CIDM Matters

CIDM Matters is an electronic newsletter published on the 1st and 15th of every month. Browse these articles published in CIDM Matters or subscribe to the newsletter by selecting the “Join Us” option on the navigation bar.

Not Getting Chopped: Measuring Mystery Ingredients for Success

Dawn Stevens, Comtech Services
June 15, 2019

What can you make with astronaut ice cream, marshmallow-filled moon pies, mezzelune (half-moon shaped ravioli), and Blue Moon beer? If this sounds like ingredients on an episode of Chopped, you’d be mostly right. My family puts on our own version of the competition from time to time, and these were the ingredients for the appetizer course in our recent Memorial Day, 2019 event.

The most successful appetizer, according to our judges, was a sort of quiche that completely transformed the ingredients and tasted a […]

McAfee’s Journey to Personalized Content Delivery

Dee Beck, McAfee
June 1, 2019

Today McAfee has a live, customer-facing documentation portal ( that hosts multiple versions of 60 products translated in up to 20 languages. Despite achieving this milestone in 2017, we have a long way to go before we deliver truly personalized content. Launching has been just one step in the journey. […]

A Look at Lightweight DITA

Alan Houser, Group Wellesley, Inc.
June 1, 2019

DITA is a proven architecture that has helped organizations to transform how they create, manage, and deliver content to support their customers and strengthen their business. But DITA remains challenging for many organizations. Even for DITA adopters, aspects of content workflows remain challenging: […]

Is Your Team Considering Git? Get a Branching Method

Daniel Reifsnider, Sony Interactive Entertainment
May 15, 2019

This article seeks to provide a short explanation of the benefits of having a branching methodology. I’d like to start this article off with two statements. First, I apologize for the pun in the title. Second, I absolutely agree with the title’s statement. […]

The End of the Technical Writer?

Keith Schengili-Roberts, IXIASOFT
May 1, 2019

For roughly six years, I have been keeping track of the number of technical writer job postings on—the largest job aggregator website in the United States. With the exception of a brief surge in technical writer job postings in late 2015/early 2016, there has been a steady decline in technical writer job postings. […]

Superheroes invaded CMS/DITA North America

Kathy Madison, Comtech Services<
April 15, 2019

The ladies of Comtech Services, the CMS/DITA North America conference hosts, help set the tone for the conference by donning capes and assuming superhero powers. Dawn Stevens, Comtech’s President and the CIDM Director took on the identity of Purple Reign while her team became Sunburst, Cotton-Candy, Green-Goose and Blaze. […]

The Role of the Information Architect in Technical Publications

by Sabine Ocker, Comtech Services
July 15, 2019

“Architecture is a very grand term. Information Architecture isn’t about designing the next cathedral, but more like figuring out how big of a barn you can make out of a stack of pallets before it falls down.” CIDM Member

In March, seventeen CIDM Members representing writing managers, content strategists, and information architects joined us to probe the question—what is the role of an information architect in your technical publications group? The short answer is, it is evolving.

What does an information architect do? In 2005 JoAnn Hackos […]

Learning From Your Peers

Kathy Madison, Comtech Services<
April 15, 2019

Professional organizations, like The Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM), are established so members can learn from their peers, advance their careers, share best practices, and keep up to date on new technologies in their field. CIDM was started twenty years ago to provide a forum for information-development managers around the world who felt isolated from their colleagues. Recently, we asked our current CIDM members to tell us why they joined […]

How to do Linguistic sign-off with DITA

Amanda Etheridge, WhP
Originally published with permission from WhP at

April 1, 2019

When your company sets up a DITA process, you achieve most of the operational targets as far as content re-use is concerned. Two aspects can fall short of expectations: Localization costs remain the same, and time to market increases. The problem stems from the in-country review, or linguistic sign-off […]

Visual Communication Trends

Rashmi Achha, Schlumberger
April 1, 2019

Visual communication has gained deep traction within the communications realm, causing implications on how technical, marketing, and internal communicators conceptualize, design, and cultivate the user experience to deliver tactical and strategic business information. Visual communication conveys effective information and improves adoption by […]