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Posted: March 3

JoAnn Hackos

Dr JoAnn Hackos is:
  • Co-author of the new ISO standard for Content Management (to be published this year).
  • Co-Chair, DITA Technical Communication Subcommittee (for the last four years).
  • Chair, OASIS DITA Adoption Technical Committee (for the last 11 years).
  • Past President of the US Society for Technical Communication.
  • Executive Director, The Center for Information-Development Management (for the last 16 years) - and hosting the Content Management Strategies / DITA North America conference in Seattle this year.

She is the person who single-handedly changed the shape of Technical Communication in Australia in 1994 and 1995. She is coming to Australia in February/ March to share her expertise in 2 not-to-be-missed workshops - Managing your Content and Minimalism.

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Posted: 3 Sep 2012

Formatting PDFs

What's wrong with my PDF?

When it comes to interactive PDF forms, technology has not delivered all it has promised. Despite so much technology being available, why isn't the world alive with interactive PDFs and why doesn't the PDF you just created work as expected?

Presenter Liz Griffiths has the answer.

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Posted: 3 Sep 2012

Tony Self Presentation

Standardise to survive

How are documents produced in your organisation? Do different writers create parts of documents? Do they use word processors and page layout software to create chapters, pages and images? Dr Tony Self likens this careful and time-consuming crafting to the original coach building approach manufacturing cars.

Is there an alternative? Of course! There are quality, standardised documents, consistent in look and feel (reflecting the corporate branding and style), that are easy to update and translate, that make repeated use of common information and can easily be produced as online help, printed manuals, PDFs, training workbooks, quick guides etc, and at a quarter of the cost.

Dr Self spoke at the August meeting of the North Sydney Communicators Network where he challenged technical communicators to take a new view of their industry. Just as the automotive industry innovated to survive (the assembly line or standardisation), pricing pressure and technological developments are pushing alternative models for documentation development.

Dr Self applied a semi-automated, assembly line approach to creating documents, using DITA and XML standards. These offer structured authoring, information interchange, outsourcing, specialisation of labour and simple re-useable components to reduce costs and increase quality. Accepting the discipline of standardisation, he argued, can be comfortably achieved by an investment in equipment and skilled technical communicators.

Read the full article or get Dr Self's book The DITA Style Guide, available through Amazon.


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Posted: 1 Jul 2011

Social Networking Privacy

Social Networking sites such as Facebook or Linked are a great way of keeping in touch with friends and colleagues. It's easy to operate on these sites in the belief that your work life is separate from your private life. However it's worth remembering that prospective employers can access such sites when reviewing resumes. Privacy settings are helpful, but the larger your group of 'friends' the more difficult it is to control the use of images and information. So, assume that an employer will check the web for information about you, and consider how that might be received.

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