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Webinar

New Webinar Series: Things to consider when moving to DITA

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:

http://na.justsystems.com/webinars.php

Register now!

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Learn DITA and XML at your desk

For August and September, our webinar schedule is as follows:
DITA 101, August 18 at 11 a.m. Eastern time
Participants will learn about basic Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) concepts, the business case for implementing DITA, and some typical uses of DITA. This webinar is ideal for those who are considering a move to structured authoring based on the DITA standard. Register
Demystifying DITA to PDF Publishing, September 10 at 11 a.m. Eastern time
When a company implements a DITA-based workflow, the most difficult technical obstacle is often setting up a PDF/print publishing workflow. This session discusses the advantages and disadvantages of using the DITA Open Toolkit, FrameMaker, InDesign, and other options to create PDF output from DITA content. Basic familiarity with DITA, Extensible Markup Language (XML), and related technologies is helpful but not required. Register
What Do Movable Type and XML Have in Common?, September 22 at 11 a.m. Eastern time
The invention of movable type changed the economics of information by making the process of copying a book by hand obsolete. More than 500 years later, XML seems to be doing the same to desktop publishing. But where movable type changed the economics of a mechanical process—creating printed 
copies—XML changes the economics of content authoring, formatting, and customization. This webinar takes a look at how publishing technologies revolutionize the way people consume information and how those technologies affect authors. Register
Each webinar is $20. 
During the sessions, you can interact with the presenter and other students through the chat interface or the audio connection. There is a question-and-answer session at the end of each webinar. The Q&A is not included in session recordings, which are available for download later. Participants in the sessions receive a free recording.
To register for these webcasts, or to purchase recordings of past webinars, go to our online store.

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Summer webinar theme: Avoiding extinction

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.

In the category of “what’s old is new again,” we have Writing to STOP from Tony Self of HyperWrite in Australia.

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.)

Finally, Jack Molisani of Prospring and Lavacon is delivering How to Build a Business Case on August 4 at 11 a.m. Eastern time.

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.

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Webinar mania!

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.

Recorded events

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.)

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Documentation as conversation webinar

We have added Documentation as Conversation, presented by Anne Gentle, to our upcoming webinars. Anne is scheduled to present on June 9 at 11 a.m. Eastern time:

Even if your documentation system does not converse with your users, your documentation can help customers talk to each other and make the connections that help them do their jobs well or learn something new as if they were in a classroom with a community for classmates. This talk describes how you can think about documentation and user assistance in a conversational way, with the help of social media technology. I’ll discuss the topics in my new book, Conversation and Community: The Social Web for Documentation. I’ll describe the use of in-person Book Sprints that combine wikis and community events to gather together writers to accomplish documentation goals

Anne is an expert, perhaps the expert, on using wikis and other social media to extend traditional documentation efforts. She’s also an excellent speaker, so I hope you’ll join us for this session.

Register for Documentation as Conversation ($20)

See all upcoming webinars

PS We are working on additional topics and looking for more speakers. Do you have topics you would like us to cover? Please let us know. We are working on a couple of sessions on document conversion.

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Essential tools of an XML workflow in the publishing industry

by Sheila Loring

Communications from DMN provided a link to a webcast on Essential Tools of an XML Workflow. The webcast focuses on the book publishing industry. It’s interesting to hear that some publishing houses still allow authors and editors to use Microsoft Word. These folks are often viewed as incapable of learning an XML authoring tool. Many times the Word content is sent to an indexer for tagging.

The companies I’ve worked with don’t give their employees the choice of publishing tools, but if you’re Stephen King, you probably won’t be forced to use an XML tool.

Technical writers, if you know how to work with XML, your skills are portable to publishing houses. Don’t overlook this in a job search.

http://toc.oreilly.com/2009/01/webcast-video-essential-tools.html

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