Information Management News
April 2012

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.

CIDM News and Events

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




Other Events


The CMS/DITA North America Conference 2012 will be held April 23-25 in La Jolla, California. For more information click here.

The Best Practices Conference 2012 will be held September 10-12 in Monterey, California. For more information click here.

Upcoming Workshops

Developing Quality Documentation in an Agile Environment
September 18-19, 2012
Research Triangle Park, NC

This workshop focuses on the Scrum Agile methodology and how documentation departments can adjust to this high-speed development environment.

Upcoming Webinars

Collaboration Across Cultures, Time Zones and Business Practices

Anjana Rajan, Hitachi Data Systems
April 12, 2012, 1pm EDT

Introduction to Acrolinx

Presented by Acrolinx
April 24, 2012, 11am EDT

Ask the Experts Part 1: Assessing the Convertability of Your Content

Joe Gollner, Gnostyx Research, Val Swisher, Content Rules, & Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler
May 2, 2012, 1pm EDT

Click here for recorded webinars.


Astoria Software Enables Enterprise-Level Integration for oXygen Editor

DocZone Book Publisher Announces Silver Sponsorship at the 2012 London Book Fair

LexisNexis Pacific Selects RSuite CMS as Foundation for Strategic Content Management Initiative

Simply XML Announces Content Mapper 5.3 with New Features for Enhanced Productivity and Teamwork

Really Strategies Changes Name to RSI Content Solutions

Influencing the Bottom Line: Using Information Architecture to Effect Business Success

The Adobe Tech Comm team is excited to bring to you and your professional community, the first Facebook contest for the TechComm industry—GRAPHiti

Bluestream releases XDocs v3.1 bringing suite of powerful DITA-enabled doc solutions to Mac users

Click here for more announcements.

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

bestpractices The Center for Information-Development Management unites the info dev community to share information on industry trends, best practices, and developments. Click here to follow CIDM on Twitter.Click here to follow JoAnn Hackos on Twitter.

Join CIDM’s LinkedIn Group Today!

CIDM’s LinkedIn Group is growing exponentially! Join over 1,000 members today to take part in informative discussions about our industry.

On sale for a limited time …
Introduction to DITA—Second Edition

This new 2011 edition of the bestselling Introduction to DITAincludes DITA 1.2 mechanisms, including keyref, conkeyref, constraint mechanism, and more information to bring DITA users up to date. The tutorial lessons guide you step-by-step through the learning process from developing information topics and maps through content reuse mechanisms and modifying the DITA environment to better meet your needs.

Order your copy for only $35 USD!

Communicating with the Executive Team
JoAnn Hackos, Comtech Services, Inc.

It’s rare for many information-development managers to have an opportunity to argue their business case for better content management directly with the executive team. Often, it’s an intermediary, a champion of the cause, who intervenes and communicates the problem and the solution. When Comtech began our work with ITT Fluid Technology, nearly six years ago, we found such a champion. At the Content Management Strategies/DITA North America conference in La Jolla, CA on Monday, April 23, Bjorn von Euler, our executive champion will join me and Vikram Nanwani, the manager of the Xylem (formerly ITT) information-development team to discuss the tactics of executive-level communication.

Read the article.

Criteria for Adopting a CMS
Suzanne Mescan, Vasont Systems
Reprinted with permission from Vasont Systems

How do you know if a CMS is right for your organization? Many people struggle to find the answer to this question. Often, these are the questions we hear: Is my content base too small to make it worthwhile? Is the cost of a CMS too expensive for my organization? Is my staff too small to benefit from a CMS? What is the breakeven point for adopting a CMS?

Read the article.

Lessons Learned: Achieving content flexibility through granular specialization
Edwina Lui, Kaplan Publishing

As Information Architect for Kaplan Publishing, I have led two separate efforts to specialize a DITA-based content model for Kaplan test preparation content. Attempts to use the first iteration of our customized model surfaced requirements and challenges we hadn’t considered in our initial specialization effort and led us down a second specialization path (in November 2011) of both more granular specialization and greater flexibility—a combination that seemed at first to be paradoxical.

Read the article.

Book Review: Too Big to Know, by David Weinberger
Mark Baker, Analecta Communications Inc.

Like many people in the profession, I have a list of books I think every technical communicator should read. The funny thing about my list is that none of the books is about technical communication.

Read the article.

Lisa Larson appointed new Editor of the Information ManagementeNewsletter

We are delighted to have Lisa Larson as our new Information Management eNewsletter editor. She continues to be our Best Practices print newsletter editor. Lisa has been working for Comtech since 2004. She started with us in Denver and moved back to Minnesota in 2006 to be closer to her family. She has continued working for us on a part time basis. You can reach Lisa at

April 2012 Best Practices Newsletter
Table of Contents



Measuring the Immeasurable—Documentation Quality

Volker Oemisch, Alcatel-Lucent

Pain Points and Innovations: Getting ready for Best Practices 2012

JoAnn Hackos, CIDM

I Can Show You Better Than I Can Tell You: Considering the video dimension of user assistance

Mirhonda Studevant, ClickSquared

Efficiency in Technical Information Development

Brian Gajadhar, Tedopres International

Social Media and Customer Connection

Julie MacAller, Microsoft Corporation

From Symptoms to Solutions Using Survey Data Analysis

Chona Shumate, Cymer, Inc.

If you are not a CIDM member, you can subscribe to the Best Practices newsletter online. A subscription is $99 per year. For subscribers outside the US, the cost is $129. An electronic version of the Best Practices newsletter is $99 USD.

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

Welcome New CIDM Member—MathWorks

MathWorks is the leading developer of mathematical computing software for engineers and scientists. Founded in 1984, MathWorks employs 2200 people in 15 countries, with headquarters in Natick, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Learn more about CIDM (Center for Information-Development Management) here.

Managing, Reusing, and Repurposing Content
Effectively managing, reusing, and repurposing content promises a lot: Create deliverables quickly, synchronize content changes automatically, customize courses easily, output to multiple formats, lower translation costs, and more. In this two-day, 10-session eLearning Guild Online Forum featuring a presentation from JoAnn Hackos and Dawn Stevens on Collaboration Strategies for Training and Tech Pubs, you’ll learn about best practices for developing, implementing, and using a content management strategy, and for determining if content management, reuse, and repurposing is right for you, your organization, and your learners. Register now.

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