Information Management News
December 2012

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

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




Other Events


The CMS/DITA North America Conference 2013 will be held April 15-17 in Providence, Rhode Island. For more information click here.

The Best Practices Conference 2013 will be held September 16-18 in Savannah, Georgia. For more information click here.

Upcoming Workshops

Advanced Publishing for DITA
December 4-6, 2012
Universal City (San Antonio), TX

The Advanced Publishing for DITA workshop will provide attendees with a hands-on walk-through of the essential DITA fundamentals, programming skills, and DITA Open Toolkit configurations required to assemble, style, and publish DITA XML source.

Minimalism: Creating Information People Really Need
December 5-6, 2012
Lanham, MD

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.

DITA Getting Started
December 10-11, 2012
Wakefield, MA

The DITA: Getting Started workshop delivers a comprehensive introduction to the DITA 1.2 standard, providing participants with an in-depth look at the end-to-end DITA information development environment.

Information Modeling for Topic-Based Authoring
December 12-13, 2012
Lanham, MD

This workshop is the very best starting point for your implementation of DITA and XML topic-based authoring.

Advanced Publishing for DITA
December 12-14, 2012
Wakefield, MA

The Advanced Publishing for DITA workshop will provide attendees with a hands-on walk-through of the essential DITA fundamentals, programming skills, and DITA Open Toolkit configurations required to assemble, style, and publish DITA XML source.

Developing Quality Documentation in an Agile Environment
February 6-7, 2013
Broenshoej, Denmark

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

Upcoming Webinars

The $400 Million Dollar Prize—Reducing Content Costs and Improving Quality in Regulated Industries

Presented by JoAnn Hackos, Comtech Services, Inc. & Marc Miller, Crimson Life Sciences
November 29, 2012 at 12pm EST

Ask Us About: The Value of a Structured Content Strategy

Presented by Data Conversion Laboratory & Vasont Systems
December 5, 2012, 1pm EST

Reality Check: The Truth from the Publishers’ Perspective

Presented by Data Conversion Laboratory & RSI Content Solutions
December 6, 2012, 1pm EST

Click here for recorded webinars.


See JoAnn Hackos’s comments in the interviews for “Planning, prep work for ECM tool rollout puts an end to content chaos”

FedCSIS—Call for Events

Syncro Soft Announces New Release of Oxygen XML Editor version 14.1

Acrolinx 2.10 Enhances Terminology, Supports oXygen XML Editor, Expands User Authentication Options

Click here for more announcements.

CMS/DITA NA Call for Speakers
The Center for Information-Development Management and Dr. JoAnn Hackos announce a call for participation in the upcoming CMS/DITA North America Conference to take place April 15-17, 2013, in Providence, Rhode Island. If you are interested in presenting at the conference, please complete the form and submit to Lisa Lambert before December 5, 2012.

Minimalism Updated 2012
JoAnn Hackos, Comtech Services, Inc.

The Minimalism Agenda for technical information and training was first developed in the late 1970s. John Carroll and colleagues at IBM Watson Research Center were asked to find more effective ways to help customers learn to use new desktop publishing software. Through direct observations and usability testing of new software users, they discovered what became the four principles of minimalism.

Four Principles of Minimalism

  • Principle One—Focus on an action-oriented approach
  • Principle Two—Ensure you understand the users’ world
  • Principle Three—Recognize the importance of troubleshooting information
  • Principle Four—Ensure that users can find the information they need

Read the article.

Is Your ‘Teamwork’ Hindering Progress?
Linda Morone, Data Conversion Laboratory, Inc.

According to Wikipedia, the definition of ‘teamwork’ is “work done by several associates with each doing a part but all subordinating personal prominence to the efficiency of the whole.” In an ideal world, this definition would hold true. Unfortunately, most of us don’t live and work in an ideal world, nor does teamwork exist in its truest sense. Most organizations today are functioning on lean budgets and with even leaner staff. Efficiency is often thrown by the wayside in order to handle the everyday tasks at hand and what is masking as ‘teamwork’ is actually hindering progress. Sound familiar?

Read the article.

What Information Would You Need from Your Managers and Staff Members in Order to Run this Business?
Palmer Pearson, Independent Consultant

I require many attributes and talents from my management staff. Remaining current with content management systems (CMS), topic-based authoring, re-use, information portfolio management, and other tools (DITA, XML, and so on.) is imperative. As with any organization, I need them to keep me informed of any potential issue before it happens. I expect all of them to be respected internally and externally for their knowledge and their ability to solve problems. That means they must be wired into the major stakeholders. Credibility, as seen by our customers, also determines how open a relationship clients will have with us, and if they trust us. I need managers to be subject matter experts.

Read the article.

Wrangling Localization in a New Structured Environment
Jean-Luc Mazet, Hewlett-Packard Company

Herding cats … this image comes to mind when you mix multiple language versions of your deliverables with content management, technical writing, customer training, technical support, and other areas that are impacted once you decide to go global. Now, if you are a lucky company able to plan in advance around your global audience and not just your original market, then you are safe—or are you? You may think you have thought of everything to internationalize your offerings, modularize your content, leverage your translation assets, and build overarching stories in your sprints for localization preparedness.

Read the article.

December 2012 Best Practices Newsletter
Table of Contents



Automating XML Checks: A Metric-Driven Approach to Quality Improvement

Amanda Galtman, The MathWorks, Inc.

Information Development Productivity Trends or, How Can Social Technologies Buy Back Writing Time?

JoAnn Hackos, CIDM

Using Semantic Mark-up Languages with XML to Aid Search

Bradley Shoebottom, Innovatia, Inc.

The Challenges of OEM Documentation

Su-Laine Brodsky, JustSystems, Inc.

If you are not a CIDM member, you can subscribe to the Best Practices newsletter online. An electronic version of the Best Practices newsletter is $99 USD. An electronic and print version is $129 USD.

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

CIDM Member Highlight—Alcatel-Lucent

The long-trusted partner of service providers, enterprises, strategic industries and governments around the world, Alcatel-Lucent is a leader in mobile, fixed, IP and Optics technologies, and a pioneer in applications and services. Alcatel-Lucent includes Bell Labs, one of the world’s foremost centres of research and innovation in communications technology.

With operations in more than 130 countries and one of the most experienced global services organizations in the industry, Alcatel-Lucent is a local partner with global reach.

The Company achieved revenues of Euro 15.3 billion in 2011 and is incorporated in France and headquartered in Paris.

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

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

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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.