In 2008, NPI’s Documentation department moved from monolithic, book-length technical materials (and ways of thinking) to using DITA and structured information for reuse. We transitioned from using unstructured FrameMaker to using Arbortext Editor/Styler/Architect and will be managing content with PTC’s Windchill PDMLink. Our technical information is delivered in two major forms: technical bulletins (used by field service engineers (FSEs) and select customers; and training materials (used for internal and external training). We’re bringing in users who were responsible for processing technical bulletins for our FSEs in Word into the Documentation group. Soon, all our technical information — whether technical bulletin or training manual — will be created in DITA using Arbortext Editor.
Luckily, it wasn’t until after we’d implemented DITA that we experienced RIFs in our company. At this time, we can say that even with the small number of writers we have — and even though head count will not be increasing anytime in the near future, we will still be able to meet our deliverables because we’re using DITA.
We moved to structured authoring in DITA because:
- Documentation department’s authoring and production tools had reached their usable limit
- Manual, redundant activities are not value-add activities
- 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 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 as well as our Technical Training department.
About the Speaker
Debra West-Maciaszek is a Senior Information Architect/XML Production Manager at Nikon Precision, Inc. She joined NPI in October 1995 as a technical writer after leaving a career in academia where she taught technical writing and contemporary literature. Over the past 15 years, have served as technical writer, editor, supervisor, Documentation department manager. Debra implemented XML structured authoring / DITA in 2008. She is still the DITA evangelist at NPI. Despite transitioning out of managing people, Debra transitioned into managing the technical aspects of XML DITA in Spring 2009. She is currently implementing a content management system (Windchill PDMLink) almost single-handedly. When asked, she’ll tell you she’s still learning about DITA.
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About the Arbortext User Group
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