Information Management News
April 2010

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

If you would like to receive the CIDM e-newsletter in plain-text format, visit and choose the plain-text format.

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CIDM News and Events

For a complete Calendar of Events, click on these links:




Other Events


The CMS/DITA North America Conference 2010 will be held April 19-21 in Santa Clara, CA. For more information click here.

The Best Practices Conference 2010 will be held September 13-15 in Hampton, VA. For more information click here.

Upcoming Workshops

DITA Getting Started
May 5-6, 2010
Westminster, Colorado

In this workshop, you learn that DITA is a standard for authoring topic-based technical information, that using DITA provides significant business advantages, and that you can get started immediately with the DITA Open Toolkit.

DITA Boot Camp
May 10-14, 2010
San Jose, California

This workshop covers the concepts needed to move to DITA successfully. The Boot Camp takes you from the DITA Basics to the skills you’ll need to create a specific standard for your industry and your content.

Developing Quality Documentation in an Agile Environment
May 19-20, 2010
San Diego, California

This workshop focuses on the Scrum Agile methodology and how documentation departments can adjust to this high-speed development environment. Managers and individual contributors attending this workshop will come away with a firm understanding of the Scrum process and how documentation can effectively engage in the process for both engineering and documentation-centric projects.

Minimalism: Creating Manuals People Can Use
July 13-14, 2010
Boulder, Colorado

Minimalism is the first step to creating user friendly content that is fully structured. It is designed for anyone faced with manuals that users complain are too big and too detailed—or that aren’’t used at all.

Upcoming Webinars

Collaborating with Your Customers Using Your Product Documentation

Presented by Alfred Papallo & Robert Minard, Eurofield Information Solutions and JoAnn Hackos, Comtech Services
April 13, 2010, 4pm Eastern

SDL Webinar: How to Achieve Dynamic Publishing with DITA

Presented by Howard Schwartz, Chip Gettinger and Sean Angus of SDL’s Structured Content Technologies division
April 27, 2010, 1pm Eastern

3D Without the Glasses: Adding Dynamic 3D Images to your Technical Publications

Presented by Robert Merlo, Right Hemisphere and JoAnn Hackos, Comtech Services
May 18, 2010, 12pm Eastern

Click here for recorded webinars.


Click here for more announcements.

CIDM is now on Facebook!Click here to join our group.

CIDM is LinkedIn!

Content Management Strategies/DITA
North America 2010

Only 10 days remaining to register! Go to our registration page to sign up today.

Predicting Cost Savings—Backing Up Your Claims
JoAnn Hackos, Comtech Services, Inc.

Have you reduced your costs of information development by moving to Content Management?

CIDM members are interested to learn how a move to Content Management, topic-based authoring in DITA and XML, or other technology and process innovations has affected the efficiency of your operations. We would especially like to learn if you have achieved the Return on Investment that you promised in order to get project approval from your senior management.

Please respond to the survey questions as completely as possible. We estimate it will take you about 15 minutes to complete the survey. We hope you will include your contact information so that we can contact you to follow up.

I will prepare an article based on the results of the survey, which we will make available to all participants. We will not use your name or company affiliation unless we have your written permission to do so.

You will have until the end of April 24, 2010 to complete this survey.

Begin by clicking this link:

Also, please look for my article on Predicting Cost Savings here.

Thank you for your help and interest.

Dr. JoAnn Hackos
The Center for Information-Development Management

More articles

April 2010 Best Practices Newsletter
Table of Contents



Building Super Team Spirit

Todd V. Herrick, Symitar, a Jack Henry Company

Predicting Cost Savings— Backing Up Your Claims

JoAnn Hackos, CIDM

Writing For Reuse (or Carefully Crafted Content)

David A. Reid, MIF Masters

Minimalism: A cereal killing

Ron Fauset, Symitar, a Jack Henry Company

What’s the Big Deal?—Just Cut and Paste?

Michael Gross, Data Conversion Laboratory, Inc.

Collaborate in Context™

Alfred Papallo, Eurofield Information Solutions

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.**

An Investigation Into Standards and Innovation
Part 5 of 6: Knock knock: Open Source and Open Standards

Laurent Liscia, OASIS

In parallel (I have to stress the word “parallel”, we’ll see why in a second) thousands of independent software developers were inventing Web-based programs that could run in your browser, and could be used free of charge using exotic licenses such as GPL, and later, creative commons modes. Oftentimes these programs were built using languages (JAVA, PHP, Javascript) or platforms (Apache on Linux) that were also free of charge. Companies that charged good money for their software watched in horror as code that let you do hundreds of things over the Web was being given away. You’ve recognized the advent of the Open Source community—a group of hyper-intelligent and hyper-linked hippies who challenged everything we knew about patents and the rewards of innovation. They didn’t WANT to be rewarded, at least not at first.

Read the article.

The Sim-Ship Standard: Meeting the growing expectation of simultaneous shipment with XML
Su-Laine Yeo, JustSystems, Inc.

In the global economy, “sim-ship”—simultaneously shipping in multiple languages—is becoming the new normal. Companies are expected to deliver their messages to a global audience, in a wide variety of languages, at the same time. The audience may be customers, partners, employees, industry watchers, and others who, together, could speak 20 or more different languages. Regardless, simultaneous shipping is expected for even rapidly- and frequently-updated messages and content. XML is the most efficient way for companies to meet that expectation.

Read the article.

Pulling DITA Out of Your HAT
Neil Perlin, Hyper/Word Services

In October 2008, MadCap Software announced that Flare 5, which would appear in 2009, would add support for DITA. Soon after, Adobe announced that the upcoming RoboHelp 8 would also support DITA. The DITA features in these two tools, two well-known HATs, or help authoring tools, so far pale next to those in “real” DITA authoring tools. However, in my opinion, these features represent a big strategic shift in the DITA space. That shift is the subject of this article/opinion piece.

Read the article.

Pre-conference Book Sale!
Introduction to DITA: A Guide to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture—Arbortext Edition is now 30% offuntil April 30, 2010. The Arbortext Edition picks up where the original edition of Introduction to DITA leaves off. As DITA becomes further entrenched as an ever more popular XML solution to topic-based authoring, a number of XML editors are available to assist content creators. This user guide is designed to provide its readers with a task-oriented approach to learning the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA).
Buy your copy today!

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