Information Management News
Volume 9, Issue 4
April 2009

A monthly e-newsletter from The Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM)
JoAnn T. Hackos, PhD, CIDM Director

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CIDM News and Events


The CMS/DITA North America Conference 2009 will be held April 27-29 in St. Petersburg, FL. To register for this event click here.

The Best Practices Conference 2009 will be held September 14-16 in Vancouver, WA. For more infomation click here.

The DITA Europe Conference 2009 will be held November 16-17 in Munich, Germany. For more infomation click here.

News & Events

How to Manage the Changing Roles of Writers and Editors in a Structured Writing Environment

Vasont Systems announces the date of its next free webinar in the Vasont Webinar Series, “Managing the Changing Roles of Writers and Editors When Moving to a Structured Writing Environment,” presented by Tom Magliery of JustSystems and Bill Gamboa of Vasont Systems. The webinar takes place on April 7, 2009 at 1:00 pm ET/10:00 am PT.

Bring Your Style Guide to Life and Create High-Quality Content from within Adobe FrameMaker 9

This webinar follows on the announcement that Adobe Systems Incorporated is providing all its Adobe FrameMaker® 9 users with SDL AuthorAssistant™, the client component of SDL Global Authoring Management System™. Expert speakers from SDL and Adobe will be discussing this functionality, that will enable users to write high-quality, consistent content from within their FrameMaker environment. This webinar takes place on April 15, 2009 at 11:00 am ET/8:00 am PT.

Author-it Stimulus Package

In the spirit of partnership Author-it believes these packages will help you drive forward and ‘Escape the Crisis.’ These packages are all inclusive; software, support and upgrades, implementation services, and training. This packaging has allowed Author-it Software Corporation to provide the bundles at a significant discount and with payment plan and subscription pricing options.

Data Conversion Laboratory Completes Conversion of 18th and 19th Century Works for Accessible Archives

Data Conversion Laboratory, Inc. (DCL), providing conversion services and software to publishers, industry, government, libraries and documentation developers, has announced the completion of several conversion projects for Accessible Archives, Inc., a publisher of electronic full-text searchable historical databases of 18th and 19th century American newspapers, periodicals, and county histories.

JustSystems Announces XMetaL Reviewer 5.5

XMetaL Reviewer reinforces the central role of document review and collaboration in the overall authoring process as it lets subject matter experts and others contribute content directly to the documents under review. The latest version of XMetaL Reviewer gains usability, connectivity, integration, and administration enhancements.

Stilo Cuts the Cost of DITA Content Migration

Stilo International is pleased to unveil a radical Q2 promotion that significantly reduces the cost of content migration. Organizations that need to convert legacy content, such as Word, FrameMaker, and HTML files into DITA XML can now do so for just $1 per page and $1 per graphic.

Low-use Documents

When do you discontinue an information deliverable?

Please take our brief survey.

Pre-conference Book Sale!
Introduction to DITA: A Guide to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture is now 30% off until April 30, 2009. Comtech Services has produced a user guide for the popular OASIS DITA standard. If you have been using DITA or are just joining the DITA community, this book provides you with the information you need to accomplish your goals.
Buy your copy today!

Using Minimalism to Cut Complexity and Costs
JoAnn Hackos, Comtech Services, Inc.

In the August 2008 edition of the Harvard Management Update newsletter, Mark Gottfredson and Andrew Schwedel discussed the affect of complexity in products and operations on businesses.

The authors argue unequivocally that complexity hurts business by driving costs up and interfering with growth. They reference complexity among goods manufacturers who introduce so many different products that their warehouses become full of costly inventory stocks that go unsold. Think of General Motors and their proliferation of products, a proliferation that adds to their manufacturing costs and tends to confuse rather than please customers.

Read the article.

More articles

April 2009 Best Practices Newsletter
Table of Contents



Documentation and Courseware Working Together

Laura Readdy, Siemens PLM Software

What Ever Happened to Project Management?

JoAnn Hackos, CIDM

VoC for Doc

Bob Ryan, Motorola

Information Standards: A survival guide for considering, adopting, and living with them

Barry Schaeffer, Content Life-cycle Consulting, Inc.

Putting the “M” in CMS

Harvey Greenberg, XyEnterprise

If you are not a CIDM member, you can subscribe to the Best Practicesnewsletter online. A subscription is $99 per year. For subscribers outside the US, the cost is $109.

**Please note that the printed newsletter and the enewsletter do not contain the same content.**

Doing Your Scrumwork
Ritva Siltanen, Nokia Siemens Networks

The world of software development is becoming increasingly agile. While the traditional waterfall development approach called for planning and scheduling the work for the whole release cycle in advance, the agile development approach focuses on clear short-time goals. Instead of emphasizing compliance with the process, the agile environment embraces process adaptability. For technical writers, agile development is a great opportunity to step out of the current comfort zone and start moving towards a new target: extreme technical writing.

Read the article.

Build Your Business Case to Attend the 2009 CMS/DITA North America Conference
JoAnn Hackos, Comtech Services, Inc.

Dear Friends,

I have decided to extend the early registration rate for the CMS/DITA North America conference indefinitely. Register anytime from now through the conference and receive the discounted rate of $1295.

Do you need to create a business case when you request approval to attend this year’s Content Management Strategies/DITA North America conference? Here’s a business case that a colleague drew up a few days ago to convince his management that attending the conference was a valuable investment in their future success.

Read the article.

Using XML and its Metadata to Create Cover Pages
Anne Bovard, Comtech Services, Inc.

Extensible Markup Language (XML) is often promoted because it separates form from content. While there are many reasons to tout this separation, it requires a shift in thinking. Since the 1980s desktop publishing has enabled people to format their own output. Most times, even though it means giving up formatting control, authors are generally enthusiastic about implementing XML and structured authoring. In this new environment, formatting is integrated into the publishing process.

Read the article.

How Do You Know When to Discontinue an
Information Deliverable?—A Survey

Recently, the Technical Publications team at a large Fortune 500 company surveyed a sample of clients for one of its Time & Attendance software products. The purpose of the survey was to learn more about the client usage rates of the information deliverables (guides, quick reference cards, and online help) that the company provided.

Read the article.

bestpractices CIDM is calling for contributions to the bimonthly publication, Best Practices. Please contact our Editor,
Lisa Larson
, for more information.