Month: April 2008

Seven Tips for Living with Technology

By Richard Hamilton, special to The Content Wrangler (reprinted with permission) “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”—Abraham Maslow (1908 – 1970) When most people purchase a new car, the experience goes something like this. They start out with high expectations; they want a convertible SUV that will carry a family of six, look and drive like a Ferrari, cost less than a Yugo, and get 50 miles to the gallon. The initial search and test drives deliver the first splash of reality, but overall the experience is exhilarating. They try out nice clean cars with lots of bells and whistles, and gain a new best friend, their sales person. Sticker shock sets in next, but with the help of their new best friend, they work through the pain and bring home a brand new vehicle.  And that vehicle remains perfect in their eyes until they take the family on vacation and discover they can’t fit everyone in the car unless they strap the dog to the roof, and that “30 miles per gallon on the highway” only applies going downhill with a tailwind. I could drag you through the stages of grief, but let’s skip to the chase; if they’ve got a lot of money, they go back and find a car that fits their needs, and...

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What’s Your DITA Quotient?

DITA Users has announced a new online tool designed to help organizations determine the value of adopting the Darwin Information Typing Architecture. Complete the 10-question profiler and learn what value DITA may have for your...

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Enabling Information Sharing Integrity

By Jake Sorofman, JustSystems In industries where data constantly changes, working with out-of-date information can carry a very high price. Yet financial services, manufacturing, life sciences, and other companies risk paying that price every time they use static documents as the basis for delivering and collaborating around information that is subject to constant change. The data in these static documents becomes stale as soon as the documents are published, giving recipients a snapshot in time rather than a current view of business. Most companies accept the rapid obsolescence of their documents as an unavoidable cost of doing business. Its not. When dynamic documents replace static documents, users can bring together disparate, distributed data and content and combine it in a single document that is always accurate and up-to-date. Dynamic documents blend the rich context, persistence and portability of traditional, static documents with the live data and an interactive user experience of business applications. In turn, dynamic documents promise to transform information sharing and collaboration—and other document-centric promises—in any industry marked by constantly changing, mission critical information. Under the hood, dynamic documents have inherent properties that make them uniquely suited to the tasks of information sharing and collaboration. First, dynamic documents contain persistent links to live source data. When data changes in an underlying data store, it automatically and immediately changes in the dynamic document. Likewise, if the data changes...

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[Profile] Bob Glushko Educates Future Knowledge Workers About Document Engineering

When most people set retirement as a goal, they cite reasons such as having more time to play golf or commandeer the TV remote control. When Bob Glushko talks about retirement, it’s about teaching only one semester so his schedule has enough flexibility to do other work—in law school clinics, in public interest law, on the board of OASIS, and in the Robert J. Glushko and Pamela Samuelson Foundation, which sponsors the annual David E. Rumelhart Prize, essentially the equivalent of a Nobel prize for cognitive sciences. Oh, and maybe have a little time left over for scuba diving and astronomy. One could call Glushko a workaholic, but more appropriate would be to call him a man of many passions. He had already retired from industry, having made significant contributions toward technologies and standards for electronic publishing and business-to-business electronic transactions. But through a round-about route, taking a course at the University of California, Berkeley led to teaching a course there, and Glushko began a second career at the School of Information as an Adjunct Professor and Director of the Center for Document Engineering. As the discipline of document engineering has its roots in the 1980s, when electronic publishing of documentation required re-engineering of the publishing process. What started out as the phenomenon of hypertext, and evolved into what we now know as single-sourcing and XML structured content publishing...

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