Past Webinars

  • The CIDM invites you to take advantage of the wealth of industry-related information you’ll find in the Best Practices newsletter. This bimonthly publication, directed by Dawn Stevens, is written by publications managers for publications managers. Following the trends of the industry, the Best Practices newsletter is only available electronically.
  • Recorded: July 1, 2015

    We talk a big game: DITA helps you reuse content with ease. Business cases are built on this promise, but many find the goal elusive. It seems to take just as much effort to manage reusable content as it did to simply copy and paste it. Sure, we might have missed some versions of that content in subsequent updates, but now we can destroy someone else’s deliverables by unwittingly changing content they were reusing. The problems are different, but the impact is the same, as we fail to realize the promised benefits and cost savings. At least in the “good old days” we understood what we were doing – Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V, and voila! Everyone could do it! Now we struggle with the difference between a keyref and conkeyref, we can’t decide whether to use a conditional attribute or a key, and we have never even made a conref push work, let alone find an application for it. Why isn’t DITA delivering on its reuse promises in so many organizations? In this presentation, Dawn Stevens asserts that the promises can indeed be met, but you must use the right tool for the job. Dawn provides guidance for choosing the appropriate reuse mechanism in the DITA standard as she compares and contrasts each feature, including the forthcoming 1.3 capabilities of scoped keys and branch filtering.

    Presented by: Dawn Stevens, Comtech Services, Inc.

    Dawn Stevens is a Senior Consultant specializing in information development, instructional design, and management consulting. With 25 years of experience, including 13 years at Comtech, Dawn has practical experience in virtually every role within a documentation and training department, including project management, instructional design, writing, editing, and multimedia programming. With both engineering and technical communication degrees, Dawn combines a solid technical foundation with strong writing and design skills to identify and remove the challenges her clients face in producing usable, technical information and training.

  • Recorded: November 29, 2016 Continuous delivery (CD) and application release automation (ARA) are usually associated with software. These methodologies can be extended to other parts of your business, such as technical documentation. The output of a build/deploy/test/release software process and a build/publish tech doc process are similar – both produce sets of files that can be executed, uploaded, or published to multiple sites. When companies or organizations think of CD and ARA, they most often apply it to the software build/deploy/test/release process. There are many sources of information about how to do this, such as reference books, blogs, communities, and conferences where information is shared and new ideas arise. Let’s look at another way to apply CD and ARA in a company or organization. The process for technical documentation can also follow the build/deploy/test/release pattern.   At Electric Cloud, the process to build and publish (deploy and release) technical documentation was manual and time-consuming. A typical documentation set for a software release consists of six targets. The build process is run through the authoring tool and can take up to 30 minutes to build only one target. During this time, the authoring tool cannot be used to edit other files, and the PC performance can be adversely affected. To publish the documentation, the technical writer has to manually push the file set for each target and keep track of the progress. The publishing process can take up to several hours, depending on the number of targets to publish, the number of files for each target, and the number of servers to which the targets will be published. In this presentation, Jennifer will show how she modified her documentation workflow from doing things manually to having multiple documentation targets automated and publishing them to one or more sites. Jennifer will briefly describe the manual build and publish processes and how long it took to perform them as well as challenges of running this process consistently. Then she will describe and show how these processes were automated and summarize the improvements (spoiler alert: 50% speed up) resulting from it. This is an example of thinking outside of the box when it comes to improving your documentation processes by implementing DevOps, a methodology usually used in software development and release. CD and ARA can be applied to processes used by enterprise teams as well as small teams or groups in other areas of your business. The implementations are similar – only the process details are different. Presented by: Jennifer Chew, Nuage Networks Jennifer Chew is a senior technical writer at Nuage Networks in Mountain View, CA. Prior to this, she worked at Electric Cloud, Juniper Networks, Cisco Systems, and IBM. She is always looking for ways to combine her engineering experience with her writing projects.
  • Recorded: May 24, 2016 There’s a joke going around that asks: where’s the best place to hide a dead body? Answer: on the second page of a Google search. It underscores the fact that if your technical content does not appear at or near the top of what your users are searching for, it might as well not exist. You can mitigate the problem in DITA content by devising an effective taxonomy and inserting effective metadata into your topics. IXIASOFT DITA Specialist Keith Schengili-Roberts has explored this topic and presents his findings on the processes that can be used to make your DITA-based content easy for your users to find. Presenter: Keith Schengili-Roberts, IXIASOFT Keith is a DITA Specialist at IXIASOFT, DITA evangelist and technical writing nerd. Keith is also an award-winning lecturer on Information Architecture at the University of Toronto's iSchool, and Durham College. He is also an active member of the OASIS DITA Technical Committee, and can often be found presenting at conferences, working with customers, and researching how DITA is being used and sharing those results with the DITA community. Keith's popular industry blog DITAWriter.com has become a focal point on DITA resources and best practices. Connect with Keith on Twitter @KeithIXIASOFT.
  • Recorded: February 24, 2016 JoAnn Hackos and Stan Doherty, co-chairs of the OASIS DITA Adoption Technical Committee, take a careful look at the DITA standard’s adoption worldwide. Although we have witnessed a continuing growth of industries and companies adopting the DITA standard, we have also seen companies either deciding not to pursue DITA or abandoning an earlier excursion. Join Hackos and Doherty in examining the strengths and the weaknesses of DITA Adoption. Presented by: JoAnn Hackos, Comtech Services and Stan Doherty, SimpliVity Corporation Dr. JoAnn Hackos is President of Comtech Services, a content-management and information-design firm based in Denver, Colorado, which she founded in 1978. She is Director of the Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM), a membership organization focused on content-management and information-development best practices. Dr. Hackos and colleagues are called upon by corporate executives worldwide to consult on strategies for content management, development and organizational management, product interface design, customer studies, Web and traditional information architecture, and tools and technology selection. Stan Doherty lives in the the Boston area and works as a technical publications manager at SimpliVity Corporation. He participates as an active member of the OASIS DITA Technical Committee and DITA Adoption Committee. Stan also supports companies in New England considering DITA. Feel free to contact Stan if you are considering DITA, DITA tools, or DITA-aware CCMSs. In previous jobs at Akamai Technologies, MathWorks Inc., and Sun Microsystems, Stan has implemented DITA-based solutions for manuals, CSHelp, and web-hosted information centers.
  • Presented by: The OASIS DITA Adoption Technical Committee Keith Schengili-Roberts, OASIS DITA Adoption Committee Chairperson / IXIASOFT March 15, 2018 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm ET | 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm UTC Abstract The OASIS DITA Adoption TC is pleased to announce Keith Schengili-Roberts presentation on DITA Worst Practices. While people are interested in hearing about successes, we can actually learn more from failure. Not only do we discover what not to do, but also how to avoid the circumstances that led to it. DITA Adoption Chairperson Keith Schengili-Roberts has seen a lot of good and bad things happen to DITA implementations over the years, and part of his job is to investigate what works, what doesn’t, and why. This presentation is designed as an instructive and humorous lesson on what *not* to do when implementing DITA within a documentation team. From constraints that went too far, management decisions that went awry to quixotic tool decisions, Keith will cover DITA tales that are both funny and horrifying. Listen to his best (worst) DITA practices! Keith is a DITA Specialist at IXIASOFT, DITA evangelist and technical writing nerd. Keith is also an award-winning lecturer on Information Architecture at the University of Toronto's iSchool, and Durham College. He is also an active member of the OASIS DITA Technical Committee, and can often be found presenting at conferences, working with customers, and researching how DITA is being used and sharing those results with the DITA community. Keith's popular industry blog DITAWriter.com has become a focal point on DITA resources and best practices. Connect with Keith on Twitter @KeithIXIASOFT.
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  • Recorded: June 8, 2017
    In many industries there’s a shift taking place from the traditional product-focused model to a user focused model. It has become important to bring service information, such as user and maintenance manuals, to this new model as well to get the best possible user experience. This new model contributes to a lower downtime thanks to predictive maintenance, which is a result of IoT initiatives.In this webinar, Berry Braster of Etteplan will explain how business models are changing and what this means for technical communicators and documentation managers.

    Presented by Berry Braster, Etteplan

    Berry Braster is the Technology Director of Technical Documentation at Etteplan, a specialist in engineering, embedded systems, IoT, and technical documentation solutions with over 2500 employees worldwide. Berry has over 16 years of experience in the field of technical documentation and has assisted many global companies with their content strategies, effectively communicating technical information and applying universal standards for content, including Simplified Technical English and DITA.
  • Recorded: September 21, 2017 User guides, technical and reference manuals, installation and maintenance manuals aren’t merely the documentation of your products—they are also tools for winning business, increasing customer satisfaction and building loyalty. By understanding how your product documentation is consumed, you can transform operations and improve your product adoption. To gain this insight, you need to change the way you track and mine the behavior of users when they search, read and interact with your technical content. By combining the latest delivery, text-mining and analytics technologies, you will transform tech content into a sensor and its delivery into a data generator, unleashing a tremendous potential of information innovation.

    Presented by: Fabrice Lacroix, Antidot

    Fabrice Lacroix is a known Web pioneer and the founder of Antidot, the company that puts enterprise content to work. As an entrepreneur, he has been working for 25 years on the development of the Internet and of the Web through several major companies.
  • Recorded: March 30, 2017 As we look forward to the 2017 Content Management Strategies/DITA North America conference in April, we devote time to identify industry trends. We asked managers, information architects, writers, training developers, and more how they are addressing the challenges of meeting customer information needs. Dawn Stevens, President of Comtech Services and Director of The Center for Information-Development Management, and Mark Gross, President of DCL, walk us through the results of the 2017 Trends Survey, a study we have been conducting since 2012. With five years of data, we can trace the changes in how we think about developing and delivering content. Join DCL and Comtech Services as we review the results of the 2017 survey and compare it with past results. Learn how information developers are coping with new customer demands for innovative approaches to development and delivery. Learn what tools teams are using and how they respond to technical innovations. Presented by: Dawn Stevens, Comtech Services, Inc. and Mark Gross, DCL Dawn Stevens is President of Comtech Services, a content-management and information-design firm based in Denver, Colorado. She is also Director of the Center for Information-Development Management, a membership organization focused on content-management and information-development best practices. With over 25 years of experience, including 15 years at Comtech, Dawn has practical experience in virtually every role within a documentation and training department, including project management, instructional design, writing, editing, and multimedia programming. With both engineering and technical communication degrees, Dawn combines a solid technical foundation with strong writing and design skills to identify and remove the challenges her clients face in producing usable, technical information and training. Mark Gross, President, Data Conversion Laboratory, is a recognized authority on XML implementation and document conversion. Mark also serves as Project Executive, with overall responsibility for resource management and planning. Prior to joining DCL in 1981, Mark was with the consulting practice of Arthur Young & Co. Mark has a BS in Engineering from Columbia University and an MBA from New York University. He has also taught at the New York University Graduate School of Business, the New School, and Pace University. He is a frequent speaker on the topic of automated conversions to XML and SGML.
  • Recorded: January 18, 2017 Proponents argue that organizations adhering to an Agile methodology are better positioned to meet the needs and expectations of their customers, react to market needs and changes, and realize the greatest value from their resources. As a growing number of information development teams jump on the Agile bandwagon, with or without their product development teams, they must evaluate whether or not Agile meets its promises. However, traditional waterfall metrics tend to measure process and productivity, such as ensuring a defined workflow has been followed or calculating development hours per page or topic. Agile benefits, however, center less on how things were done and more on the resulting outcome, such as customer satisfaction or team collaboration.  Managers need to adapt and change what they are measuring to obtain a complete picture of what they are accomplishing with their move to Agile. Presented by: Dawn Stevens, Comtech Services Inc. Dawn Stevens is Vice President of Operations and partner at Comtech Services and Associate Director of the Center for Information-Development Management. With over 25 years of experience, including 15 years at Comtech, Dawn has practical experience in virtually every role within a documentation and training department, including project management, instructional design, writing, editing, and multimedia programming. With both engineering and technical communication degrees, Dawn combines a solid technical foundation with strong writing and design skills to identify and remove the challenges her clients face in producing usable, technical information and training.
  • Recorded: January 12, 2017 DITA 1.3 introduces scoped keys, which expand the key functionality introduced in DITA 1.2. In DITA 1.2, a key could have only one definition with a root map. This limitation proved a barrier to a fully-realized reuse strategy for many documentation teams. Scoped keys enable a key to be redefined at multiple levels (key spaces) in a map, with each key definition effective within its own key space. A key space can be the entire root map, a sub-map, a topichead or topicgroup, or even a single topicref, meaning (for one thing) that a topic can be reused many times in a map with its keys being resolved different in each instance of the topic. The scoped keys functionality makes use of a new keyscope attribute added to the appropriate map node. This attribute is not required; unscoped keys can still be used and continue to function as they did in DITA 1.2. This webinar explains the evolution of keys between DITA 1.2 and DITA 1.3, and presents several basic examples and use cases for scoped keys. It also explains key spaces and the interaction between multiple key spaces in a map. During this webinar, the presenter will use the oXygen XML editor with the understanding that other XML editors might choose to visually represent the scoped key functionality differently. Presented by: Leigh W. White, IXIASOFT Technologies Leigh is a DITA Specialist at IXIASOFT, where she helps documentation groups evaluate their workflows and content models and transition into the DITA CCMS. Leigh has spoken on DITA, content management systems and content conversion at a number of conferences, including DITA North America, DITA Europe, Intelligent Content, DITA-OT Day, the STC Summit, Lavacon, and Writers UA. She is the author of DITA For Print: A DITA Open Toolkit Workbook and a contributor to The Language of Content Strategy and The Language of Technical Communication.
  • Recorded: July 27, 2016 Over the last decade, corporate technical publications departments have invested heavily in migrating their content away from proprietary authoring and publishing tools (e.g., MSWord, Adobe FrameMaker) and implementing the DITA standard for content markup. These companies have invested millions of dollars into content conversion and implementation of DITA-based authoring and content management systems. In many ways, these DITA implementation projects have proven to be hugely successful, particularly with regards to content reuse and reduced cost of localizing content to multiple languages. However, one promise of DITA has often fallen short: the goal of true “single source publishing.” The majority of technical publications groups are still publishing to print as the primary output format, followed by online help, and in some cases, eBooks. But, one major gap is still present for most technical publishers: automated publishing to mobile devices. Even though smartphones and tablets have dominated the industry for the last several years, virtually no one is publishing content in a way that fully uses the native capabilities of these mobile devices. Instead, they are settling for the inherent limitations of PDF or HTML files. Dan Dube outlines 5 tips to help technical publishers go “the last mile” to fully leverage their DITA investment and deliver content to popular mobile device platforms like Apple iOS and Android. This webinar will also help to answer the burning question: “Why aren’t EPUB or PDF the best choices for delivering DITA content to a mobile device?” Presented by: Dan Dube, Compass Behavior Dan Dube is a seasoned veteran of the XML content management and publishing industry, with over 30 years of experience working with structured content and automated single-source publishing solutions. Dan is best known as the co-founder and former CEO of DocZone, the industry’s first cloud-based solution for XML authoring, content management, localization, and multichannel publishing. (DocZone was acquired by RSI in 2009.) Dan is now CEO and co-owner of Compass Innovative Behavior Strategies, a New England-based provider of behavior therapy services for individuals with autism and other developmental delays. He still maintains a presence in the publishing industry as an independent consultant.