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White papers

White papers

Personalized content: steps to success

More customers are demanding personalized content, and your organization needs a plan to deliver it. But where do you start? How do you assess where personalization should fit into your content lifecycle? How do you coordinate your efforts to ensure that personalization is consistent across the enterprise? This white paper explains what steps you can take to execute a successful personalization strategy.

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White papers

DITA to PowerPoint: Exploring the challenges

We’ve worked on a few DITA-to-PowerPoint projects. In some cases, the project sounded like a natural fit. In other cases, the fit was less than compelling. Even in projects that seemed to have a natural fit, we encountered bumps in the road with the DITA content, the design of the slide masters, or both.

There are many good reasons to create a DITA-to-PowerPoint conversion. It’s an attractive idea to use the same material for slides and student materials (such as handouts). A DITA-to-PowerPoint conversion also allows you to create slides by reusing content from your existing topics. 

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White papers

Flexible learning content with the DITA Learning and Training specialization

Executive summary

Learning content professionals spend a lot of time creating content for instructor guides, presentations, assessments, and other deliverables. To adapt that content for multiple contexts, these content developers often:

  • Copy and paste content from one part of a course to another
  • Develop multiple different delivery methods
  • Create and maintain multiple versions of similar content

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White papers

Content accounting: Calculating value of content in the enterprise

The challenge of content value

Content value is a hot topic in marketing and technical communication. In the publishing industry, the connection between content and value is clear. A publisher sells a book (or film or other piece of content) and gets book sales, ticket revenue, or streaming subscriptions in return. But what if your content is a part of the product (like user documentation) or used to sell the product (like a marketing white paper)? In these cases, measuring content value is much more challenging.

It is tempting to fall back on measuring cost instead of value. The cost of content development can be a trap, though. Eliminating wasted effort and optimizing content workflows is sensible, but too much focus on cost leads us toward content as a commodity.

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White papers

The Scriptorium approach to content strategy

Executive summary

Scriptorium’s approach to content strategy is based on management consulting principles. First, we identify business goals that are connected to content problems. We then do a needs analysis and gap analysis, and develop requirements. That work provides the foundation for a recommendation. From that recommendation, we build out the solution.

The key to success is the balance between content and strategy. It’s easy to reduce the cost of the content lifecycle if you don’t care about the quality of the content. If you focus only on the quality of the end result and not on the content creation process, you can end up with beautifully crafted content that’s only usable in a single format, that’s impossible to translate, or that takes entirely too long to create.

When you invest in content strategy, you are committing to a major digital transformation effort. The challenges are significant, but so is the opportunity.

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White papers

Understanding content strategy as a specialized form of management consulting

First published in Technical Communication Volume 66, Number 2 (May 2019) by the Society for Technical Communication.

Coauthored by Sarah O’Keefe, Alan Pringle, and Bill Swallow.

Abstract

Purpose: The goal of this article is to position content strategy as a specialized subdiscipline of management consulting. Standard management consulting practices, such as gap analysis and needs analysis, are the foundation of content strategy practices.

Method: This article draws from the theory on management consulting and shows how management consulting principles work in the context of content strategy projects.

Results: Practitioners in the burgeoning field of content strategy will develop a better sense of how their work aligns with overall management consulting practices.

Conclusion: Management consulting already has best practices and methodologies. Content strategy builds upon that foundation to establish a professional discipline.

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White papers

Managing DITA projects: Five keys to success

Executive summary

You just completed a content strategy analysis. Your analysis concludes that the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) XML standard will provide a great framework for your company’s content. You are ready to set up a DITA system, but where do you start?

Implementing DITA is not just a matter of picking tools. In fact, software selection is usually the easiest part of a DITA project. This white paper describes best practices for five critical facets of a DITA project.

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White papers

The DITA business case: Maximizing content value

Coauthored by Sarah O’Keefe and Bill Swallow

Executive summary

Companies require content to support ever-increasing requirements, including:

  • Delivering content in multiple formats
  • Meeting compliance requirements
  • Accelerating time to market
  • Handling content variants
  • Delivering translated content on a limited budget

This white paper describes the business justifications for investing in the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)—an open source XML standard—as a foundation for content management.

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White papers

DITA specialization: Extensibility and standards compliance

The curse of standards

Open standards are great—until you realize that the standard is almost-but-not-quite perfect for your requirements. Then you face ugly choices: do you compromise by forcing your elliptical content into the round standard, or customize the standard to make it just right? Some companies join the standards-making body, and eventually get their requirements added to the standard.

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White papers

The age of accountability: Unifying marketing and technical content with Adobe Experience Manager

Coauthored by Sarah O’Keefe and Gretyl Kinsey

Commissioned by Adobe Systems, Inc. (What does this mean?)

Organizations can no longer funnel people into convenient pre-sales and post-sales categories. They need to align their content creation efforts for marketing and technical content. Adobe offers a solution that allows for creation of structured technical content (DITA) and less structured marketing content in a single repository.

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Content strategy White papers XML

Structured authoring and XML

Coauthored by Sarah O’Keefe and Alan Pringle

First published in 2001.

Structured authoring and XML represent a significant paradigm shift in content creation. Implementing structured authoring with XML allows organizations to enforce content organization requirements. The addition of hierarchy and metadata to content improves reuse and content management. These benefits, however, must be weighed against the effort required to implement a structured authoring approach. The business case is compelling for larger writing organizations; they will be the first to adopt structured authoring. Over time, improvements in available tools will reduce the cost of implementing structured authoring and make it affordable for smaller organizations.

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Case study Content strategy White papers

Creating a unified customer experience with a content fabric

Coauthored by Anna Schlegel (Senior Director, Globalization and Information Engineering, NetApp) and Sarah O’Keefe (President, Scriptorium Publishing)

The interest in customer experience presents an opportunity for enterprise content strategists. You can use the customer experience angle to finally get content proposals and issues into the discussion. Ultimately, the challenge is in execution—once you raise awareness of the importance of content synchronization, you are expected to deliver on your promises. You must figure out how to deliver information that fits smoothly into the entire customer experience. At a minimum, that requires combining information from multiple departmental silos.

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DITA White papers

Conditional content in DITA

This post provides an overview of techniques you can use to handle conditional content in DITA. The need for complex conditions is a common reason organizations choose DITA as their content model. As conditional requirements get more complex, the basic Show/Hide functionality offered in many desktop publishing tools is no longer sufficient.

Conditional processing is especially interesting–or maybe problematic—when you combine it with reuse requirements. You identify a piece of content that could be reused except for one small bit that needs to be different in the two reuse scenarios.

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