, as well as a lunch break. All workshops cost $500.

Content Strategy in a Day

Rahel Anne Bailie, Content Strategist, Owner, Intentional Design

Content is only as smart as the content strategy behind it. What happens in the analysis phase informs how the content behaves in the tactical phases. Content has its own lifecycle, and any misstep early on means that the next iteration of that content will be harder to implement and maintain – and degrade the user experience. This workshop discusses content within the phases of its lifecycle, and illustrates the interdependencies within the user experience. Participants will discover a framework for developing content that aligns with user-centered design, from user research through personas and scenarios, to wireframes and content development. Participants will be able to make a business case for investing in content strategy, will have a base process for implementing a content strategy in their workplaces, and will take home a series of work templates to get them started.

Becoming a DITA Author

Leigh White, DITA Specialist, Ixiasoft

The full-day “Becoming a DITA Author” workshop teaches you about the concept, reference, task and topic information types, including the purposes and components (elements) of each. The workshop begins with a brief overview of XML to familiarize you with concepts such as elements, attributes, parent/child/sibling relationships, DTDs, schemas, stylesheets, and well-formed vs. valid XML. Following the overview, you’ll create a task, reference and concept topic from scratch, learning about some of the most commonly-used elements. Next, you learn about maps and bookmaps to assemble topics for delivery. Finally, you learn about reuse strategies including conref, keyref, and conkeyref and the uses of each. In the second half of the workshop, you’ll see examples of different ways to assemble topics for different audiences and outputs, beginning with a hands-on look at ditamaps, the building blocks of publications. You learn how to assemble topics and set ditamap-level attributes to customize the output. Next is a look at ditaval files and their use to filter output to include or exclude certain content based on attribute values. Next, the workshop introduces the DITA Open Toolkit (OT), explaining the various files and their functions (with a focus on stylesheets and build files) as well as associated applications such as Java, Apache ANT, XSL processors, and XSL-FO processors. You must bring your own laptop. Because learning the interface of even the simplest XML editor can take quite a bit of time and distract focus from DITA itself, we will use a simple text editor such as Notepad or Notepad++ (recommended). Notepad++ is a free, robust text editor that can be downloaded at http://notepad-plus-plus.org/. If you want to use Notepad++, please install it prior to the workshop. Working files and other resources will be distributed at the beginning of the workshop.

Understanding Web Content Inventories, Audits, and Analysis

Paula Land, Founder & Principal Consultant, Content Insight

High quality, useful content is the key to great user experiences. As we create and publish ever-increasing quantities of content, managing it through the lifecycle is key to ensuring that it consistently fulfills user and business goals and delivers on those great experiences. A successful content strategy for creating and managing high quality content starts with understanding where you’re starting from, where you want to go, and how to know when you’ve arrived. Whether you’re planning a content development project, a redesign, or doing ongoing assessment of current content, the content inventory and audit are important tools for developing the content intelligence to support your efforts. Combining content data with analysis of quality against qualitative measures and defined goals leads to better management of existing content and informed strategies for content development.

Become a Master of Multi-Touch with iBooks Author

Michael O’Reilly, Evangelist, Apple’s iBooks Author software

Jessica Barkell, Designer and Founder, iBooks Author Templates

This workshop delves into the vast possibilities of interactive eBooks built with iBooks Author and how they can be used for: Marketing, Medical Industry, Architecture, Interior design, Education, Graphic novels, Comics, Children’s books, Training and internal corporate applications and more. Even if you’re familiar with iBooks Author, you’ll walk away from this workshop with the proper understanding of why this new format is a real game-changer, not just for the world of eBooks, but for content delivery, in general.

Effective Content: How to Make Your Content Findable, Readable, Understandable, Actionable and Shareable

Ahava Leibtag, President & Owner, Aha Media Group, LLC

In this workshop designed for content and information marketers, you will learn how to:

  • Research your audience and craft engaging content designed for them
  • Understand search engines and the back end code that influences writing choices
  • Research and use keywords for SEO
  • Use best practices for writing on screens, including mobile
  • Create compelling, shareable content that converts
  • Write appropriate posts for Twitter, Facebook and Google+

This workshop will focus on learning the fundamentals, and then put them in to practice immediately. Each workshop attendee will receive a binder with materials, plus a workbook to practice new writing and conceptualization skills. Led by Ahava Leibtag, one of content’s most popular workshop teachers, participants will leave with a firm grasp on the fundamentals of crafting better content.

APIs and SDKs: Breaking Into and Succeeding in a Specialty Market

Ed Marshall, Independent Contractor, Marshall Documentation Consulting

The goals of this workshop are to:

  • Learn what APIs and SDKs are, who uses them, and why.
  • Learn what typical documentation deliverables are for these products.
  • Learn a common methodology for producing documentation for APIs/SDKs from the source code, a “single source of truth.” Be able to describe why this approach is preferred by many developers. Practice using a common tool for producing documentation from the source code, Javadoc.
  • Learn about Web Services APIs.

The popularity of cloud computing is stronger than ever. In 2014, cloud computing industry is expected to grow to a $150 billion industry. Yes, that’s “b” as in “billion”! With this increased demand comes the need for skilled technical communicators who can document Web Services—the methods used to communicate between two devices on the Web—but few have the required skills.

  • Learn recommended sources of training to get the skills needed for this area.
  • Create two API samples that you can show to potential clients or employers.

Rock Your Readers: Turn Content Coal into Diamonds

Marcia Riefer Johnston, President, Marcia Riefer Johnston, Inc.

We all want to create valuable, relevant messages that turn readers’ heads. But even the best writers use too many words, filler words that leave their messages as alluring as lumps of coal. This workshop teaches a technique that can bring your writing to a 24-carat, attention-getting luster. Bring examples of the kind of writing you do. We’ll make them sparkle. You might want to bring shades. BONUS: Marcia will use a dynamic spreadsheet to show how this technique also slashes translation costs. You’ll learn how to create clear, irresistible messages, increase keyword density, and slash translation costs.

Responsive Content Modeling

Steve Fisher, Experience Architect, Republic of Quality

Companies are starting to distinguish themselves with a unique, natural English voice and tone, and many companies also realize there’s a growth potential in localizing their product to reach international markets. That leaves a tension for writers of the English content that will be translated for the international markets. Do the writers focus on tone or on writing easily translated content? Those two goals may seem mutually exclusive, but actually, they’re a healthy combination. We’ll look at what localization is and how to create content that’s good for your English-speaking users and well-suited for translation.

Using Neuroscience to Create Persuasive Presentations

Dr. Carmen Simon, Executive Coach, Co-Founder, REXI Media

Any presentation must have a single goal: to convince an audience to make a decision about you/your idea/your product. Consequently, you start by learning how to ease decision-making right from the start.

Specifically, you will learn how to:

  • Determine the critical message of your presentation (we call this “the 10%”), and tie it to a human motivational driver.
  • Support your 10% with proof points through repetition, to ensure audiences remember the 10%.
  • Use a Persuasive Script for additional convincing power.
  • Once you captured your audience by appealing to a motivational driver, you learn additional techniques for attracting and sustaining attention.

Specifically, you will learn how to:

  • Use physical properties of any element in your presentation to attract attention at any point.
  • Appeal to your audiences’ expectations, goals, or existing knowledge/skills to generate interest.
  • Use Variety to sustain attention for prolonged periods of time.

Just because people pay attention, it does not mean they will remember much. This segment is focused on making any content memorable. Specifically, you will learn how to use:

  • Mental models
  • Associations
  • Authenticity


Categories: DITA

7 Original Ways to Use Tumblr for Content Marketing

The Content Wrangler - Tue, 2014-07-08 15:22

By Rohan Ayyar

One of the relatively newer social media platforms (Tumblr was founded in 2007), Tumblr has seen some spectacular growth in the last couple of years. With about 189 million blogs hosted on Tumblr, 93 million new posts every single day, and about 42% of the entire domestic traffic of the United States visiting Tumblr blogs, it is well and truly a force to reckon with.

If Tumblr’s usage statistics are impressive, its user statistics are even more so.

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 12.59.23 PM

The omnipresent Neil Patel points out on QuickSprout that

  • 65% of Tumblr users have a college degree, with 56% having some sort of college education.
  • It’s a very young audience with about half of all users under the age of 25.
  • Like Pinterest, Tumblr is slightly more attractive to women with 53.5% of its users being female.
  • To top all of this, the average revenue per visit from Tumblr is $1.10, second only to Facebook.

No wonder Yahoo shelled out $1.1 billion to buy out Tumblr in May 2013.

What You Get When You Tumble

Tumblr is a mashup of the best features of the most popular social networking and blogging sites.

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 1.00.25 PM

Image source: QuickSprout

  • Like Twitter, Tumblr allows you to discover new content using hashtags.
  • Like Facebook, Tumblr encourages sharing by allowing you to like and reblog a post.
  • Like Pinterest or Instagram, images are huge on Tumblr. 78% of Tumblr posts are photos or images.
  • Like YouTube or Vine, video content is popular on Tumblr, where videos under 1 minute in duration outperform longer ones by about 40%.
  • Like WordPress, you can create blog posts and put them up on Tumblr, comment on other’s posts and follow someone whose blog you fancy.

In other words,

Facebook + Twitter + Pinterest + Instagram + YouTube + Vine + WordPress = Tumblr

Content on Tumblr works best when it is short and sweet, and includes some mind-blowing images. So what can you do to step up your content marketing efforts on Tumblr?

1. Focus on a Niche

Tumblr, being a social blogging platform, allows you the advantage of creating and posting any kind of content you want. However, just because you can, does not mean you have to.

Use your content on Tumblr judiciously to grow your brand and to speak to your target audience in their language. If your ideal audience consists of 25-something female shoe enthusiasts, you would not want to waste precious user attention on posts about handbags or watches.

Tumblr lets you go really deep into your chosen subject. Capitalize on that opportunity. You can even have multiple segment specific Tumblr pages like eBay does for different customer niches.

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 1.01.26 PM

Image source: Ebay Inside Source on Tumblr

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 1.02.13 PM

Image source: Ebay Electronics on Tumblr

2. Employ Tumblr for Customer Care

Tons of brands worldwide offer customer service via Twitter and Facebook. Many, such as Royal Dutch KLM, have even won awards for outstanding social customer care on Twitter.

However, Tumblr is an oft-overlooked medium for customer care. Don’t waste this chance to make your customers happy. Encourage your followers to send you private messages on Tumblr using the ‘Ask Question’ feature. Delta uses the ‘Ask’ feature on Tumblr very effectively by seeking detailed information on the customer’s problems, their contact details, and getting back to the issues effectively.

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 1.03.42 PM

Image source: Clicking Contact Us on Delta’s Tumblr Page leads to form on primary site

To avoid a social media faux pas, ensure that you have a dedicated person monitoring your Tumblr feeds who can respond to messages quickly and effectively.

3. Link Out to Your Other Social Networks

Unlike Facebook, Twitter or Google+, you can share your content from within Tumblr to your other networks. By encouraging users to do that, you increase your social media reach and get the biggest bang for your buck from each post.

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 1.04.28 PM

Tumblr lets you create bit.ly-like shortened URLs from within your Tumblr page for each post. Use this feature to keep your content shares brief on platforms like Twitter.

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 1.05.33 PM

4. Do Unto Others… 

Social networks are all about creating a sense of community between yourself and your users. When you give back the love that your fans give you, you are investing in making your user relationships stronger. Make your fans feel extra special by promoting fan art on your brand’s Tumblr page.

Don’t miss an opportunity to invite users to post content to your Tumblr page and increase their bond with your brand. The tourism board of Iceland does this beautifully with its charming first person blog on Tumblr (and other social networks) called Iceland Wants to Be Your Friend. It invites users to a one-on-one dialogue on Tumblr, asks for their videos and pictures and puts a whole load of personality into those frozen polar landscapes.

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 1.06.15 PM

Image source: Iceland on Tumblr

Follow Tumblr pages of users who regularly post interesting content related to your niche. Reblog posts from other Tumblr pages on your Tumblr page to increase your social connectivity quotient as well as to get some fresh (and free) content for your feed.

Tumblr also allows you to reblog content from your Tumblr page to a blog hosted elsewhere. So the next time you create a great meme or article for Tumblr, consider reposting it on your corporate blog too, for increased eyeballs.

5. Sell on Tumblr

Many brands have used innovative tactics to not just engage users, but to actually sell products on Facebook. Dedicated stores on Facebook with full ecommerce functionality are now common. On Tumblr, you can use the same concept with shopping cart widgets from Shopify, Ecwid or Snipcart.

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 1.07.03 PM

Image source: Shopify ecommerce widget for Tumblr

If you’re not quite ready, simply add prices and product details to images and descriptions on Tumblr with links back to your site product pages where users can buy them. If you are a publishing brand, you can ask your users to subscribe to your magazine – online or offline – via the subscription option on Tumblr.

6. Offer Tumblr-Only Deals

Experiment by giving out Tumblr-specific coupon codes and holding contests exclusive to Tumblr. This is a tactic that is popular on other social networks, but is rarely, if ever, seen on Tumblr. For this very reason, you must start using it right away – you’ll win brownie points for being unique!

Also, with little or no brands offering such freebies as coupons and deals on Tumblr the clutter is lower than that on other social networks. It will help you stand out better and keep customers coming back for more goodies in future.

Cross-social promotion from Tumblr will work wonders too! Yoplait, the cool new yogurt brand is taking their competitor Chobani (the leading Greek yogurt brand in the US) head on by:

  • leveraging Twitter by encouraging users to tweet their preferred brand of yogurt
  • using the hashtag #TasteOff for a cross-platform social faceoff
  • posting YouTube videos of tastings shot in-store

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 1.08.11 PM

Image source: Yoplait on Tumblr

As an extension of this strategy, try offering some extra-special content for your Tumblr followers as an incentive to sign up to your newsletter or mails. On Tumblr, you don’t need to go through all the pain of implementing elaborate conversion tactics to get newsletter subscribers, unlike your website. Once you have a repertoire of great posts and engagement “notes,” you have already established baseline credibility. Use this opportunity to grow your mailing list.

7. Reveal Tantalizing Bits of Content Leading to Your Site

Being a tease works not just with the opposite sex. It does really well on Tumblr too.

Post tantalizing tidbits of content on Tumblr and entice visitors to ‘read more’ on your website. A great way to create curiosity, build CTRs and drive traffic to site! Here’s how MTV does it:

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 1.08.55 PM

Image Source: MTV UK on Tumblr

So Should You Go Tumbling After?

As the social network with the largest share of the ‘youth demographic’ and the one with the second-highest revenue per user, Tumblr has come a long way from being the stepchild of social networks.

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 1.09.53 PM

Image source: The Realtime Report

While the logic of “Be everywhere” is compelling from a marketing perspective, taking your brand on a social network is a big responsibility. You need to consistently engage with your audience, be responsive to customer inputs and build your brand credibility from scratch on any new platform, and Tumblr is no exception.

There’s a lot of social networks out there. Dig deep to understand which social network your brand will do well on. Tumblr works beautifully for brands that lend themselves easily to a combination of text and image-driven content. However, there are successful Tumblr brands that are not naturals at dissipating information, but they take real effort to create engaging content that is relevant to the brand, yet does well on a visual medium like Tumblr.

Make your choice after weighing all your options. And if you need that one last push, head over to the White House Tumblr site to see how the President of the United States rolls on social media!

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 1.10.33 PM

About Rohan Ayyar

Rohan Ayyar works for E2M, a startup-focused digital marketing agency. He specializes in getting businesses in front of a targeted audience with content marketing, social media and advanced link building. Rohan is @searchrook on Twitter, and Rohan Ayyar on LinkedIn. Feel free to hit him up on for a chat on any of these areas.

Categories: DITA

To Reach A Global Audience, Consider Writing For Computers First, Humans Second

The Content Wrangler - Thu, 2014-07-03 13:35

By Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler

Scott Abel

Scott Abel

Ninety-six percent of the world’s consumers do not live in the United States. This important fact is not lost upon American business executives, especially those looking for new ways to increase corporate revenues. That’s why many US firms have their sights set on emerging international markets. They’re developing partnerships and setting up shop in nations around the globe. It’s an exciting time. The opportunities are many.

But, in a global economy, getting the right content to the right people at the right time in the right format and language can be challenging. It takes hard work — and a global view — to do it right.

Doing it right means realizing that not everyone speaks English well enough to understand our American-flavored prose. Disappointing although it may be to wordsmiths educated by well-intentioned Language Arts teachers, our writing rules were designed to help us reach less than 6% of the world’s population — those folks who speak English as their primary language.

we speak english

The rules that govern the way writers write were developed long before computers and smartphones made it possible for us to communicate with one another regardless of geographic bounds. While some old school rules are still valuable, some are woefully out-of-date.

Humans, regardless of where they live (and the language they speak), need content to be relevant, clear, concise, and accurate. They also need it to be findable, accessible, usable, and sharable, in ways they understand. Preferably, in the language they know best — their own.

Linguists estimate there are nearly 7,000 distinct languages spoken on Earth. Manually translating content into all of these languages isn’t practical. Translation is expensive even if you’re only translating English content into the ten most commonly spoken tongues.

Enter automation. Or, more specifically, automated translation.

Making content available on-demand to an increasingly global audience of humans means making that content available first to a digital labor force of computers; machines programmed to automatically process source language content into a variety of target languages.

Translation Word Cloud Concept

Unfortunately, the language of machines is not familiar turf for much of the current crop of self-dubbed content professionals known as content strategists. The disconnect is due in part to a lack of education and experience. Content strategists come to the discipline from a variety of professions; user experience, web marketing, information architecture, journalism, technical writing, and all sorts of communication roles. While the skill sets possessed by these content pros are valuable, their contributions seldom provide significant long-term value to companies with global aspirations. That’s because few content strategists have yet to realize that we write first for computers, not humans.

That’s right! Computers first, humans second.

I can hear the cries of heresy now.

But, these objections fall on deaf ears in organizations that are trying to beat the competition in a global marketplace connected by computers. The World Wide Web, not the American English-speaking web, is the land of opportunity. In companies with the desire to go global, reaching consumers previously thought to be out of scope is the goal. Doing it without breaking the bank is what’s required.

Creating content that computers can understand — and automatically translate for a fast-growing global audience — involves looking at content production from the viewpoint of a rules processing engine (a machine). It means rethinking the content we publish to the web to ensure it is easily and accurately understandable, processable, and translatable by machine.

Online translation service concept

Reaching global audiences (as well as local folks whose first language may not be our own) means taking a critical look at the rules we use to govern how we write. Writing for machines first means thinking about the rules we’ve had drilled into our heads from childhood. To write powerful content that computers can help us deliver to those who need it, we must ask ourselves, “Do the writing rules we rely on help or hinder our goal of reaching global audiences?”

To write for machines we must write much shorter sentences, limit our vocabulary to a subset of the English language, and strip it of jargon, idiomatic expressions, Americanisms (and other -isms), metaphors and similes, among other things. We must rid ourselves of limits placed on our writing by our fifth grade English teachers and acknowledge that the set of rules we need today have changed.

It’s not heresy. It’s evolution. And, for those who seek long-term opportunity, thinking global is where it’s at.

Want to learn more about translation automation?

Read: “Why Machines Alone Cannot Solve The World’s Translation Problem” (Forbes.com) by Nataly Kelly, VP of Marketing, Smartling and Co-Author of “Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms the World” (2012, Pedigree Trade)

Plan to attend: TAUS Annual Conference: Together We Know More, October 27-28, 2014 in Vancouver, BC, Canada

Plan to attend: The Global Content Strategy track at Content Marketing World, September 9-10, 2014 in Cleveland, OH

Categories: DITA

First three Gilbane Conference workshops posted

We’ll be posting the complete program for this years’ Gilbane Conference over the next 4-5 weeks on the main conference website. The first three of the six planned workshops are …
Categories: DITA

What Books Should Every Content Strategist Read?

The Content Wrangler - Fri, 2014-06-27 13:00

Help us make the list of books that you believe every content strategist should read. Vote for your favorites (already on the list) and add your suggestions.

Content Strategy Books

Scott Abel Content Strategy Books

Scott Abel | 22 items | 2700 views

What books should every content strategist read?

Source: http://thecontentwrangler.com/2014/06/27/what-books-should-every-content-strategist-read/

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  1. 1. The Language of Content Strategy

    The Language of Content Strategy= e.width) { e.className = e.className + ' vertical'}})(this)" onerror="(function(e){e.setAttribute('src', 'http://media-cdn.list.ly/missing-image.png');})(this)">

    The Language of Content Strategy is the gateway to a language that describes the world of content strategy. Co-produced by Scott Abel and Rahel Anne Bailie, and with over fifty contributors, all known for their depth of knowledge, this collection of terms forms the core of an emerging profession and, as a result, helps shape the profession. The terminology spans a range of competencies within the broad area of content strategy.

    There is a recognition that content strategy is about the care and delivery of content at all points in its lifecycle, from its planning and creation right through to its sunsetting, and all stages in between. This book also recognizes that content gets delivered in many markets, in many languages, and to many devices.

    This book, and its companion website and terminology card deck, is an invitation to readers to join the conversation. This is an important step: the beginning of a common language. Using this book will not only help you shape your work, but also encourage you to contribute your own terminology and help expand the depth and breath of the profession.

    The Language of Content Strategy is part of The Content Wrangler Series of Content Strategy books from XML Press.

    6 votes Comments    Relist   Share
  2. 2. Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy

     A Unified Content Strategy= e.width) { e.className = e.className + ' vertical'}})(this)" onerror="(function(e){e.setAttribute('src', 'http://media-cdn.list.ly/missing-image.png');})(this)">

    Smartphones, eBook readers, and tablet computers like the Apple iPad have forever changed the way people access and interact with content. Your customers expect the content you provide them to be adaptive – responding to the device, their location, their situation, and their personalized needs.

    Authors Ann Rockley and Charles Cooper provide insights and guidelines that will help you develop a unified content strategy – a repeatable, systematic plan that can help you reach your customers, anytime, anywhere, on any device. This up-to-date, new edition of Managing Enterprise Content helps you:

    • Determine business requirements
    • Build your vision
    • Design content that adapts to any device
    • Develop content models, metadata, and workflow
    • Put content governance in place
    • Adapt to new and changed roles
    • Identify tools requirements

    With this book you'll learn to design adaptable content that frees you from the tyranny of an ever increasing array of devices.

    Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy

    5 votes Comments    Relist   Share
  3. 3. Content Strategy: Connecting the Dots Between Business, Brand, and Benefits

     Connecting the Dots Between Business, Brand, and Benefits= e.width) { e.className = e.className + ' vertical'}})(this)" onerror="(function(e){e.setAttribute('src', 'http://media-cdn.list.ly/missing-image.png');})(this)">

    If you've been asked to get funding for a content strategy initiative and need to build a compelling case, if you've been approached by your staff to implement a content strategy and want to know the business benefits, or if you've been asked to sponsor a content strategy project and don't know what one is, this book is for you. Rahel Anne Bailie and Noz Urbina come from distinctly different backgrounds, but share a deep understanding of how to help your organization build a content strategy. This book provides practical advice on how to sell, create, implement, and maintain a content strategy, including case studies that show both successful and not so successful efforts.

    5 votes Comments    Relist   Share
  4. 4. Content Strategy 101

    Content Strategy 101= e.width) { e.className = e.className + ' vertical'}})(this)" onerror="(function(e){e.setAttribute('src', 'http://media-cdn.list.ly/missing-image.png');})(this)">

    Technical content is often the last in line for investment and innovation, but poor content has profound effects inside and outside the organization—it damages your reputation, shrinks sales, and causes legal problems.

    Content Strategy 101 is an invaluable resource for transforming your technical content into a business asset.

    5 votes Comments    Relist   Share
  5. 5. Content Strategy for the Web

    Content Strategy for the Web= e.width) { e.className = e.className + ' vertical'}})(this)" onerror="(function(e){e.setAttribute('src', 'http://media-cdn.list.ly/missing-image.png');})(this)">

    Your content is a mess: the website redesigns didn't help, and the new CMS just made things worse. Or, maybe your content is full of potential: you know new revenue and cost-savings opportunities exist, but you're not sure where to start.

    No matter who you are or what you do, content problems can be overwhelming. How can you possibly step back and see the bigger picture when you're constantly in reaction mode? Is it really possible to transform your content into a valuable business asset? The answer is a resounding "yes!" … and content strategy holds the key.

    For organizations all over the world, Content Strategy for the Web is the go-to content strategy handbook. Read it to:

    • Understand content strategy and its business value
    • Discover the processes and people behind a successful content strategy
    • Make smarter, achievable decisions about what content to create and how
    • Create a long-term plan to keep your content compelling, updated, and relevant to your key audience
    • Build a solid, successful business case for content strategy

    When it was first published in 2009, Content Strategy for the Web was an instant classic, serving as the catalyst for the global content strategy conversation. Much more than a simple introduction, this second edition builds upon those foundational ideas and gives you what you need to realize the true business value of your content.

    5 votes Comments    Relist   Share
  6. 6. Every Page is Page One

    Every Page is Page One= e.width) { e.className = e.className + ' vertical'}})(this)" onerror="(function(e){e.setAttribute('src', 'http://media-cdn.list.ly/missing-image.png');})(this)">

    The Web changes how people use content; not just content on the Web, but all content. If your content is not easy to find and immediately helpful, readers will move on almost at once. We are all children of the Web, and we come to any information system, including product documentation, looking for the search box and expecting every search to work like Google. There is no first, last, previous, next, up, or back anymore. Every Page is Page One.

    For technical communicators, this Every Page is Page One environment presents a unique challenge: How do you cover a large and complex product using only topics, and how do you enable your readers to find and navigate topic-based content effectively?

    In this ground-breaking book, Mark Baker looks beyond the usual advice on writing for the Web, and beyond the idea of topic-based writing merely as an aid to efficiency and reuse, to explore how readers really use information in the age of the Web and to lay out an approach to planning, creating, managing, and organizing topic-based documentation that really works for the reader.

    4 votes Comments    Relist   Share
  7. 7. Content Strategy at Work

    Content Strategy at Work= e.width) { e.className = e.className + ' vertical'}})(this)" onerror="(function(e){e.setAttribute('src', 'http://media-cdn.list.ly/missing-image.png');})(this)">

    Explore a content strategy framework and processes from both consultancies and in-house marketing departments. Dig into case studies and interviews from brands in academia, apparel, network television, the non-profit sector, retail, and more. Gather practical sales techniques and examples to sell content strategy-or to use content strategy to sell other services and larger projects.

    Content Strategy at Work is a book for designers, information architects, copywriters, project managers, SEO consultants, social media specialists, and anyone who wants to create better user experiences, whether in in-house marketing departments or agency consulting engagements.

    4 votes Comments    Relist   Share
  8. 8. Clout The Art and Science of Influential Web Content | Content Science

    Clout The Art and Science of Influential Web Content | Content Science= e.width) { e.className = e.className + ' vertical'}})(this)" onerror="(function(e){e.setAttribute('src', 'http://media-cdn.list.ly/missing-image.png');})(this)">

    Clout: The Art and Science of Influential Web Content guides you through planning and creating compelling content that influences thought and action.

    • Learn key principles of rhetoric and psychology for content.
    • Get inspired by 152 examples and case studies from Holiday Inn, Sharpie, CDC, and more.
    • Plan content by thinking through key questions and following a clear process.
    • Evaluate your content qualitatively and quantitatively.
    3 votes Comments    Relist   Share
  9. 9. The Elements of Content Strategy

    The Elements of Content Strategy= e.width) { e.className = e.className + ' vertical'}})(this)" onerror="(function(e){e.setAttribute('src', 'http://media-cdn.list.ly/missing-image.png');})(this)">

    Content strategy is the web's hottest new thing. But where did it come from? Why does it matter? And what does the content renaissance mean for you?

    This brief guide explores content strategy’s roots, and quickly and expertly demonstrates not only how it’s done, but how you can do it well. A compelling read for both experienced content strategists and those making the transition from other fields.

    The Elements of Content Strategy

    2 votes Comments    Relist   Share
  10. 10. Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ig...

     How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ig...= e.width) { e.className = e.className + ' vertical'}})(this)" onerror="(function(e){e.setAttribute('src', 'http://media-cdn.list.ly/missing-image.png');})(this)">

    From the marketing description: The guide to creating engaging web content and building a loyal following, revised and updated Blogs, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other platforms are giving everyone a "voice," including organizations and their customers. So how do you create the stories, videos, and blog posts that cultivate fans, arouse passion for your products or services, and ignite your business? Content Rules equips you for online success as a one-stop source on the art and science of developing content that people care about. This coverage is interwoven with case studies of companies successfully spreading their ideas online—and using them to establish credibility and build a loyal customer base.

    1 votes Comments    Relist   Share
  11. 11. Domain-Driven Design: Tackling Complexity in the Heart of Software

     Tackling Complexity in the Heart of Software= e.width) { e.className = e.className + ' vertical'}})(this)" onerror="(function(e){e.setAttribute('src', 'http://media-cdn.list.ly/missing-image.png');})(this)">

    This is actually a book about software design, but mainly walks you through practical methods for thinking about complexity. It looks at how to get a multi-disciplinary team to all collaborate around a model of a particular subject domain. That's golden learning for any content strategist who works in content modelling (especially for responsive/adaptive systems) or needs to interact with developers, business analysts and other specialists in their team to accomplish their goals.

    This book isn't about content but it helps you upgrade how you think about content. Check it out if you're looking to really stretch your brain muscle and get big rewards for doing so.

    From amazon.com: "This is not a book about specific technologies.

    Readers learn how to use a domain model to make a complex development effort more focused and dynamic. A core of best practices and standard patterns provides a common language for the development team."

    0 votes Comments    Relist   Share
  12. 12. Content Everywhere: Strategy and Structure for Future-Ready Content - by Sara Wachter-Boettcher and Eva Lotta Lamm (D...

     Strategy and Structure for Future-Ready Content - by Sara Wachter-Boettcher and Eva Lotta Lamm (D...= e.width) { e.className = e.className + ' vertical'}})(this)" onerror="(function(e){e.setAttribute('src', 'http://media-cdn.list.ly/missing-image.png');})(this)">

    Great resource with practical examples. It's easy to read and a great place to start if you have questions about structured, reusable content.

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  13. 13. XML: A Manager's Guide

     A Manager's Guide= e.width) { e.className = e.className + ' vertical'}})(this)" onerror="(function(e){e.setAttribute('src', 'http://media-cdn.list.ly/missing-image.png');})(this)">

    Extensible Markup Language (XML) has revolutionized distributed computing. By providing a standard means for specifying the structure of information, XML enables sophisticated e-commerce systems and facilitates interoperable enterprise software. Knowing how to leverage XML's technical capabilities into business value has become an important asset for managers.

    Fully updated and expanded to incorporate the latest in XML technology advances and its application, XML: A Manager's Guide, Second Edition serves as a concise guide for managers as well as a starting point for developers. It helps managers build a working knowledge of XML's capabilities so they can communicate intelligently with XML developers and make informed decisions about when to use the technology. This book also provides manager-specific information about software acquisition, staffing, and project management.

    XML: A Manager's Guide

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  14. 14. What You Need To Know About Strategy

    What You Need To Know About Strategy= e.width) { e.className = e.className + ' vertical'}})(this)" onerror="(function(e){e.setAttribute('src', 'http://media-cdn.list.ly/missing-image.png');})(this)">

    In any career in business, chances are that the time will come when someone will ask you to do a strategy for something. Too often, this will be a cue for stress at work and sleepless nights.

    What You Need to Know about Strategy shows that it doesn’t have to be like this. Taking you step-by-step through the basics of what you need to know to come up with a great strategy, it shows:

    • That getting the right answers depends on asking the right questions
    • Why priorities matter
    • How to map out your internal and external situation
    • How to deal with uncertainty
    • How to make tough choices
    • What your brain does while you’re doing strategy

    By cutting out the theory, and focusing on the things you need to know and do to come up with a killer strategy, this book means that you never need to panic again.

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  15. 15. The Web Content Strategist's Bible

    The Web Content Strategist's Bible= e.width) { e.className = e.className + ' vertical'}})(this)" onerror="(function(e){e.setAttribute('src', 'http://media-cdn.list.ly/missing-image.png');})(this)">

    The Web Content Strategist's Bible explains how the practice of content strategy can be used to effectively manage the size, scope, and cost of content-heavy Web development projects.

    Presented in an easy, readable style, the book explains the fundamentals of content strategy using recent examples and the presentation of best practices. Focusing on asking the right questions and gathering relevant information needed for efficient project planning and development.

    0 votes Comments    Relist   Share
  16. 16. Managing Content Marketing: The Real-World Guide for Creating Passionate Subscribers to Your Brand

     The Real-World Guide for Creating Passionate Subscribers to Your Brand= e.width) { e.className = e.className + ' vertical'}})(this)" onerror="(function(e){e.setAttribute('src', 'http://media-cdn.list.ly/missing-image.png');})(this)">

    In my first book with Newt Barrett, Get Content Get Customers, we needed to explain the why of content marketing. Back in 2008, most marketers didn't get the concept yet. Fast forward three years and everyone we talk to and consult with get the concept, but they are all struggling with how to actually implement and integrate content marketing into their organizations.

    0 votes Comments    Relist   Share
  17. 17. Content Strategy for Mobile

    Content Strategy for Mobile= e.width) { e.className = e.className + ' vertical'}})(this)" onerror="(function(e){e.setAttribute('src', 'http://media-cdn.list.ly/missing-image.png');})(this)">

    You don't get to decide which platform or device your customers use to access your content: they do. Mobile isn't just smartphones, and it doesn't necessarily mean you are on the move.

    0 votes Comments    Relist   Share
  18. 18. Document Engineering: Analyzing and Designing Documents for Business Informatics and Web Services

     Analyzing and Designing Documents for Business Informatics and Web Services= e.width) { e.className = e.className + ' vertical'}})(this)" onerror="(function(e){e.setAttribute('src', 'http://media-cdn.list.ly/missing-image.png');})(this)">

    Content is not only for moving customers to conversions, in marketing speak. Content can also guide organizations and businesses, regulate events and activities, and even suggest pathways to and through human knowledge. Well-engineered content can serve as a rules base or programming language in the sense that it can actually automate the processes of business, education, entertainment, and more. "Document Engineering" provides deep insight into the design of information models that represent the roles, the structure, and the meaning of content. This book is by no means a casual read (and that is an understatement!), but for the content strategist whose content may represent the trade secrets--the intellectual property--the functional principles--of the business, this book provides a solid grounding for taking that content to new levels, from persuasion to orchestrating business workflows and human activities.

    A review by the submitter, Don Day.

    0 votes Comments    Relist   Share
  19. 19. Audience, Relevance, and Search: Targeting Web Audiences with Relevant Content

     Targeting Web Audiences with Relevant Content= e.width) { e.className = e.className + ' vertical'}})(this)" onerror="(function(e){e.setAttribute('src', 'http://media-cdn.list.ly/missing-image.png');})(this)">

    This book is not about SEO, though it covers SEO at one point. This book is about aligning the language of your content to the humans who use your site. Search engines are just proxies for the language of your target audience. They are giant urban dictionaries of how language is used on the web. Only the results that users find relevant to their queries stand the test of time on the first page of Google and other search engines. You can mine this data source to discover what your target audience is looking for and build content that meets their needs, on and in their terms. Along the way, you can help them achieve their goals, connect with experts and become loyal advocates for your brand. This book shows you how to do this from the strategy to the tactics to the tools you will need.

    0 votes Comments    Relist   Share
  20. 20. The Social Life of Information

    The Social Life of Information= e.width) { e.className = e.className + ' vertical'}})(this)" onerror="(function(e){e.setAttribute('src', 'http://media-cdn.list.ly/missing-image.png');})(this)">

    John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid (HBS Press, Boston, 2000). This book provides an insightful and relevant introduction to genuinely human side to information and why, despite so many attempts to pretend otherwise, information remains intrinsically difficult to manage. Particularly memorable are some of the points made about the sometimes surprisingly valid reasons why certain practices persist and will return even after the new broom has swept through. And all of this helps us to understand what designing and managing content might mean - which will presumably help the aspiring Content Strategist.

    0 votes Comments    Relist   Share
  21. 21. Marketing de contenidos. Estrategias para atraer clientes a tu empresa

    Marketing de contenidos. Estrategias para atraer clientes a tu empresa= e.width) { e.className = e.className + ' vertical'}})(this)" onerror="(function(e){e.setAttribute('src', 'http://media-cdn.list.ly/missing-image.png');})(this)">

    Eva Sanagustin (ed. Anaya, 2013).

    0 votes Comments    Relist   Share
  22. 22. Content Chemistry: An Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing

     An Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing= e.width) { e.className = e.className + ' vertical'}})(this)" onerror="(function(e){e.setAttribute('src', 'http://media-cdn.list.ly/missing-image.png');})(this)">

    On my to buy and reading list.

    0 votes Comments    Relist   Share

View more lists from Scott Abel
Categories: DITA

Content Marketing Institute Acquires Intelligent Content Conference (ICC)

The Content Wrangler - Thu, 2014-06-26 12:00

Content Marketing Institute (CMI) today announced the acquisition of Intelligent Content Conference (ICC), founded by The Rockley Group and co-produced with The Content Wrangler. The Intelligent Content Conference is the largest event in North America focused on helping organizations deliver the right content, to the right audience, anywhere, anytime, on any device.

“With the amount of content produced today, more efficient ways to handle structured content, content reuse and intelligent content is critical. Breaking down silos and aligning strategy and marketing teams is necessary for long-term success,” says Joe Pulizzi, Founder of the Content Marketing Institute. “CMI is excited to partner with Ann Rockley and Scott Abel to help take ICC and awareness around intelligent content to the next level.”

ICC_LogoCMI will own both ICC events: Intelligent Content Conference taking place in March 2015, as well as the Intelligent Content Life Sciences & Healthcare event, which just held its first event in May 2014. Both events will take place on the west coast.

Ann Rockley

Ann Rockley

“I’m thrilled to join forces with Content Marketing Institute,” says Ann Rockley, founder of the Intelligent Content Conference, also known in many circles as the mother of content strategy, for her groundbreaking work in content strategy. “Our combined resources provide us with the strength and stability needed to grow awareness of the need for intelligent content.”

CMI will be releasing the Intelligent Content Conference Call for Speakers in July 2014, with event registration opening in early September. Information will be available at http://intelligentcontentconference.com.

Scott Abel

Scott Abel

“By joining forces with the Content Marketing Institute, we will be better able to fulfill the mission of intelligent content,” says The Content Wrangler’s Scott Abel. “While all content professionals seek to serve the needs of their prospects and customers, marketers, more than many others, understand the critical importance of delivering laser-focused, relevant content to those who need it, when and where they need it.”

“The Content Marketing Institute is committed to maintaining and growing the Intelligent Content Conference with high caliber speakers and dynamic sessions on all aspects of intelligent content” says Joe Pulizzi. “We are confident that CMI will maintain the integrity of the vision of intelligent content, while helping it to grow in new and exciting directions” says Ann Rockley.

CMI will also hold its annual Content Marketing World event September 8-11, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio, with content strategy sessions that will align well with ICC’s March 2015 agenda. Content Marketing World is the largest content marketing event on the planet, expecting 2,500 marketing professionals at this year’s event.

About Content Marketing Institute:


Content Marketing Institute is the leading global content marketing education and training organization. CMI teaches enterprise brands how to attract and retain customers through compelling, multi-channel storytelling. CMI’s Content Marketing World event, the largest content marketing-focused event, is held every September, and Content Marketing World Sydney, every March. CMI also produces the quarterly magazine Chief Content Officer, and provides strategic consulting and content marketing research for some of the best-known brands in the world. CMI is a 2012 and 2013 Inc. 500 company.

About The Rockley Group:


The Rockley Group, Inc.(TRG) is the world leader in the development and implementation of intelligent content strategies and structured content management solutions. TRG helps organizations of all sizes, including many among the Fortune 500; meet the increasing demands of regulatory requirements, complexities of globalization, and growing reliance on mobile devices. Thought leaders in the content strategy industry, The Rockley Group introduced the concept of content strategy with their ground-breaking book Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy, now in its second edition. The Rockley Group coined the term Intelligent Content, founded the Intelligent Content Conference, and defined the methodologies and best practices for intelligent content.

About The Content Wrangler:

2013 BUG TCW Wrangler Logo

The Content Wrangler is a San Francisco-based international content strategy consultancy that helps organizations deliver the right information, to the right people, at the right time, on the right device, in the right format and language. The Content Wrangler hosts content industry events (including Content Strategy Applied USA and Information Development World) and produces The Content Wrangler Series of Content Strategy Books, the first of which is “The Language of Content Strategy.”

Press contact:

Cathy McPhillips
Content Marketing Institute

Categories: DITA

Early Bird Discount: Information Development World 2014

The Content Wrangler - Wed, 2014-06-25 21:57

IDW_banner_vertInformation Development World (October 22-24 in San Jose, CA) is the first—and only—conference dedicated to helping organizations create exceptional customer experiences centered around content. Our goal is to bring together the brightest minds in the content arena—content strategists, technical communicators, content marketers, product managers, customer assistance specialists, translators, localizers, taxonomists, and user experience professionals—to demystify the methods, standards, tools and technologies needed to deliver exceptional omni-channel customer experiences.

Why Customer Experience?

53% of customers surveyed say unclear communication ruins the customer experience. But, in companies where service excellence is king, there is evidence that customer-focused content helps drive increases in sales, customer loyalty, and profitability, while also reducing errors, rework, support and content development costs, and decreases an organizations’  need to compete on price.

One way to differentiate your organization from the competition is to leverage content to create an exceptional customer experience. Some brands are better at it than others.

Gartner defines Customer Experience Management (CXM) as “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.” They highlight the importance of customer experience in large, multi-national organizations (especially technology companies) saying “business cases that improve process efficiency and business cases around customer experience dominate wish lists.”55% of organizations, in fact, say that they are currently focusing on ways to enhance customer satisfaction by providing consistent, unified omni-channel content experiences. It is a strategy that, according to Gartner, requires process change and many technologies to accomplish.

Obstacles to Success

Despite this desire to provide exceedingly pleasing and consistent experiences across all customer touch points—marketing, sales, customer service, technical support, and training—most companies have no idea where to start. Obstacles to success include, but are not limited to:

  • Poor governance
  • Outdated tools and technologies
  • Silos created by hierarchical organizational structures
  • Inefficient, ineffective, and outdated content production processes
  • A lack of knowledge and experience creating unified, customer-focused content strategies

Add to the mix the need for multilingual, omni-channel content delivery, localization, and the social revolution, and it’s easy to see where the problems lie.

What topics will be covered?

Information Development World will feature workshops, presentations, case studies, demonstrations, and panel discussions on topics necessary for all content professionals to understand in order to create exception customer experiences, including:

  • Content strategy
  • Content engineering
  • Content marketing
  • Translation and Localization
  • Digital publishing
  • Structured content
  • Technical communication
  • Analytics and measurements

In addition, the conference will also include:

  • Special vendor-sponsored pre-conference educational events
  •  A selection of pre-conference, full-day workshops
  •  The University of California, Berkeley Innovation Forum, and
  •  The Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) Summit

Pre-conference Workshops: Wednesday, October 22

For those who want to dive deeper, we’ve included a variety of full-day training workshops. They’re more detailed than a typical presentation and designed to cover topics that require some focus to begin to master. Advance registration required. Laptops not required, but suggested for some courses. Additional fee required to attend the workshops. Seating is limited.

The Conference: Thursday and Friday, October 23-24

Information Development World features knowledgeable and engaging speakers who will deliver two full days of presentations, case studies, and panel discussions. Software and services vendors will also be on hand to discuss the capabilities of their tools — and conduct product demonstrations — in our Technology Showcase.

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 2.31.23 PM

Customer Experience Recognition Awards

The event also aims to recognize and celebrate exceptional content experiences—and the information developers that created them—during our Customer Experience Recognition Awards (CERAs) reception and dinner, October 23. If you know of an organization doing exceptional work in this area, nominate them today. Nominations accepted until September 19, 2014. You can nominate a company, a team, project leaders, and consultants working in content development within any industry. CERA honorees demonstrate how content is integral to exceptional customer experience, and show collaborative effort between design, content development, and experience delivery to achieve business objectives.

Tickets on sale now!

Tickets for Information Development World 2014 are on sale today. Early bird pricing ends June 30, 2014. So, grab your ticket today!


Diamond sponsor: Adobe Systems. Platinum sponsors: SDL, BrightTALK. Gold sponsors: Acrolinx, Astoria SoftwareoXygen. Silver sponsors: Content Insight, Content Rules, Oberon Technologies, and Scriptorium Publishing.

Categories: DITA

Integrating hiphop vocabulary scores with other relevant data—then querying it

bobdc.blog - Tue, 2014-06-10 12:41
With a little JSON + DBpedia integration. Bob DuCharme http://www.snee.com/bobdc.blog
Categories: DITA

Every DITA topic should be able to fit anywhere. (Not really.)

Geekery - Sat, 2013-10-12 17:05

When I talk to writers about this, I state the case strongly: every topic should be able to fit anywhere. That always provokes some pushback, which is good. Of course it’s not really so, in practice. There are many combinations of topics that are just never going to happen. However, on a large scale, with hundreds or thousands of topics, there are many, many plausible combinations, some of them completely unexpected.

In fact, there are so many plausible combinations, you might as well not worry about the impossible ones. You might as well just go ahead and write each topic as if you had no idea what parent topic it was going to be pulled into.

That’s what we mean by “unleashing” your content with DITA. It’s the combinations of topics that bring the value, not the individual topics themselves. If you draft each individual topic so that it’s eligible for the largest possible number of combinations, you’ve multiplied the usefulness to the user (yes, and the ROI, and the technical efficiency) of the information in that topic. For any given topic, it’s true, there may be only three or four conceivable combinations in which it could make sense. For some, there might be hundreds. You’re not going to know unless you write for reuse in every case.

Once we’ve put this into action, we can go back to the managers and gurus and say, now you’ve really got ROI; now you’ve really got efficiency. Because we’ve given you something that is worth investing in, something that’s worth producing efficiently. Something that can delight readers with its usefulness and its elegance. This isn’t just content, this is writing.

Categories: DITA

DITA makes it possible for any information set, no matter how complex and huge, to be represented with a single page.

Geekery - Tue, 2013-10-08 00:33

In any information set, every component should be able to roll up into what is ultimately a single top-level summary. We know most readers don’t come in through the front door, but in principle you can provide the reader with an entry point that fully sums up what’s in the information set. From there they can drill down into more and more detailed levels. (Readers can be very easily trained to do this, because they have learned from their previous reading to scan for summary-like information and use that to judge whether it’s worth reading on for more detail.)

If each level is itself a rolled-up collection of subordinate units, and so on in turn down the ranks, what you are offering is a set of pages in which each page is itself a table of contents. The content is the navigation and the navigation is the content.

Picture this single page sitting at the apex of a pyramid. It contains (describes) everything that is included in that pyramid. Not that many people are ever going to actually read that page, but we need it to be there, because it defines the pyramid.

The bigger the pyramid, the higher level the information in its top node is going to be. So, for a very large information set, that single page is going to be very general. Each of its immediate child pages will be a level more detailed, and each successive level is going to be more detailed, until you get to the bottom “leaf” level where a topic describes only itself.


Categories: DITA

Hello world!

DITA Blog - Sat, 2013-09-28 09:09

WordPress ?????????????????????????????????????? !

Categories: DITA

Modularity is what makes it fun to write with DITA.

Geekery - Tue, 2013-09-24 19:13

The most disorienting thing about learning structured writing is modularity. There are a lot of things we’ve learned about writing that we have to unlearn; this is the most fundamental of them. This is way bigger than deciding it’s OK to dangle a preposition.

Modularity means, in practice, conveying meaning in free-standing chunks instead of in a unified stream. Why is it so great to be free-standing? What does that get me, from a purely authoring perspective? (Remember, we’re still excluding managerial and technical perspectives from this conversation. You folks can come on back later.)

In mature DITA writing, many topics are built up automatically from component topics. Done well, these composite topics look like you lovingly handcrafted them with sections, section titles, section detail, overview material, and so on. In fact, you threw them together on the fly from component topics that you happened to have lying around.

How good your built-up topics are depends on how good those component topics are. How good the components are is largely a function of how well each one delivers meaning on its own, without having to wait for any other component to its job.

A composite topic that looks and reads like a composite topic is a failed composite topic. It needs to look and read like it was specifically conceived for this particular user at this particular moment. We want its component topics to match, in tone and style and scope, so well that they look like they were all written at once for this specific collection.

You’re working on a building, from the roof down and from the foundation up at the same time. You know what you need your built-up composite topic to do, which influences how to you’ll define and select or draft its component topics. At the same time, as your component topics come into being, they’ll influence the scope, scale and ultimately the effectiveness of the composite topic you’re building from them. In my experience, it’s when this process gets rolling that you really start to feel like you’re doing interesting, useful writing. This is where the fun starts.

Categories: DITA

Why is it that good writing feels like speech, but writing that’s transcribed from speech is usually bad writing?

Geekery - Thu, 2013-09-19 22:45

I’m reprising something I put up on this site about five years ago (lightly edited), because it still comes up in conversation occasionally and it’s fun stuff to talk about. Goes a little bit like this:

Writing has a tense, complicated relationship with speech. Good writing gives the illusion of resembling speech, or being derived from speech. But writing that is transcribed from speech is generally bad writing. It doesn’t feel like real speech. Some writing that does feel like real speech seems stilted when you read it out loud. The speech that writing evokes is imaginary speech, speech that takes place in your mind’s ear.

Often someone says something in a meeting that captures a thought perfectly. It may even seem elegant, like something that everyone knows but that hasn’t been expressed so well until now. Someone will say, “Get that down.” Later, at editing time, it turns out to make no sense at all. The context has changed, of course: what’s said in a meeting grows out of the experiences of everyone there, complete with unspoken assumptions, agreements and compromises. Text has little or no context. It appears out of nowhere, bearing all of its antecedents within itself. It has no hope of matching the immediacy of a spoken conversation. But we can rely on it to a degree that we can’t rely on our memory of speech.

Categories: DITA
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