Information Management News
October 2011

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 Content Management Strategies/DITA Europe Conference 2011 will be held November 7-8 in Prague, Czech Republic. For more information click here.

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

Upcoming Workshops

DITA: Getting Started
October 18-19, 2011
Cupertino, CA

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.

Minimalism: Creating Information People Really Need
October 18-19, 2011
McLean, VA

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 Boot Camp
October 24-28, 2011
Waltham, MA

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.

Minimalism: Creating Information People Really Need
October 25-26, 2011
St. Leon-Rot, Germany

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.

Advanced DITA Training Including DITA 1.2
November 9-10, 2011
Prague, Czech Republic

The Advanced 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
November 9-10, 2011
Prague, Czech Republic

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

Tips and Techniques for Developing EDDs in Adobe FrameMaker

Tom Aldous, Adobe Systems Incorporated & Lynne A. Price, Text Structure Consulting, Inc.
October 11, 2011, 2pm EDT

What’s Next for DITA and Tech Docs: An Introduction to the Product Content Maturity Model

Andrew Thomas, SDL Structured Content Technologies Division
October 13, 2011, 1pm EDT

Leveraging RoboHelp Server 9: How to enhance, manage, track and optimize your Online Help Systems and Knowledgebases

Tom Aldous, Adobe Systems Incorporated
October 25, 2011, 1pm EDT

Click here for recorded webinars.


SDL Recognized by KMWorld for Product Excellence and Innovation

The Optical Society Selects Data Conversion Laboratory For Major Publishing Project

Introducing an Informal Monthly Online Community Gathering: Ask the Adobe Technical Communication team

Quark Announces Pubs-XML Accelerator Version 4

PTC Recognized as 2011 Microsoft Project and Portfolio Management Partner of The Year

DS SolidWorks Corp. deploys IXIASOFT’s DITA CMS Solution to Support its Global Documentation Strategy

Click here for more announcements.

Now for Sale:
Introduction to DITA—Second Edition

This new 2011 edition of the bestselling Introduction to DITA includes 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 today!

Understanding the Translation Interoperability Challenge
JoAnn Hackos, Comtech Services, Inc.

Warsaw, Poland was the site of the 2011 Translation Management Europe conference. As the second keynote speaker, I presented the business case that many companies use to move to the OASIS DITA standard. Because many business cases are based on the promised reduction of translation costs, the delegates to the conference, mainly representatives from localization service providers (LSPs), were interested in learning more.

Read the article.

October 2011 Best Practices Newsletter
Table of Contents



Mobile Documentation: Usability guidelines for user assistance on tablets and smartphones

Marta Rauch, Oracle Corporation

Measuring the Intangibles: A measurement extravaganza at Best Practices 2011

JoAnn Hackos, CIDM

Delivering Multi-Modal Training

Ben Colborn & Patrick Quinlan, Citrix Systems, Inc.

Linking in Reusable Content with Soft Linking

Mark Baker, Analecta Communications Inc.

Top 10 Considerations When Selecting a Medical Device Translation Supplier

Marc Miller, Crimson Life Sciences

Adding Twisties to Help Generated by DITA-OT

Bill Marcotte, Radialpoint

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.**

CIDM Best Practices Conference Measures Up
Donna Marcotte, Consultant

The theme of the 13th annual CIDM Best Practices Conference was all about measurement: why it’s important, what to measure, how to do it, and what the results may be telling you. The record attendance of 194 was a good key performance indicator (KPI) that many information development (ID) managers and professionals found the topic to be quite valuable to their organizations.

Read the article

Constraining DITA
Balancing the Needs of Your Authors with the Expectations of Your Readers

Dawn Stevens, Comtech Services, Inc.

The DITA architecture strives to accommodate the requirements of many different information-development communities spanning a wide variety of content domains. With each update, as DITA strives to accommodate even more communities, it frequently comes under fire as being too complex, allowing an unwieldy plethora of information types, elements, and attributes that are typically more than any one organization requires or than authors are prepared to handle.

Read the article.

Thirteen Fundamental Truths
H. James Harrington, Harrington Institute Inc.
Reprinted with permission from

Back in 1986 I documented a list of 13 fundamental truths that applied to all organizations. I ran across these statements recently when I was looking for some comments made by a past IBM president that I wanted to use in a new book I am writing. As I thought back over the past 25 years, I realized that as quality professionals, we have spearheaded a lot of new approaches: total quality management (TQM), ISO 9001, ISO 14000, lean, Six Sigma, business process improvement, process reengineering, knowledge management, organizational change management, theory of constraints, and many more. But to my surprise, there has still been no change in the fundamental truths I wrote about 25 years ago. Even the latest trend, innovation, was incorporated in the fifth truth.

Read the article.

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

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