DITA Collaboration for Content

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Information about DITA Collaboration for Content

Published on June 28, 2011

Author: donrday



Companies often have a problem in capturing the experience of their technical or field personnel if the that person falls back to using email or a favorite word processor on a whim to record their knowledge.

Particularly in the support arena, special tools have been devised to try to capture and correlate the knowledge that is often created in the course of handling support calls. Lately, and across wider domains of knowledge or disciplines, wikis have been used with varying success for capturing at least some of that otherwise misplaced knowledge. But even on a centralized resource like a wiki, there is still the problem of how to retrieve and reuse that content as a more strategically-tagged corporate asset.

The DITA Content Collaboration project seeks to make DITA authoring commonplace for scenarios in which content creators can benefit from the structuring disciplines of this tool.

This presentation demonstrates a structured approach to collaborative writing that benefits the preservation and curation of valued, yet too-often marginalized content of knowledge workers in an organization or company.

DITA Collaboration for Content By Don R. Day 1/17/2011 1

DITA Collaboration for Content Abstract: Subject matter experts in your company create many types of valuable content; the problem is in converting that content into reuseable business assets. You can turn Lost Content into Intelligent Content using structured collaboration. 1/17/2011 2

The Knowledge Conundrum: "Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?"--T.S. Eliot End of 2010: 205.8 million registered domains 50 to 120 billion indexed pages * * 1/17/2011 3

What is Knowledge Management? "Information economy" goals: Gathering and processing data competitively Applying information for economic advantage "Knowledge economy" goals: Tacit knowledge (intuitive, mentored) vs Explicit knowledge (documented) Connecting people to enhance knowledge pooling Treating knowledge as a business product (such as consulting) 1/17/2011 4

Types of knowledge assets: Customer knowledge CRM systems--often "who knows who" networking Competitor knowledge Market strategy Product knowledge How your product works, how well your product is described to customers (fail searches or failed "drag" opportunities) Process knowledge Practices, trends, experience Financial knowledge Operations and resource management People knowledge Identifying skills and expertise, making connections 1/17/2011 5

Knowledge is easily lost: Turnover Hard-to-use tools impede the writing process Obscure or non-standard formats Not up-to-date Not well described or indexed Not team reviewed and approved Context may be missing for understanding the data 1/17/2011 6

Pain Points informal survey on LinkedIn: Inadequate time for writers to curate their own work, ensuring good use of semantics, grammar, markup usage, etc.. Quantity is rewarded more than quality. Plethora of tools and formats with no organizing methodology Inadequate CMS integration around semantics that ARE available in disparate data sets Inadequate awareness of how to use semantics effectively (ie, keyword tagging and appropriate markup selection. Inadequate social support (coaching dynamics, assistive interfaces, training and docs) 1/17/2011 7

Managing content in a collaboration space What is a typical content lifecycle? Preparation (analysis and design) Initial document creation Feedback and modification (test) Approval (publication/build implementation) Subsequent updates and modification (support, enhancements) 1/17/2011 8

Managing content, cont. Content curation is a new term. What is it? Selection & Organization What is significant? What needs explanation and synthesis? What needs corrected? Authentication (review and agreement on quality) Indexing/tagging and enriching semantically 1/17/2011 9

Managing content, cont. Options for turning original/curated content into reusable resources: Rule-driven, heuristic tools (for example, using LegalZoom to create online wills, other DIY advice) Specialist-vetted FAQs and How-To topics Commercial eBooks (which typically lack synthesis or correction in their curation) Misconception: We'll let engineers write the end user docs for us on a wiki! 1/17/2011 10

The collage vs the painting mashupsvsaggregation with interpretation 1/17/2011 11

NASA example of curation Providing context and interpretation for SME-contributed content: 1/17/2011 12

Managing content, cont. Proposed solution: Intercept as many streams as possible as DITA Content is directly useable in DITA-aware processing. Content can be enhanced (made "intelligent") by adding: Linking relationships Metadata Semantic markup (coaching, review/edit, etc.) 1/17/2011 13

How does DITA fit into KM strategies? Ann Rockley defines Intelligent Content as: “content which is structurally rich and semantically aware, therefore automatically discoverable, reusable, reconfigurable, and adaptable.” Collaboration is a product of writers, consumers, and mediators working together on a body of knowledge Collaborative discourse tends to provide context for knowledge. Topics are Good! XML technologies help by: Enabling content interchange with organizations across the company Enabling content interchange with partners, contractors, OEMs Enabling dialog between companies and customers Facilitating process definition and execution within the company DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture) is an XML application designed to provide many of these benefits. 1/17/2011 14

What can you capture? Ideas (one to many, blogs) How-to contributions (eliciting deep product knowledge and best practices) Examples (programs, recipes, crafts, etc.) "Tags" for retrieval--user perception of what things or ideas are called (ontology, folksonomy) Comments -- conventional "user generated content" Annotations directly to content locations (effectively becoming footnotes rather than comments) Literate programming: "The sea is in the bottle; the bottle is in the sea." Conversations (IM sessions, email quotes) Goodies to share (links, colleague profiles, comments from books and classes) Field observations (debriefings, solutions) Research (abstracts and links to published materials) Announcements (presentations, patents, awards) 1/17/2011 15

Getting content into DITA Integrate DITA conversion or direct DITA authoring into collaborative interfaces: Wikis & blogs Forums Twitter feeds "Data mining" for potentially useful content in files, call center logs, chat logs, etc.. Use familiar desktop tools that are DITA-aware (Quark Xpress Author, Author-It, FrameMaker) 1/17/2011 16

Fostering contribution Empower and encourage atmosphere of sharing Reward/acknowledge mastery of markup goals Provide wizards and other assistance for inserting metadata and markup Devise "shell" templates to guide general flow of well-structured topics Look to ease policies that impede spontaneous participation Create and support communities around knowledge domains Internal workgroups or meetups Local DITA user groups Worldwide DITA resources and forums Training and reading resources Make it easier to reuse knowledge (dita maps and conrefs) 1/17/2011 17

Content Makeover using DITA collaboration Traditional setup: Wiki for collaboration, but cut/paste into Word for publications No capture strategy for Twitter or other social media conversations No coordinated tracking of user comments 1/17/2011 18

Makeover, cont. Workflows of the prototype expeDITA collaboration tool Configurable modes: Wiki: multiple authors Project documents (home page, news, schedules, specs) End user documents (FAQs, How Tos) Blog: single author contributors Forum: conversational mode Published Web site mode Proposed: chat and Twitter aggregation into curated topics 1/17/2011 19

Makeover, cont. Configurable layouts: Branding for the company look and feel Three-column blog Two-column wiki One-column reading/print mode 1/17/2011 20

Demo 1/17/2011 21

Challenges Collaboration should stimulate new ideas, solve problems, enhance teamwork, and distribute expertise. * Get the right messages in place: Social Media and collaborative tools are elective, not mandated. Users must be drawn by value. Collaboration tools do not replace e-mail or bulletin boards--use the appropriate tool! Be wary about how data modeling can limit you: top-down analysis tends to formalize Business Today bottom-up allows in-the-trenches input on trends in motion *Why Some People ‘Dread’ Collaboration, InfoWeek-Sept 6 2010 p40 1/17/2011 22

Resources DITA Focus Area, Semantic Computing at AIST, by HasidaKoti, The Evolution of Web-Based Collaboration at NASA & The Wiki-way Forward, Collage image provided by, a wiki building the world's largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit these articles and find author credits at the original wikiHow articles on and Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License. expeDITAContent Collaboration project, 1/17/2011 23

Questions and Discussion 1/17/2011 24

Backup: Buy-in tips from NASA 1/17/2011 25

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