Alan Houser and Vici Koster-Lenhardt are running for the office of Vice President of the Society for Technical Communication. If you missed the live webcast, watch this recording to get to know the candidates.
In this webcast, Sarah O’Keefe discusses how to calculate the return on investment of an XML/DITA implementation for technical content.
If you are considering XML and DITA, but are trying to figure out whether you can justify the cost and effort, this session is for you.
In this webcast, Sarah O’Keefe of Scriptorium offers an overview of content strategy analysis with an eye toward the implications and business case for your organization.
In this webcast, Simon Bate leads viewers through the key steps in using XSL (extensible stylesheet language) to perform XML-to-XML conversions, a process that differs from more traditional XML-to-PDF and XML-to-HTML conversions.
Scriptorium hosts Tristan Bishop of Symantec as he muses on technical communicators’ evolving roles.
I think so. Read the white paper and see if you agree.
In this 41-minute webcast, Sarah explores how XML affects the management of technical communication and proposes a new system for measuring documentation quality.
My presentation for the STC Summit in Dallas is finally done. The session, “Managing in an XML environment,” is scheduled for Tuesday, May 4, at 4 p.m. Central time.
I hope to see you in Dallas, but if you can’t make the conference in person, I will also do a webcast version of this presentation on June 15 at 1 p.m. Eastern time. That event is free but does require registration.
I’m sure you’re wondering about the duck. In my presentation, I will be introducing a formula for measuring documentation quality. It’s based on Quality, Usability, and some other factors that spell out, you guessed it, QUACK.
And if that’s not enough to bring you to the session, I also have several other animals in my slides. Consider yourself warned.
Lately, our webcasts are getting great participation. The December event had 100 people in attendance (the registered number was even higher), and the numbers for the next few months are strong, as well. Previous webcasts had attendance of A Lot Less than 100. What changed? The webcasts are now free. (Missing an event? Check our archives.)
We’re going in a similar direction with white papers. We charge for some content, but we also offer a ton of free information.
The idea is that free (and high-quality) information raises our profile and therefore later brings in new projects. I’m not so sure, though, that we have any evidence that supports this theory yet.
So, I thought I’d ask my readers. Do you evaluate potential vendors based on offerings such as webcasts and white papers? Are there other, more important factors?
PS Upcoming events, including several DITA webcasts, are listed on our events page.
When you implement a DITA-based workflow, you face myriad new challenges, such as getting accustomed to topic-based writing, exploring reuse strategies, and specialization. The most difficult technical obstacle is usually setting up a PDF/print publishing workflow. The DITA Open Toolkit provides very basic PDF output, but for organizations who require attractive, professional-looking PDF content, extensive and expensive customization is required. FrameMaker is easier to configure than the Open Toolkit and produces lovely PDF files, but can you work around the limitations of the DITA support? InDesign offers the highest quality typography but has significant limitations in working with structured content. This session discusses the advantages and disadvantages of each approach to extracting PDF from DITA content.
This session is intended for individuals who are considering a DITA implementation and expect to need PDF output. Basic familiarity with DITA, XML, and related technologies is helpful but not required.
NOTE: During the recording, the presenters will mention polls. You will not see these polls while viewing the recording, but the presenters will describe the results.
When you’re considering tools for authoring DITA content and creating output, there are many choices to evaluate. To make your journey toward DITA implementation easier, Scriptorium is offering free webinars in early 2010 to show you how three tools handle DITA-based information.
On January 19, Sarah O’Keefe will show you how MadCap Flare supports DITA constructs, and on February 16, Simon Bate will demonstrate the DITA features in the oXygen XML editor. On March 16, Scott Prentice of Leximation will demonstrate how the DITA-FMx plugin works with FrameMaker 9.
As an added bonus, attendees can win a free license of the tool shown during each demo! For more information about these sessions and to register, visit our events page.
If there are other topics you’d like to see covered in later free webcasts, please send suggestions to [email protected].
Many thanks to all of the people who attended yesterday’s webcast on coping with user-generated content.
We recorded the webcast, and it is now available:
In a nod to the topic itself—and in an effort to make the event more interesting, I solicited quite a bit of audience participation. As a result, I owe the webcast participants a significant number of links and other resources.
Question: What blogs do you read?
Better answer: Here is a link to my Google Reader subscriptions in the Publishing category. Many thanks to the attendee who recommended sharing them this way. (If you’d like full credit by name, send me email or put a note in the comments; I don’t want to do that without permission.) I’ve also listed the blogs at the bottom of this post.
Question: Are there any guides to legal issues in social media, such as libel?
Answer: I found a few interesting resources, but not a definitive guide.
Libel and Social Media (blog post)
IBM Social Computing Guidelines (these have been in the news as a template for a well-crafted policy)
In the past few days, STC has been sending out acceptance notices for presentations at next May’s STC Summit. There’s been a small flurry of announcements, mostly on Twitter. (I live in North Carolina where two flakes are a flurry. 10 flakes are a school-closing, bread-and-milk-buying emergency.)
For instance, we have this on Friday, November 20:
Side note: I’ll be presenting on managing in an XML environment.
In the pre-Twitter Era, acceptances were sent by mail, and then conference organizers could post the full program more or less at their convenience. But now, the leaks start almost immediately.
This may not be a bad thing. The happy tweets raise awareness of the event. For an organizer, however, it means that notifications need to be carefully synchronized or perhaps staggered on a formal schedule (SxSW does this quite well; they announce program decisions in batches).
It seems like another case where unofficial community content is eroding the ability of the content owner to control the messaging. Coincidentally (!), that’s the topic of a webcast I’m doing on December 8.
Strategies for coping with user-generated content
Tuesday, December 8, 11 a.m. Eastern time
We are offering this webcast for free; you just need to register.
This is a new presentation that I first delivered at LavaCon in New Orleans this year.
In addition to our November event on localization, we are adding another webcast in December. I’ll be presenting Strategies for coping with user-generated content on December 8 at 11 a.m. Eastern time via GoToWebinar. This event is free but registration is required.
Here’s the description:
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.
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.
Remember, there’s no charge to attend, but you do need to register.
Date: December 8, 2009
Time: 11 a.m. Eastern
Topic: Strategies for coping with user-generated content
PS Depending on the response to this event, we are going to consider additional free events.
October 22nd, join Simon Bate for a session on delivering multiple versions of a help set without making multiple copies of the help:
I will be visiting New Orleans for LavaCon. This event, organized by Jack Molisani, is always a highlight of the conference year. I will be offering sessions on XML and on user-generated content. You can see the complete program here. In addition to my sessions, I will be bringing along a limited number of copies of our newest publication, The Compass. Find me at the event to get your free copy while supplies last. (Otherwise, you can order online Real Soon Now for $15.95.)
Register for LavaCon (note, early registration has been extended until October 12)
And last but certainly not least, we have our much-anticipated session on translation workflows. Nick Rosenthal, Managing Director, Salford Translations Ltd., will deliver a webcast on cost-effective document design for a translation workflow on November 19 at 11 a.m . Eastern time:
In this webcast, Nick Rosenthal discusses the challenges companies face when translating their content and offers some best practices to managing your localization budget effectively, including XML-based workflows and ways to integrate localized screen shots into translated user guides or help systems.
As always, webcasts are $20. LavaCon is just a bit more. Hope to see you at all of these events.
Scriptorium and JustSystems are announcing a three-webinar series on preparing to use DITA.
The first two webinars in the series describe the age-old problem of converting legacy content into DITA. Because a great deal of unstructured content is in either Adobe FrameMaker and Microsoft Word, we’re dedicating one webinar to converting Unstructured FrameMaker to DITA and the other to converting Microsoft Word to DITA.
The third webinar describes various re-use strategies you can apply to your DITA content.
The dates and times for the conversion webinars are:
- Converting Unstructured FrameMaker to DITA – August 25, 2:00pm Eastern time.
- Converting Microsoft Word to DITA – September 1, 2:00pm Eastern time.
The date and time for the third webinar (DITA reuse strategies) will be announced toward the end of August.
All of the webinars in the series are free, but you do have to register before attending. To sign up, follow this link to the JustSystems web site:
Ellis Pratt of Cherryleaf is delivering Beyond Documentation this Thursday, July 9th, at 11 a.m. Eastern (US) time. Ellis gave a similar presentation in Vienna, which was the basis for Tom Johnson’s post, How to Avoid Extinction as a Technical Communicator, and led to a lively discussion in the comments. Join us to see if you agree with Ellis’s point of view.
STOP – Sequential Thematic Organisation of Publications – was developed at Hughes Corporation in the 1960s. The purpose of STOP was to improve the speed of document production, and to allow multiple authors to work simultaneously on the same document. […]
The STOP approach still resonates in the age of online documentation, as we still have the same needs to reduce document creation times and to work collaboratively. In this session, we will look at how the STOP approach worked, and how it might be re-applied even more effectively in the 21st century.
That presentation is July 15 at 5 p.m. Eastern time. (Note the time change. Our usual 11 a.m. time slot is 1 a.m. in Melbourne, Australia. That seemed impolite to our presenter.)
If you’ve ever submitted a purchase request that was not approved, chances are it lacked one or more of the vital components management looks for when allocating resources.
In this segment, Jack Molisani will present a fun and practical session identifying the components of a successful business case, how to identify what is important to management, how to maximize your chances of approval, and more.
Jack usually rewards questions with chocolate, and I’m going to be impressed if he manages that in a webinar.
Don’t miss your chance to hear from these guys. You can register through our store; recordings of previous webcasts are now available as well.
PS Our presenters are based in England, California, and Australia. Registrants could be anywhere. The sessions are yours for $20. I love the Internet.
I have several webinar-related updates to share:
Next week, the State of Structure
You probably know that Scriptorium conducted an industry survey on structured authoring earlier this year. The report, The State of Structure in Technical Communication, is available in our online store for $200.
There is a cheaper option to get the highlights. On Tuesday, June 16, at 1 p.m. Eastern time, I’ll be delivering a one-hour webinar that highlights the most important findings.
Coming in July and August
Expect to see additional webinars in cooperation with our TechComm Alliance partners, Cherryleaf and HyperWrite. We are also welcoming Jack Molisani of ProSpring, who will offer excellent and candid career development advice. Watch this space for details about these upcoming events. Scriptorium consultants will also be offering additional content.
Two of our recent webinars are now available for download:
- Hacking the DITA Open Toolkit
- Documentation as Conversation
Each webinar lasts about one hour and is $20, either live or recorded. You can register for the Tuesday webcast and download recordings in our online store.
(Warning: The recorded webcast files are quite large.)