March 20, 2017: Leveraging Structured Authoring / DITA Techniques When All You Have are Unstructured Tools

You’ve heard the buzz about structured authoring and DITA: how great it is for efficient content reuse, how it enforces consistency, how it guides our writing for topic-based presentation… But what if there’s no budget for new tools, no time for training to “become a DITA writer,” and no time to migrate legacy unstructured content? Don’t despair! You can easily leverage many structured authoring best practices even when using unstructured tools. This session demonstrates tool-agnostic techniques such as writing a good short description, designing task-focused documents, and increasing content reuse. You’ll also see how to use FrameMaker (unstructured), Word, and Flare features to style content semantically, standardize textual navigation aids, add metadata, and perform multi-channel publishing. Whether you’re a DITA beginner, a structured authoring guru forced to use unstructured tools, or a strategist contemplating a legacy conversion project, you can immediately apply the techniques in this presentation to your daily work.

About Monique Semp

As a former engineer, Monique’s early tech writing was user manuals for the applications she designed and coded. After becoming a tech writer, she was often the “tools person” on her team, extending the team’s tools’ capabilities to make it easier to create better, more consistent content. As Monique matured as a writer and honed her doc design and writing skills, she learned a diverse range of tools and technologies. Structured authoring and its implementation in the DITA spec/commercial tooling was a natural evolution that continues to influence her work, even for contracts requiring unstructured tools. She looks forward to explaining that although writing in DITA is great, it can be a solution looking for a problem, and that frequently the answer is to leverage the best practices of structure while using traditional, unstructured tools.

Meeting details

Date: Monday, March 20, 2017
Networking/social time: 6:00-7:00pm
Presentation time: 7:00-8:00pm+
Location: IHOP Restaurant, 4200 Great America Parkway, Santa Clara, CA 95054
Cost: Free

Note: You don’t have to be an official STC member to attend the meetings.

Presentation slides.

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