DITA methodology is often difficult for people to grasp. It does require a complete shift in how you view and author your content. You can’t take a book and shove it over. It doesn’t work like that. You need to deconstruct and then reconstruct in the new architecture. It doesn’t always mean that all of the content you had before is scrapped. Some can be salvaged. But you need to look at it from the DITA viewpoint to pull content in rather than looking at it from the Book Brain and trying to shove it all in.

Additionally, you need to keep constant diligence is paying attention to the tendency to “fudge things” to make it work the way you want. DITA is not a tool – it is an architecture. Yet time and time again people fall down the trap of “tricking the software” to do things that are not germane.

Over the years I have worked with so many people making this transition and the stories of what they have done to shift their mindset from Book Brain to DITA cult member can save a struggling author. If you are managing a team and trying to help them navigate to success then understanding what Book Brain is, how to spot it in others (as well as yourself), and how to help others make the transition is priceless. It can save you hours if not months of struggle.

For this session I will share entertaining and informative real life stories as anecdotes to aid the learning. I will also have special keepsakes for everyone who attends.

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About the Presenter

Liz Fraley, Single-Sourcing Solutions, is a serial entrepreneur. She's founded two companies, sits on the boards of three non-profits, and is constantly coming up with new ways to share knowledge in the technical communications and content industries. She has worked in high-tech and government sectors, at companies of all different sizes (from startups to huge enterprises). She advocates approaches that directly improve organizational efficiency, productivity, and interoperability. If you ask her, she’ll say she’s happiest when those around her are successful.

Presented at

  • Lavacon 2015
  • Spectrum 2016
  • Interchange 2016
  • STC San Diego 2017

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Key Concepts

best practices, collaboration, dita, soft-skills, topic based writing