Presentation Abstracts

Keynote—Effectively Communicate Content Through Comics

Scott McCloud

More than any other popular art form, comics are sensitive to the formats, platforms, and devices that connect them to readers. How can this unique medium communicate content effectively when all assumptions about its form are up for grabs? And how can comics techniques inform other types of visual communication on the Web? Author and comics artist Scott McCloud puts a blizzard of new trends into perspective in a fast-moving visual presentation.

Adapting to Change through an Initiatives Program

Marta Rauch Oracle Corporation

Effective teams continually adapt processes to maintain a competitive advantage in today’s global marketplace.

Meet the challenge of shorter development cycles, reduced time to market, and tighter budgets while increasing customer satisfaction through strategies for implementing:

  • XML for efficient delivery of documentation in new formats such as iPad and Kindle
  • Word-reduction to cut translation costs
  • Customer partnering, forums, and social media to ensure customer satisfaction

Through proven best practices, learn how to implement an initiatives program in your own company that provides:

  • Effective ways to meet project management challenges of scope, cost, schedule, and quality
  • Continuous improvement to processes, products, and skill sets
  • Tools to reduce costs, increase revenue, and improve customer satisfaction

Agile Changes Everything: How we changed our process, tools, and team to automate for Agile

Mary Connor Advanced Solutions International
Nicoletta Bleiel ComponentOne

Why reinvent our documentation process? Agile made us!

People reasons: Our cross-functional Agile approach requires that all SCRUM staff can make documentation updates. Moreover, our doc team lost members—and those positions.

Technical reasons: We needed a CMS that integrates with Visual Studio, permits Continuous Integration of builds, and automates creation of our new API documentation.

Although Author-it could extend cross-enterprise, licensing costs and our complex authoring structures were huge barriers. Long-time users of Drupal, we considered a wiki, but none met our needs and budget.

Doc-To-Help migration met these needs and more, treating documentation like code by integrating its development into our Agile systems. It also supports single-sourcing between new embedded Help and comprehensive outputs of automated builds.

American Red Cross Documentum CMS Experiences

Lori Moore American Red Cross
Bill Barton American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is a $1.4 billion FDA regulated not for profit organization that manufactures blood and blood products. This presentation provides an overview of approach and challenges used for upgrading a customized EMC2 Documentum content management system to an out of the box system solution that includes Document Compliance Manager. The presentation gives an overview of American Red Cross and its unique content management system needs as well as the rigor required when meeting compliance requirements in a regulated industry, including testing and analysis. Discussion will include existing system design issues, challenges with customizations, business case rationale and benefits for upgrading, design and implementation challenges, lean analysis process improvements, system design challenges, project design, overview, planning and flow.

An Introduction to On-Demand Web-Based Publishing

Russell Ward Spirent Communications

On-demand, web-based publishing has many potential applications in the technical communications field, especially when dynamic customization of rendered content is necessary and/or real-time updates from a continuously-changing source are required. Using real examples with commonly-available web server technologies such as Java Server Pages (JSP) and Microsoft Active Server Pages (ASP), this session will cater to the do-it-yourselfer who is curious about escaping the shackles of static published content. We will include considerations for content reuse, as well as multi-channel publishing. We will conclude with a real-world case study of one such homegrown system that has ultimately saved one company millions of dollars through increases in efficiency.

Are You Ready for the New Information Revolution? New Frontiers for Multilingual Web Analytics, SEO and Community Sentiment Analysis

Andrew Bredenkamp acrolinx

This talk will present some new ideas which are going to revolutionize information development in the 21st Century. Companies are moving quickly away from traditional documentation strategies towards an approach based on three main principles: customer focus, customer engagement and customer involvement. User focus means stronger attention to the real and changing interests of customers: working out what they are interested in, happy or unhappy about, and making sure all possible efforts work towards the customers own goals. Customer engagement means really listening to the customer: not imagining personas, but understanding the voice of the customer and making sure your customers are happy to be your customers. Lastly companies are realizing that the customers themselves are an incredibly valuable resource: all successful companies are already leveraging user-generated content to help improve the customer experience.

But this brave new world brings with it its own challenges: how do you assure branding if you don't create the content? How can you connect (and connect with) global customer communities across the language barrier and how you can make your professionally created content work in harmony with what the user community generates.

We will address what technology can do to help bring some transparency and strategic control to this brave new world of customer communication.

Beyond Google Translate: The future for machine translation

Uwe Muegge CSOFT International Ltd.

Interest in machine translation has exploded in the past few years, and Google Translate has come to dominate the machine translation tools and services industry, monopolizing the attention of both the media and industry watchers. This phenomenon is often attributed to Google not only providing automatic translations for free, but also giving software engineers free access to the coding to integrate Google Translate into their products. As a result, Google Translate is now almost synonymous with machine translation in most users’ minds.

This presentation will examine some of the drawbacks of using free machine translation services, focusing on users’ complete lack of control over the translation output, often caused by the generic or unhelpful data used to train public systems; and offer solutions for driving higher quality in machine translation, including using rule-based systems, and ensuring that engines are only fed domain-accurate data. I will also consider best practices for integrating machine translation into the localization workflow.

Building a Culture of Collaboration for Cross-Enterprise Business Ventures

Patricia Burrows EMC Corporation
Helen Cavender Cisco Systems, Inc.

As high-tech companies forge new partnerships to support technical solutions such as cloud computing and borderless networks, enterprise organizations must evolve new collaboration strategies to bring these opportunities to fruition. In our experience, cross-enterprise strategic ventures gain a lot of momentum at the executive, marketing and sales levels, but often run into problems at the business operations and technical levels. One of these key areas pertains to how we manage the information and technical documentation requirements to support cross-enterprise business solutions.

EMC and Cisco share more than just technical data-storage and networking solutions. We are also developing a cross-enterprise culture of collaboration focused on the technical documentation and information required to support our joint efforts and our customers. We see this collaboration as a critical cultural foundation for cross-enterprise partnership and business growth. In addition to building a strong understanding of the business strategy and technical interlocks, ICs are growing their knowledge of best practices for content management tools implementation, information architecture and closer customer engagement. We're also having a great deal of fun in the process!

Building the Business Case for Structured Authoring

Alaina Eldredge Lionbridge

As structured authoring has matured and associated technologies have become more robust, the concern that content development VPs and directors have most often is how they can best build a business case for implementation.

The session’s first objective will be to review and understand the discovery, analysis, and implementation phases. Then we’ll review actual case studies and scenarios to illustrate how leaders can:

  • Determine whether structured authoring is right for a particular situation or department
  • Recognize and navigate around common pitfalls of migrating to structured authoring
  • Identify how to equip team members for success as their roles and responsibilities evolve

Code Reviews: How to use markup reviews to improve your DITA documentation!

Jenifer Schlotfeldt IBM Corporation
Michelle Carey IBM Corporation

Whether you have recently converted content to DITA or have been developing DITA topics for years, code reviews are an essential part of the quality process in your organization. Code reviews help to ensure the quality and consistency of the DITA markup, linking, and topic structures, all of which translate to improved customer satisfaction, agility for adopting new features, and savings at your company. In this presentation, we share with you the code review process that will help you find and fix those abused, misused, and unused DITA elements. This process should be a critical part of delivering high-quality information.

Creating a Socialgraphic Profile of Information Users

Alexia Idoura Symantec Corporation

In a CMS world, cooperation and information sharing is essential. We were faced with the organizational challenge of functions operating as silos and decided to address that using social media/enterprise 2.0. As the first part of our strategy, we needed to create socialgraphic profiles to understand the requirements. This presentation focuses on the methodology and results that came out of our work.

Defining the Interfaces for the New Technical Publishing Systems

Tom Goering FICO

New tools and technologies are converging with new user expectations that demand radical changes in how we develop and deliver technical content. Google, WIKIs, and social media have changed how users expect to consume, and more significantly contribute to, the information they are interested in, while dynamic publishing tools provide unprecedented options for receiving inputs and delivering outputs. However, Technical Publications content is usually segregated from other information, with workflows and processes to keep inappropriate content, and unauthorized contributors out of the system. Publishing systems that meet the expectations and integrate the tools must also accommodate these workflows and processes, and Technical Publications departments must participate in designing them. This presentation provides insights gleaned from projects underway at FICO.

Delivering Multi-Modal Training: A review of three projects

Patrick Quinlan Citrix Systems, Inc.

Citrix Education has adopted DITA and a CMS in order to create dynamic, multi-modal training. Today we are delivering classroom-based and high-fidelity online training built from a single source of content. In this session, we will demonstrate our final products, then review three recent DITA-based projects:

1. Replacing DTP with DITA
2. Write for online, use offline
3. Leveraging someone else’s DITA

We will then look forward at ways we can leverage our existing tools and infrastructure to deliver content in new ways, including:

  • ePub
  • Mobile learning
  • Custom training

We will conclude by discussing organization-wide content collaboration and management.

DITA Classification and Subject Scheme: Picking up where metadata leaves off

Joe Gelb Suite Solutions

Metadata is used by many to categorize DITA content. But categorization is not enough. More and more, companies are developing taxonomies to enable easier access to information. As you consider dynamic publishing and web deployment to meet the evolving expectations of your content consumers and the Google generation, classifying the subject matter in your content set and the relationships between that subject matter becomes critical. Using a real use case, we will demonstrate how you can use the DITA 1.2 classification and subject scheme to create, apply and publish your taxonomy using the same architecture you use to develop, manage and publish your DITA content.

DITA and the New Future of Customer Experience

Howard Schwartz SDL Structured Content Technologies
Chip Gettinger SDL Structured Content Technologies

Changing expectations of content consumers are driving companies to reevaluate how they manage technical content. Today, customers find too much information which is often out-of-date, not tailored to their needs or language, and inconsistent with other information that they find.

As companies shift their focus to customer engagement, and the top and bottom line impact of customer experience, they are redefining the goals of content in the enterprise.

The adoption of DITA and the possibility of delivering targeted content interactively has opened up new strategic initiatives in corporations driving to new levels of customer engagement. This session discusses how DITA and interactive publishing are emerging as key new corporate initiatives and the steps companies are taking to get there.

DITA Compliant 3D Content: Get it, use it, publish it!

Dan Armour Joy Mining Machinery
Jack Miller Joy Mining Machinery

In this session, you’ll get a birds-eye view of how Joy Mining, the global leader in the development, manufacture, distribution and service of underground mining machinery has been utilizing 3D content in their Technical Documentation. The presentation will provide insight into the benefits and challenges they’ve been facing in providing 3D content outside their organization to customers and field service personnel. As part of this discussion, you’ll also get a glimpse into the company’s strategy for moving to the DITA Framework and moving toward a DITA compliant 3D platform.

DITA Enhanced Validation Techniques

George Bina Syncro Soft/oXygen XML Editor

For many XML Editors available on the market validation means only checking that an XML document structure follows the rules specified in a DTD. That is indeed one important aspect of validation but in the world of DITA authoring there are also other types of checks that could be implemented to dramatically enhance the quality of the DITA content and to enforce company specific rules. These validations also facilitate finding problems earlier in the work flow and by the same people that introduced the problems in the first place thus removing tedious and difficult correction cycles!

This presentation provides an overview and working examples of many enhanced validation techniques that can be used by DITA authors covering both topic and map-wide validation and integrity checking. We will discuss modern technologies such as Schematron, validation on filtered content, spelling and grammar checking, etc. and also show how oXygen XML Editor facilitates all of these use cases.

DITA: Handling the noise and finding content

Yan Périard IXIASOFT

Recently companies have started adopting DITA, converting legacy content and creating new content. To achieve the fabled reuse promise, they have structured their content into smaller and smaller pieces, which has led to new challenges that were not well understood initially. Single documents of hundred pages were easy to locate in a standard (well-organized) file system structure, or in a corporate intranet. Now with all of these smaller pieces it becomes harder to retrieve correct content to maximize reuse potential without having to navigate through the noise.

Solutions to this problem, ranging from content categorization using a (simple or not) directory structure to search engine and automatic categorization, will be discussed and their pros and cons described, to lead users in selecting the best approach for their situation.

DITA Made Easy: Smooth transition to DITA authoring using Adobe FrameMaker 10

Kapil Verma Adobe Systems Incorporated

Anxious about transitioning to DITA? Worried about the learning curve when making the switch?

In this session, Kapil Verma will go over how FrameMaker makes it easy to migrate to DITA authoring. He will also describe the enhanced DITA capabilities including DITA 1.2 support and DITA specialization, and other enhancements in the recently launched version, FrameMaker 10.

DITA Metrics 101-102

Mark Lewis Quark

This presentation takes a lessons learned, DITA-by-example approach to teaching you how to calculate the ROI of using DITA. You don't have to be a large company to be able to use this methodology. We'll look at a cost model that proves the savings possible using a well planned filtering and reuse strategy. You will learn how to customize this cost model to match your documentation so you can speak the financial language of managers and make the business case for moving to DITA. This presentation expands on the DITA 101 metrics covered in previous presentations and white papers to include translation metrics and structured authoring metrics. You should have a beginner level understanding of DITA to benefit from this presentation.

DITA Metrics in Production: How, when, where and why (and how much?)

Keith Schengili-Roberts Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.

Using metrics for DITA is a common topic when it comes to figuring out the Return on Investment numbers to justify buying a Content Management System, but what about when you already have the CMS and want to measure how productive your writing team is? AMD's Documentation & Localization Manager, Keith Schengili-Roberts has been using a DITA CMS for four years and will go over the types of metrics he uses to measure the productivity of his team. He will also look at how to measure re-use rates, the relative benefits of using segmentation numbers vs. topic counts, and looking at how to improve quality through metrics. This talk is aimed particularly at managers who are seeking additional tools for making effective decisions in deploying their DITA writing staff.

DITA or Bust: How we succeeded in spite of everything

Steve Straight TruePosition, Inc.

DITA implementations can take a year or more, and that's with a stable and enthusiastic writing team, time out from the normal delivery schedule to focus on the task at hand, and the support of MIS, R&D, QA, and other internal organizations. But what if you don't have any of that? Here's how a mid-sized software/hardware Tech Pubs group got DITA done against the odds.

DITA Specialization: Tools for visual support

Gunthilde Sohn instinctools GmbH
Alexej Spas instinctools GmbH

This presentation shows how visual support can help to handle the otherwise complicated activity of DITA specialization in a comfortable way. It will also discuss the benefits of having infrastructure support for DITA specialization in terms of model validation, import, export and integration with version control and documentation environment in place.

Documentation as Training

Dawn Stevens Comtech Services, Inc.

An obvious application for content reuse lies in sharing content between documentation and training teams. Unfortunately, such efforts frequently stall as writers and instructional designers focus on the differences between their respective products and development processes, rather than their common goal of supporting the customer. Efforts are further stymied by logistics such as dissimilar toolsets and organizational structures that keep the two groups in different divisions. Yet, similarities should, and do, abound. The window of opportunity to build collaboration between the two groups has opened a little wider with the advent of the DITA 1.2 specification that provides a common standard for both groups to use. This presentation suggests strategies for capitalizing on the new standard to provide more usable support to your customers while building an effective, collaborative work environment that capitalizes on the inherent strengths of each discipline at lower costs to the company.

Doing DITA in the Open Source CMS Drupal

Kristof Van Tomme Pronovix

Our goal is to build a DITA documentation package that we'll be able to deploy as the documentation infrastructure for the Drupal community and that makes it possible to do things like:

  • Federated documentation architecture: incorporate topics by reference from the central repository in your end-user documentation
  • Collaboration on feature/use case documentation
  • Automatic documentation generation based on a site's fingerprint
  • Building of DITA maps for specific contexts or people with a certain knowledge, through a mindmap interface that lets community members build and share their own mindmaps/ditamaps.

Farmer DITA’s Almanac (Spring Edition): Counting your chickens

Buddy Lee Jack Henry & Associates
Emily Saltsgaver Jack Henry & Associates

Share a stump with poultry pioneers Buddy Lee and Emily Saltsgaver as they present a light hearted look at how DITA and other new tools can impact your metrics. This interactive workshop will review basic metric techniques and proceed to more advanced measurements including program, process and personnel metrics for making you a more effective manager. Chapter topics will include separating chicken feed from chicken feathers, how to avoid stepping in cow patties, how to keep the fox out of the chicken house, how to use the rooster for the loudest cockle-doodle-doo, egg counting for maximizing production and selecting Sunday dinner. Perhaps you’ll even be able to determine what came first, the chicken or the egg?

Farmer DITA’s Almanac (Summer Edition): Windmills and weather vanes

Emily Saltsgaver Jack Henry & Associates
Buddy Lee Jack Henry & Associates

Hunker down with weather guessers Emily Saltsgaver and Buddy Lee for another pun filled clinic presenting advanced metrics. This small group workshop will build on basics learned during Farmer DITA’s Almanac (Spring Edition) by explaining how to utilize personnel, project and performance metrics for focus, fun and forecasting. Chapter topics will include using your hillbilly weather stone (provided during the workshop), divining rods for selecting your windmill site, reading a rain gauge or when the roof leaks-fix it, tornadoes can take you to magical places, how to fly a kite in a storm and not get shocked, if you don’t like the weather—wait 5 minutes, dancing in the rain is better than dodging hailstones, body pains for accurate forecasting, when you have a prize pig- you don’t make bacon. Hopefully you’ll leave with a peck of pickled project predictions.

Flexible DITA: Using DITA specializations with XMetaL

Su-Laine Yeo JustSystems

The DITA standard, and the XMetaL Author Enterprise authoring tool, are both designed with flexibility and extensibility in mind. XMetaL Author Enterprise is easily configured to work with custom extensions to the DITA language, known as "DITA specializations." In this session, we'll show how to configure XMetaL to work with a realistic example of a specialized DITA DTD, including how to configure XMetaL to display custom elements and how to customize XMetaL menus and toolbars for an optimal user experience.

Format Matters: How presentation affects understanding

Mike Rice Xerox Corporation
Chris Patterson Xerox Corporation

One of the strengths of DITA architecture is the separation of presentation from content. When focusing on the content model, it is easy to forget about how it looks to the end user.

Mike Rice, an information architect with Xerox Global Document Outsourcing, and Chris Patterson, an information developer with Creative and Technical Communications at Xerox, discuss factors affecting the usability of technical publications and how research, experience, and DITA structure influence format decisions.

Get a Grip! DITA Constraints

Jang Graat JANG Communication

The number of elements in DITA grows with every revision of the standard. This is a natural development and cannot be stopped. To prevent an inclining learning curve and counter the movement toward a complex authoring environment, constraints are the best possible method. Not only do they reduce learning curves, they also allow technical management to define their structured house style without requiring specialization work. This presentation explains the background of constraints and the mechanism itself, with working examples and an outlook to the support that authoring software will have to implement.

Getting to the Right Solution

David Marcus Xerox Corporation
Nenad Furtula Bluestream Database Software

Getting from perfect to practical. Identifying and implementing a CMS is about learning that practical is perfect. The Creative and Technical Communications (CTC) group at Xerox is responsible for developing Xerox’s customer and service documentation and decided to make the transition from unstructured FrameMaker to DITA. Learn about how they arrived at their decision to use Bluestream XDocs as a DITA Component Content Management System. This presentation will describe how an enterprise level company like Xerox has seen significant cost savings and describe how XDocs CMS fits within CTCs overall go-to-market strategy.

Grabbing the Spotlight: How being on the impact chain strengthened our business case and ROI Realized

Emily Mydlowski Hach Company
Jennifer Kotch Hach Company

Building a business case for a DITA implementation can be a delicate process for a Technical Publications Department. For many companies, end-user documentation just magically appears and not a lot of consideration goes into how that happened. In many other companies, end-user documentation continues to be on the impact chain and can be noted as a common “cause” for postponed product launches. When you layer on an initiative to launch products globally, the spotlight can be compounded. This presentation will show how Hach combined the unknown of how documentation is produced in conjunction with consistently being on the impact chain to sell our DITA Business Case and to showcase our ROI results a half-year earlier than anticipated.

How DITA Transformed Technical Content at Nikon Precision

Debra West-Maciaszek Nikon Precision

At Nikon Precision Inc (NPI), the Documentation department moved from monolithic, book-length technical materials (and ways of thinking) to using DITA and structured information for reuse because:

  • The Documentation department's authoring/production tools had reached their usable limit (unstructured FrameMaker)
  • Manual, redundant activities are not value-add
  • Field service engineers (FSEs) struggled to find and use appropriate information
  • Reuse and repurposing of information was common, but labor-intensive and time-consuming

In this session, see why our transition to DITA has sparked intense interest in Japan, at our sister subsidiaries, to get the Japanese source materials in XML for better reuse and collaboration and how what we've done is spreading to other parts of the enterprise such as our Translation department and our Technical Training department.

Improving Business Processes with DITA-based Collaboration

Paul Wlodarczyk easyDITA

With document-based content nearly doubling in volume annually, and in the face of increasingly strict regulatory requirements, it’s more important than ever for content creation and approval to be fast, accurate, and auditable. Many organizations are finding that their existing approach to creating and reviewing business content is breaking under the pressure, especially for large or complex documents, for regulated processes, and when diverse teams of authors, subject matter experts, and approval authorities are involved in the process. In short, e-mail, track changes in Microsoft Word, and annotations in Adobe Acrobat files simply aren’t enough. In this presentation, we will use real-world examples to reveal how DITA and topic-oriented collaboration can accelerate authoring, review, and approval—a best practice that assures timely, accurate, and authentic business information.

Information Architecture One Layer at a Time: The example of terms and acronyms

France Baril Architextus

Often times, the list of requirements for a DITA implementation is long and intimidating. Implementing DITA requires coordinating many groups such as: writers, translators, team managers, and developers. It implies changes to roles and uncertainty about what each person should be doing. The use of new tools creates an impressive learning curve. And, as if that wasn't enough, few people have enough experience with DITA to understand everything that needs to be done.

This presentation highlights how the content model can be built one layer at a time with an end-to-end approach (think Agile) in order to optimize content creation and publishing processes. A layered end-to-end approach has the advantage of producing results fast, allowing for adjustments, and leveraging knowledge as the team moves higher on the learning curve. The implementation of dynamic terms and acronyms serves to illustrate the approach.

Come if you want to learn to: build better information architecture, automate processes, offer more dynamic content to end-users, or use the DITA elements available to manipulate glossary entries and acronyms.

Beginners will get a better understanding of how the pieces fit together to add the promised value. DITA experts will enjoy a peek at an innovative implementation of glossary entries and acronyms.

Intel's Evolution from Desktop to Database Publishing

Steve Ballard Intel Corporation
Julianne Claybaugh Intel Corporation

Intel has piloted an XML Database Publishing solution using DITA to create standardized content with the potential for high reuse across business units and programs. The database and authoring tools accomplish the following:

  • Increases reuse of PTI across product development programs and associated information sets
  • Reduces cost of content acquisition, development and management
  • Improves content quality
  • Enables easy interface to third party tools, rendering/output tools and connectivity to other Intel systems for structured authoring
  • Ensures Information Security and Legal compliance via a unified solution with one central database
  • Scalable to the Enterprise

This presentation will outline how Intel is harnessing a structured content solution to maximize reuse, standardize structured authoring, and improve collaboration.

Intel Product Information XML Solution

Steve Ballard Intel Corporation
Eric Davies Intel Corporation

This presentation will focus on technical details of the solution including the component content management system, XML authoring tools, what governance means to us, business processes, metrics and more. We will present how this solution enables higher quality content sooner in the product development process, reduced engineering (SME) time on documentation and higher reuse. Will share vision of how today’s delivery of large, monolithic PDFs can be replaced by modular content which allows the consumer to access the specific information they need, when they need it, and in the appropriate format.

It's Not 'Just' Documentation Any More!

Marcos Campos Freescale Semiconductor, Inc.
Derek Saldana Freescale Semiconductor, Inc.
Bob Beims Freescale Semiconductor, Inc.

The power of DITA is that it reveals an underlying truth that technical writers have known for a long time: documentation is not just about books and manuals. In fact with DITA it's more than just knowledge transfer. It's now about product design and intellectual property.

For many companies the traditional thinking has been, “We must produce books to explain to our customers what our product is, and how it works.” But where does most of that information come from? It comes from product designers. It comes from engineers. It comes from customers themselves in the form of requirements. It comes from tech support and test runs in the quality assurance group.

All this knowledge transfer that we try to capture in books is actually a description of the design behind the product. It's metadata about the product itself. It's in that intellectual property where you find the true value of a product, whether that product is an airplane, a microchip, or a pharmaceutical drug.

Is it possible that DITA is not only about documentation? Can DITA also be used in object oriented design?

If you can get away from systems that treat documentation as books, and instead move towards systems that treat the underlying information as objects, then you get standards like DITA and specializations of DITA such as the Semiconductor Information Design Subcommittee (SIDSC) specification. It paves the way for a 2-way street of information flow.

Come learn how the power of DITA is reshaping the way an entire industry designs its products.

It Takes a Village: Managing publications with many contributors

Mark Forry NetApp, Inc.
Pia Chamberlain NetApp, Inc.

After transitioning to a DITA/CMS publication system, NetApp Information Engineering has been able to simplify production and improve usability of large product Release Notes by adopting a distributed authoring model. In the process, Release Notes have evolved from a deliverable owned by a single writer to one owned by a flexible team of 20 or more. This model takes advantage of the modularity of DITA and the workflow and auditing capabilities of the CMS to provide gains in efficiency, consistency, and reuse.

The Javascript/jQuery Alternative to Customizing DITA Open Toolkit HTML Output to Get the Results You Want

Bill Marcotte Radialpoint

Want to adjust the look and behavior of your DITA-OT-created HTML/CHM output? Having to fiddle with XML transforms creating a roadblock? Know a bit of Javascript? This presentation will demonstrate how a combination of Javascript and jQuery can be used to add advanced features to your HTML/CHM output, such as: drop-downs, customization of the XHTML TOC file, links that open Windows control panels, automated keyword popups, spacing adjustments, and boxes with rounded corners—without assigning outputclass names.

Keys and Keyrefs: How are they being used?

Kristen James Eberlein SDL Structured Content Technologies

You've heard a lot about keys and keyrefs over the past few years as DITA 1.2 was being developed. Now DITA 1.2 is a standard, and some companies are using this new architectural feature in production. What are the most common usage scenarios? Successes and pitfalls? Emerging best practices? Join us for a detailed look at several different implementations.

Killer DITA Apps

Joe Gollner Stilo International

Every technology or technique has a problem it was born to solve. This session will take a look at the problems DITA was born to solve. One of these is obvious – the challenge of designing, creating and publishing complex product information in all its various forms. Others are less obvious but potentially just as important. One of these is presented by highly formalized business processes where multiple players need to collaborate on complex documents. This comes up, for example, in procurement and contracting – an area where improvement is widely needed. Another case is found in content aggregation scenarios, where content from many sources needs to be assembled and used as if it has always been intended to work together. Leveraging real-world project examples, this session will showcase a number of killer DITA apps and this will help attendees decide where they might go for their next big win.

Making DITA Work Across The Enterprise

Doug Gorman Simply XML

This session will focus on the opportunities and constraints in moving DITA beyond Tech Pubs. During the presentation, we will see and discuss the importance of a minimalist approach to successfully implementing DITA as a standard at the enterprise level.

The speaker will introduce a very easy-to-understand subset of the DITA standard that can be quickly learned and used by the many non-technical staff who author policies and procedures, marketing materials, training documentation, and more in Microsoft Word. It will also highlight how this simplified DITA structure can also be used and enhanced by the technical staff using the traditional XML editors.

Making the Most of Your CMS: Using workflow to move your content in the right direction at the right time

Karen Hollomon Lexmark International
Suzanne Mescan Vasont Systems

This session will focus on the real-life experiences and lessons learned by Lexmark International when they expanded the use of their Vasont content management system by implementing an automated workflow process. In this session, you will learn:

  • Why automated workflow should be a part of your overall content management strategy
  • How to plan and design an automated workflow strategy
  • How to prepare the staff for the change
  • How to transition from a manual process to the new automated workflow strategy
  • How to fine-tune the automated workflow strategy to keep it relevant as requirements change
  • Pitfalls to avoid when implementing an automated workflow strategy

Managing Content Consistency and Quality in a Distributed Collaborative Environment

Kent Taylor acrolinx

The application of quality management tools in the content development process provides a range of benefits to writing, production, and program teams. This presentation outlines how to develop a content quality strategy, the results for real-world virtual collaborative writing practitioners, and quality management strategies within writing organizations. When information products have consistent style, voice, terminology, and brand identification no matter where, when, or by whom the material is written, they are easier to read, understand, translate, and use. Quality management tools support collaboration within writing teams by centralizing access to the standards as writers are creating content, and providing objective quality metrics and reports at handoff points in the information supply chain. This process ensures consistency and clarity across information products, which makes them easier for writers to develop and for customers to use.

Managing Linking in Reusable Content with Soft Linking

Mark Baker Wind River Systems

Managing links in reusable content is a significant problem for many organizations. The problem is, how can you guarantee that the target of the link is going to be available or appropriate in every context in which the topic is reused? Various solutions have been attempted, from simply removing all links from reusable content, to mapping links externally. But such approaches tend to be cumbersome and often compromise the usability of the content. Soft linking provides an alternate approach which not only resolves the problem of links in reusable content, but reduces the burden of link creation for authors and allows far richer linking of topics.

Migrating to DITA: Minimalize, downsize and optimize first!

Marie-Louise Flacke CI3M
Nolwenn Kerzreho Thales Services SAS

When migrating legacy documentation to DITA, it is of essence to consider the content first, and not only to tag. "Trying to fit all unstructured content to a DITA model" might NOT be the solution and migrating first might not be economically rational.

The GIGO rule applies here too: Garbage In, Garbage Out!

Applying minimalism rules ensures a clean, garbage-free documentation that provides only the necessary information. Further, because minimalized content is structured, it optimizes the DITA migration!

Downsizing for DITA migration is a multiple-step process including Analyzing legacy document, cleaning and eliminating redundant sections, start re-writing titles, procedures, performing usability tests and finally collaborating with the migration team to define DITA Concepts, Tasks and References.

The Most Difficult Sentence That You Will Ever Write: Creating effective short descriptions

Laura Bellamy VMware, Inc.
Michelle Carey IBM Corporation

If DITA includes more than 400 elements, how can a single element make or break your documentation? The element <shortdesc> is perhaps the most versatile and yet the most challenging element to write for because of the varied role it plays in your documentation. In this presentation, we share with you the best practices for writing short descriptions that it took us years to develop as well as example after example to give you practical tips for applying these guidelines at your company.

Moving from Books to Topics: The challenges and benefits

Tim Allen Oberon Technologies

This presentation discusses the challenges associated with restructuring not only your content but your business processes around topic-based authoring. It also details the multiple benefits associated with topic-based content and how it can increase revenue by creating dynamic configuration based documentation products.

Our "Automatic" Conversion Process: DocBook to DITA to Eclipse-based Information Center

Janice Cadel EMC Corporation
Brian Labarta EMC Corporation

This presentation will describe how we created a dedicated web-based documentation system comprised of product documentation for a complex content-management system that enables customers to build dynamic case-based applications. This “Information Center” enables our customers to navigate through 40+ guides. It supports full-text searches resulting in the ability of our customers to quickly find information across the entire documentation set. We then migrated most of our source files from DocBook to DITA. Our plans are to create all documentation using DITA and to use this experience to provide Eclipse-based help, both static help (the Information Center) and dynamic help. This presentation will explain the process we used to create the initial Information Center, our lessons learned, and the process we will be using going forward.

psssst! The Secret of Great DITA is Really about STM and LTM

George Hayden ChatHat LLC

We claim that we know something if we can recall it from memory. But which memory? Our short term memory (STM) or our long term memory (LTM)?

Semantic encoding of concepts for recall from long term memory is very different than temporarily juggling the recall of a reference fact in short term memory.

Come to this highly entertaining and interactive session to reinvigorate and expand your understanding of fundamental approaches to reuse.

You will leave with a new found appreciation for the difference between the seas of evergreen fickle facts and the more timeless truth of generic concepts. Learn how to solve the puzzle of needing book-like sequence and packaging, while evolving toward topics that are context and sequence agnostic yet sequence and context aware.

You will be introduced to the Authoring design tools of Task-onomy, I6, ColorTag and Fluff_B_gone.

By the end of the session, you will see opportunities for reuse as never before.

Principles of semantic encoding are clearly presented in a surprisingly simple analogy between STM/LTM in humans and RAM/ROM in computers.

Putting Your Topics to Work: Designing a workflow system around topics

Yas Etessam OPS Online
Sarah Lesway-Ball Juniper Networks

Companies with mature topic-based models often face productivity impacts because they need to manage thousands of topics. This presentation provides strategies for planning a topic-based workflow system that manages topics through the life cycle. We will discuss how to gather functional requirements and user stories from the user community. In addition, we'll discuss possible solutions for topic ownership, topic subscribers, tracking the status of compound documents, and the pros and cons of storing workflow metadata in the topic XML vs. in a database.

Question Everything! First Steps Toward Building Your Knowledge Base

Mirhonda Studevant Ceridian Corporation

Whether structured or informal, every organization uses various knowledge bases or references to complete certain tasks. In this presentation, you will learn about the questions, needs and priorities to consider in formalizing your knowledge bases or other information repositories. Using the creation of product-centric support knowledge bases as a case-study, we will distinguish knowledge bases from other forms of documentation. Then, we will walk you through the methods used to help customer support teams recognize the gold mine of information they already possess and develop a vision for the future. Techniques for collaborating with the subject matter experts and other stakeholders will be explored. You will learn about creating a structure and process for capturing, evaluating and promoting information for the benefit of broader audiences.

Reality Check: What to expect from automated conversion to DITA

Don Bridges Data Conversion Laboratory

When looking to migrate legacy content to DITA, there is always the concern of how well automated tools can give good results with negligible clean-up required as a post-conversion activity. This presentation will look at what an automated approach can (and can’t) do, issues that are best dealt with pre-conversion, and issues that are best dealt with post-conversion.

Real World Strategies for Planned Reuse

Jack Phillips Minitab Inc.
Jennifer Bucher Minitab Inc.

Reuse is one of the primary drivers for DITA adoption. Reuse decreases localization costs, improves the consistency of your content, and streamlines content maintenance. However, nailing down an effective and sustainable reuse strategy for your content can be an enormous challenge.

This presentation discusses Minitab’s history with reuse, our unique challenges and some of the pitfalls we’ve encountered using traditional reuse approaches. In addition, it outlines our emerging reuse strategy (made possible with the release of DITA 1.2 and the introduction of keys), which strongly emphasizes planned reuse via abstract topics.

Abstract topics are fully-developed, fully-contextualized DITA topics made up of XML components written and addressed for reuse exclusively. Our authors have informally dubbed this approach object-oriented authoring, and while the analogy is not technically a perfect one, it does reflect our general intentions regarding how our DITA content will ideally be developed, managed, and provided to our deliverables.

Release Management—A Problem We Can Solve

JoAnn Hackos Comtech Services, Inc.
Bill Gearhart Comtech Services, Inc.

Release Management is often the bane of the information-development manager’s existence and a trial by fire for most technical communicators. Especially in the software industry, corporate management seems unable to restrain its desire to release product versions on ever shorter schedules. More releases appear to satisfy the demands of important customers and promise revenue recognized faster than it was when releases came just once a year (does anyone remember that?)

The result for communicators is the need to work simultaneously on multiple releases. Before Version 1.0 is released, writers begin work on Version 1.1, followed swiftly by Version 1.2. Some of the changes in the point versions get incorporated into Version 2.0, and some don’t or are changed in mid-stream. At the same time, as instructional designers are producing training programs for Version 1.0, they need to incorporate information that is being prepared for Versions 1.1 and 1.2.

Content Management Systems hold the promise of rationalizing a complex juggling problem. Without good automated solutions, the manual work is formidable. We know of at least one team that keeps updated files on personal hard drives so they don’t confuse the writers working on the earlier unreleased versions in the repository.

Join a panel of experts (or victims), led by JoAnn Hackos and Bill Gearhart, in a discussion of the issues and a review of the requirements we want to communicate to our CMS vendors. Come with your own version of the release management challenge and join the feedback process.

Rolling out DITA with SharePoint and DITA Exchange

Sheila D'Annunzio STMicroelectronics
Steffen Frederiksen DITA Exchange

STMicroelectronics has been working with DITA XML for some time, but broadly implementing DITA in the organization and establishing direct collaboration with SME's has been a challenge. In 2010 STMicroelectronics decided to purchase and implement DITA Exchange™, using Word as an editor and as a publishing engine. This presentation is about what was done, why it was done, and how it all works. Attendees will learn about:

  • The business drivers for using (a) SharePoint as a CCMS with DITA Exchange and (b) Word as an XML editor and publishing engine.
  • Overcoming challenges in the implementation process, especially related to (a) the publishing process and (b) handling metadata.
  • The future roadmap including (a) connecting to the corporate web site (b) implementing workflows via SharePoint, (c) how to handle translation and (d) how to exchange data with joint-venture-partners.

The talk will include a short demonstration, and a lot of useful and valuable hands-on experience will be shared.

SAP Adopts DITA Learning and Training: First look

Mark Myers SAP
Jennifer Gemmell SAP

SAP is in the process of implementing the DITA 1.2 Learning and Training specialization for the production of our instructor-led, virtual classroom, and e-learning educational products. Although new to DITA, SAP has been using a proprietary XML model for 10 years and is experienced in implementing enterprise content authoring systems. To support the efficient production of DITA content, we are putting in place an integrated, Web-based solution to support our global production team of both full-time and part-time authors. In this presentation, we would like to give you a first look at this implementation and share some of our lessons learned. Presentation topics include an overview of:

  • Our business drivers for adopting DITA
  • The changes we made to the DITA 1.2 model and why
  • How we design educational DITA products
  • Our easy-to-use web-based DITA authoring templates
  • The various feature rich educational outputs we produce from single-source DITA content

Join us for an informative look into how SAP designs, authors, and publishes DITA Learning and Training content.

Save Editing Time with Controlled Language

Bob Sima Tedopres International, Inc.

Tedopres will discuss the background information on controlled langauage, STE, some interesting facts about the English language and present case studies relevant to saving editing time, improving the DITA implementation and providing cost savings in translations. This informative presentation includes product demo, interesting statistics and a few brain teasers.

Schematrons: When DTD validation isn’t enough

Pushpinder Toor PTC

Enforcing a set of rules is imperative for business processes. But how do you bridge the gap between your DTD’s structure enforcement and your authoring reality? Explore the value of schematrons by learning about their use and implementation.

Sharing DITA Content

Amber Swope DITA Strategies, Inc.

Do you need to share your DITA content with external teams, such as OEM partners, or with other internal teams? If so, come learn about the available methods and how to determine which ones will work best for you.

Spicing Up DITA with a Little SaaS

Paula Toth TechProse

A major obstacle managers face when implementing DITA is the initial cost and IT effort required to set up a component content management system (CCMS). Luckily, given the newest SaaS entries in today’s market, managers can consider these lower cost solutions to provide the necessary conveniences of a traditional CCMS. Most SaaS DITA solutions are fairly new, so finding practical implementation details can be difficult. In this presentation, Paula Toth shares her experiences implementing SaaS DITA solutions. She discusses different circumstances and approaches for implementation, as well as details about how to shop for various SaaS CCMS offerings.

Strategic Planning for Technical Communications

Megan Gilhooly INVIDI Technologies

Strategic planning can help your team plan for the future. This session will discuss what strategic planning entails and address the benefits of creating and sharing a strategic plan. In this session, you will learn tools typically used by senior management that will help you analyze your current and future situations. You will also hear how alignment of strategies between technical communication and customer support can strengthen the relationship between those groups and increase the quality of support and documentation.

Successfully Adopting DITA in a Small Engineering/Discrete Manufacturing Company

David Balzotti Banner Engineering
Bob Durkee Banner Engineering

This presentation describes how Banner Engineering’s small team of technical writers managed to move product documentation produced in a DTP environment to DITA-based information managed in a CMS and is the source for both product documentation and for marketing information. This session will show that, while DITA has been more readily adopted by many software companies, DITA can be a good solution for discrete manufacturing environments too.

Supporting Distributed Contributor Workforce

Steven Bond Forbes
Mike Dugan Forbes

Supporting 1000's of content contributors worldwide is the goal that our technology department has been tasked with. Implementing Agile methodology and weaving Open Source Solutions into new CMS and Web architecture has been a challenge. With limited resources and budget and extremely aggressive timelines we had to modularize our systems, select technologies that will fit the skill set of our developers in house, answer the questions of scale and robustness and to assure that we are on the cutting edge of tech. From planning and negotiating deliverables with business to build vs. buy decisions to identifying which systems will be developed and integrated first. We have a lot of stuff to share with business, product and developers who are facing similar issues.

Taking Control of Your Translations: Designing an in-house process to optimally manage your translations

Hal Trent Comtech Services, Inc.
Frank Miller Comtech Services, Inc.

Documentation groups rigidly and efficiently manage their source DITA content, yet when it comes time to translate, the same groups quickly and willingly turn over their content to outside parties for management and quality assurance. Learn about the key areas of the translation process where groups can take control of their own translations, ensuring maximum leverage of TM, minimum need for outside administration, and higher-quality translations.

Taking DITA to Infinity and Beyond: DITA processing and cloud computing

Frank Shipley Componize Software

To many, managing and publishing your DITA content may seem easy, no need to be a space ranger with a super computer to do that ... or do you?

Well you definitely need to be a space ranger to get the DITA Open Toolkit up and running on your laptop and although your laptop may happily run your builds, you may start to wonder what else you could be doing instead of watching all of those messages scroll through the console window. Wouldn’t it be nice to see your output processed at lightening speed or even better to have a preview of your content in real-time. What about all of those other time consuming tasks such as tracking down broken links and searching for that topic you know is there but can’t remember where. Isn’t there a solution out there that will validate your links in real-time and provide you with that intergalactic search engine you’ve always dreamed about?

In reality, there are many tasks that need to be performed quickly and efficiently in order to manage your DITA content effectively. As the volume and complexity of your source files increases, so the demand on the system that is managing them increases. With the arrival of DITA 1.2 and many new and exciting features, the complexity and demand is even greater ... so it looks like we’ll need that super computer afterall ... or do we?

During the presentation, we will see how many of the valuable features in DITA are difficult to implement using traditional approaches and architectures. With the arrival of DITA 1.2, the challenges are even greater. The speaker will present an alternative approach based on an elastic architecture that will scale to infinity and beyond.

Bumpy Road to True DITA Content Management

Gershon Joseph Cisco Systems, Inc.
Jordan Jones Cisco Systems, Inc.

Cisco’s first attempt at XML content management was rejected by key stakeholders at the POC stage. Our second attempt made it to production, but XML and DITA support were add-ons that the vendor failed to fully integrate. Our third attempt, a native XML solution that fully supports DITA, is now in production. We have completed content migration from our previous system, and are ramping up new user adoption. While we achieved ROI on our previous system, we are reaping much higher ROI with our current system. Gershon and Jordan share the lessons learned, the process used to select the vendor and solution, and their experiences, as well as the challenges, in bringing the new system into production in an impressive six weeks.

Training Content Before Moving to DITA 1.2: A domain specialization for review and activity topics

Clara Allan Research In Motion

At Research In Motion, the product documentation and training content development departments historically enjoyed a relationship based on repurposing; however, when the two groups merged, training writers and editors began the transition to RIM’s established DITA authoring environment, and reuse became possible. With the goal of achieving efficient reuse, we identified the similarities and differences between training content and product documentation. Not surprisingly, content areas that included assessment activities and practical applications were unique to training, and could not be easily supported in our existing authoring environment. Because we were not yet ready to upgrade our systems and processes to DITA 1.2, and because we wanted to integrate our teams and content for training and product documentation as seamlessly as possible, we opted to create a domain specialization that was customized to meet our specific needs for the publishing and reuse of assessment content, and use our existing authoring model for all other training content.

This presentation will cover some aspects of the business model for content development at Research In Motion, as well as our reuse and publishing requirements for training content. It will also look at how these needs and requirements were addressed by implementing a domain specialization for training-specific content.

Triumphs and Trials of a Complex Project

Jennifer Skiendzielewski InfoPrint Solutions, a Ricoh company

We all know, in theory, that DITA provides flexibility and facilitates reuse. But what does that look like in practice? Come see how one project team harnessed the power of DITA and the Eclipse Help System to address the needs of an evolving software product. A library that began as a help system and manual for a single product has grown to include help systems for three products, plugins for ten features, and five manuals, with most information units translated into eight languages. This small team manages 8000+ DITA topics, reusing at least 70% of them through conrefs and conditional processing.

Tying it Together: Making the leap from DITA implementation to DITA integration

Mark Novembrino Cisco Systems, Inc.

Technical documentation groups are beginning to realize the potential of DITA-based publishing systems. Taking advantage of DITA's modular architecture to enable efficient reuse of information, they are reducing the costs of developing, sharing, and translating content. Technical documentation, however, does not exist in a vacuum, and implementing a publishing system is only a first step. To succeed, the content development process must be integrated into the bigger picture of how a company works—meeting internal process requirements and systems, and continually improving how customers access and use the information. Sometimes this means adapting a system to existing processes and tools, such as engineering databases and workflow systems. Other times the shift for information development can inspire the creation of new systems, such as dynamic content and customized information portals. In "Tying it Together", Mark Novembrino, an Information Architect and developer at Cisco Systems, describes how his group is integrating a DITA-based authoring, publishing, and component content management system into the Cisco IOS software development process. Building on the initial implementation of a DITA-based CCM in 2010, Mark's team is tying the system together with database, workflow, and quality control tools at Cisco, as well as exploring new ways to deliver information to customers in future phases.

Using Online Help to Boost Content Collaboration

Mathew Varghese Citrix Systems, Inc.

The Content Architecture team at Citrix’s Networking and Cloud Division has developed a DITA-based online help system. The help system is context sensitive and uses Meta tags in the DITA topics to intelligently display related information like documentation, blogs, articles, and videos. This way, customers are saved the effort of having to go to a different website for such information. The related information, displayed on the help pages, is asynchronously developed by Subject Matter Experts (SMEs.) These SMEs are a part of a larger content collaboration initiative involving product documentation, customer support, education, product management, and marketing. By providing a common platform for all content developers to showcase their skills, the help system has strengthened the content collaboration process. Content developers now have an opportunity to directly improve the “adoptability” of their products.

This session will cover the working of the online help and the content collaboration initiative at Citrix.

Way Beyond Typesetting

Michael Miller Antenna House

WYDSIWYN—What You Don't See Is What You Need!

Document formatting is "Way Beyond Typesetting" and is a critical component of any solution. This presentation will touch on many of the complexities and hidden requirements of document formatting and will show why Antenna House Formatter today is used in thousands of installations worldwide to meet the needs that no other standards based automated formatting product can begin to handle and is the best product available when complex document formatting is required.

What Can Web-docbase Bring to You?

Alex Wang Sursen Corporation

This presentation brings a creative web-based document service technology, called web-docbase. The objective of this technology is web-based, which means all document operations (such as editing, sharing, saving, signing, backup, printing, security control, etc.) are performed online (no need to download to local and upload later) through various devices (PC, mobile phone, pad, MP4) regardless the format of the documents. It implements under the powerful privilege control. The end-user can ignore the format of the document and is able to keep a familiar feel—as if you are still using paper, with much better functions. Documents stored in a web-docbase can be visited via UOML standard interface, any third-party software can read/write document through this interface, which makes it very easy to expand.

What We Build When We Transform DITA content: Building help systems and advanced PDF layouts using the DITA Open Toolkit

Jason Liu Research In Motion
Greg Young Research In Motion

Have you ever wondered what you can do with all of your DITA content? At Research In Motion, our format developers have been building help systems and advanced PDF layouts using the DITA Open Toolkit for over 4 years. Recently, they have been up late building a new help system for BlackBerry Smartphones and creating new PDF formats for training content. In this presentation, a couple of our developers will present on the technical aspects of these two projects.

In the first part of the presentation, we will show how we build parts of the new BlackBerry Help app using the DITA OT. We will discuss some of our high-level design and implementation considerations. And we will take a close look at some of the features of the app and how we achieve them by transforming standard DITA content.

In the second part of the presentation, we will show how we built several new PDF formats to support our training content developers as they converted their unstructured content into DITA XML. We will discuss how we reduce the number of stylesheets that we maintain and speed up development by using variables and modular stylesheets. And we will take a close look at how we achieve some advanced formatting using attributes in content, map structures, and a domain specialization.

XAML, MathML, and DITA: Publishing mathematical notation in WPF

John Wilcock Minitab Inc.
Meegan Tomlins Minitab Inc.

Minitab Inc. released its first DITA XHTML deliverables in the 2009 Quality Companion 3.1 and 2010 Minitab 16 Statistical Software releases. As Minitab continues to work on new releases, the company is building products using technologies like XAML, WPF, Silverlight, and ASP.NET. To integrate with these technologies, Minitab’s Information Development group has migrated to using DITA for deliverables in formats that include XAML, PDF, and ASP/XHTML. In addition to creating new deliverable types and customizing XSL-FO processing, Minitab has created standardized processing for MathML equations for XAML, PDF, and XHTML outputs.

This presentation will explore the benefits, challenges, and implementation of two key components of Minitab’s publishing solutions:

  • A DITA to XAML plug-in
  • Using MathML to represent and publish mathematical notation

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