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Tag: structured authoring

Conferences

Back from Atlanta, STC wrapup

The STC Summit was fun as always. My slides are below, but first some other observations.

David Pogue was an excellent keynote speaker. And he sang!

Attendance was lower than last year, but traffic at our booth (and others from what I heard) was up. I think this was a combination of a better location for exhibitors, shorter exhibit hours (Wednesday was cut), and perhaps more senior and more serious attendees.

The biggest change from previous years had to be the use of social media in general, but especially Twitter:

  • The #stc09 hashtag got a serious workout, the tweetup drew 50 or 60 people, and there was constant chatter about the conference online.
  • There was a complementary online event, #stcnotthere.
  • As we were leaving the conference in sketchy weather, #stuckinATL_stc09, created by @lisajoydyer, helped us chronicle the various airport delays and find each other at the airport. It made the delays almost bearable.
  • Rachel Hougton’s flickr feed captures the feel of the entire event, ranging from the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola to the honors banquet and lots of casual photos. (great job, Rachel, btw)
  • You can find a collaborative liveblog on scribblelive.

Interestingly, it seems as though fewer people blogged the event; instead, they were tweeting. However, Keith Soltys did put up day-by-day summaries on Core Dump, and Gryphon Mountain Journals has some reactions. I was unable to find any other live-blogging; if I missed you, please leave a comment.

Tom Johnson interviewed numerous people (including me) at the event. His interview with Ginny Redish is already available.

The tweeting and other social media augmented the actual event. There were people tweeting for lots of reasons: to solve problems (chairs needed), organize groups for dinner, provide sound bites from presentations, and more. The organizing committee put up a twitter feed on a monitor next to their booth and got lots of attention.

I get the impression that the tweets gave non-attendees a flavor of the event. If you were following #stc09 but not attending, did this make you more likely to consider attending in 2010?

Ironically, one of my presentations was actually about technical communication and Web 2.0 issues. I have a white paper on this topic, which is far more useful than the slides. (OK, if you insist, the slides are also available.)

My second presentation was presumptuously entitled “The State of Structure.” This presentation discusses the results of our industry survey on structured authoring, which was conducted in January and February 2009.

If you want more information, the survey report is $200 and available in our store.

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News

Structured authoring in technical communication

I am pleased to announce the publication of our newest white paper, The State of Structured Authoring in Technical Communication. In early 2009, we conducted a survey on structured authoring; this document presents the results of the survey along with our analysis.

Those who participated in the survey are entitled to a free copy of the report. If you requested a copy via email, you will receive a message within the next 2 business days with download instructions. If you requested a printed copy, those will go in the mail tomorrow.

The report is also available for purchase and immediate download. The cost is $200 for the 38-page report (plus 18 pages that reproduce the survey questions, so the file is 56 pages long).

I’m also delivering a presentation at next week’s STC Summit in Atlanta, which discusses the results of the survey. If you’re attending the conference, I hope you’ll join me on Monday, May 5, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. in Regency V for “The State of Structure.”

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Opinion

DITA isn’t magic

The WritePoint staff blog makes a very good point about DITA: it isn’t a magic wand that fixes documentation problems. Also, it’s worth noting that:

… DITA didn’t introduce something completely new. DITA incorporates achievements made in a wide variety of approaches to organizing content that were being proactively conducted starting from 1960’s.

Don’t get me wrong: DITA can be a good solution for many departments that want to set up an XML-based single-sourcing environment. Just don’t expect that a twitch of your nose will convert your legacy content or make the output from the Open Toolkit match your formatting requirements.

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