Fred Ridder wrote:

> Marcus, Marcus, Marcus.
> In the abstract, I completely agree with what you say. My
> postings in this thread, though, have been written to address
> the specific context of the original poster, who is a sole writer
> at a company which has a significant body of unstructured
> documentation, and who is thinking about experimenting
> with structure. As you say, the kind of far-reaching information
> integration you are talking about requires disciplines and
> resources that span the entire company, and that simly didn't
> seem like a possibility in the context of the OP's query.

It's a bit chicken and egg though, don't you think? If we don't tell 
tech writers that what they're interested in doing for their own 
purposes might also potentially be very valuable for the organisation 
for entirely other reasons, they don't know how to make a business case 
for it. Their superior may recognise the wider value of structured 
documents, but then again if they did, they might already have started 
moving down that path.

It's no good just telling tech writers that "structure makes for better, 
more consistent documents" - it blatantly ignores both existing benefits 
and a reasonable prediction about the future direction of information. 
On top of all that, it could be detrimental if the right information 
isn't being structured the right way - it might just mean that it all 
gets thrown out in another year. No matter what, flagging the 
possibilities to management is never going to be a bad idea.


Marcus Carr

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