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Webinar

Content strategy Webinar

Webcast: Content strategy for software development (with Ray Gallon)

Content strategy is usually thought of in the context of web development. But today’s software is increasingly information-rich. Software is a content vector, and we need to manage the life cycle of that content. This webcast from guest speaker Ray Gallon adapts content life cycle management principles, taken from web-oriented content strategy, to software development cycles. Some examples from real experiences illustrate this adaptation.

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Localization Webinar

Webcast: Localization and the DITA Open Toolkit

Out of the box, the DITA Open Toolkit (OT) looks like it’s localization-ready. It handles the XML attribute xml:lang. It contains strings for more than 50 localizations. So it would seem that all you have to do is specify the language in your DITA files and maps and you’re good to go…or are you? In this webcast, I’ll discuss some of the issues Scriptorium has encountered while generating localized output from the DITA Open Toolkit—and how we solved them.

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Webinar

Webcast: DITA OT essentials

In this webcast, Simon Bate provides a “gentle introduction” to the DITA Open Toolkit (OT), the standard way to generate deliverables from DITA documents. This presentation shows how anyone can install the OT. A tour of the contents and how the plugin architecture works is included.

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Conferences Humor Webinar

Preview of coming a-QUACK-ions

duckMy 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.

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Opinion Webinar

Behold, the power of free

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.

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DITA Webinar

Webcast: Demystifying DITA to PDF publishing

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.

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DITA Webinar

2010: A DITA Odyssey

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.

Odysseus in front of Scylla and Charybdis by Johann Heinrich Füssli (Wikipedia)

Odysseus in front of Scylla and Charybdis by Johann Heinrich Füssli (Wikipedia)

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].

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Webinar

Coping with webcast participation

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?

Answer: Lots.

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.

In addition to the publishing blogs, I specifically mentioned Punk Rock HR, Dooce, and Mark Logic CEO blog. (Don’t read the first two if you are offended by a word that starts with F.)

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)

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Webinar

The revolution will not be authorized

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:

Tweets related to STC acceptances

Tweets related to STC acceptances

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.

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Conferences Webinar

Free the webcast!

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
Registration: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/583647346

PS Depending on the response to this event, we are going to consider additional free events.

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Conferences Webinar

Coming attractions for October and November

October 22nd, join Simon Bate for a session on delivering multiple versions of a help set without making multiple copies of the help:

We needed to generate a help set from DITA sources that applied to multiple products. However, serious space constraints prevent us from using standard DITA conditional processing to create multiple, product-specific versions of the help; there was only room for one copy of the help. Our solution was to create a single help set in which select content would be displayed when the help was opened.
In this webcast, we’ll show you how we used the DITA Open Toolkit to create a help set with dynamic text display. The webcast introduces some minor DITA Open Toolkit modifications and several client-side JavaScript techniques that you can use to implement dynamic text display in HTML files. Minimal programming skills necessary.

Register for dynamic text display webcast

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.

Register for the translation workflow webcast

As always, webcasts are $20. LavaCon is just a bit more. Hope to see you at all of these events.

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