White Paper 2.0

Sarah O'Keefe / News4 Comments

We have just posted a new white paper, Friend or Foe? Web 2.0 in Technical Communication (PDF, 1.7 MB). The abstract:

The rise of Web 2.0 technology provides a platform for user-generated
content. Publishing is no longer restricted to a few technical writers—any
user can now contribute information. But the information coming from
users tends to be highly specific, whereas technical documentation is
comprehensive but less specific. The two types of information can coexist
and improve the overall user experience. User-generated content also
offers an opportunity for technical writers to participate as “curators”—
by evaluating and organizing the information provided by end users.

We hope to have an HTML version available soon so that we can actually practice what we preach. Meanwhile, please leave your comments in this post.

PS I’m also interested in comments on our new white paper format and our use of Flash animation.

About the Author

Sarah O'Keefe


Content strategy consultant and founder of Scriptorium Publishing. Bilingual English-German, voracious reader, water sports, knitting, and college basketball (go Blue Devils!). Aversions to raw tomatoes, eggplant, and checked baggage.

4 Comments on “White Paper 2.0”

  1. Good white paper. I’ve been interested in this very topic for some time now. Aside from technology and policy considerations, there’s also one of authenticity and credibility for the company using any kind of Web 2.0 technology to either supplement or replace their technical documentation. Just as many-to-one and many-to-many can be extremely beneficial in resolving a user’s issue, it can also create a noise cloud that could turn users away. There’s a delicate balance between order and chaos that needs to be managed. You want to give people the freedom to help each other out, but also do not want to create a situation where info providers are turned away by limitations or are allowed to run amok with no governing over the content they’re generating.

  2. Thanks for writing this white paper and posting it to your blog.
    Honestly – I didn’t even notice which graphics were embedded Flash videos until I read Tom’s comment and then went back to look for them. It then became an entertaining scavenger hunt. 🙂
    You probably know from my blog entries and articles on the subject of wikis and web 2.0 that I completely agree with your assessment that writers can be players in the arena of user-generated content.
    Even just enabling comments on your help system is the right direction. The search technology considerations are also excellent reminders. I really appreciate your examples as well. I also like the reminders that corporate policies are there for a reason.
    Thanks for publishing a helpful paper. With the authority you lend to the topic, I believe tech pubs managers will have the fuel to convince their managers of the value here, proving that the need is real and the value exists in enabling user-based content merging.

  3. Great white paper. This is professional and definitely takes a lot of the points and analysis further than my post on the subject last year!
    Very professional, Anne states a great use for getting the buy-in from docs managers.

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