Publication Integrity

by Robin Shobbrook

Welcome to the final blog in this series on Publication Integrity. This time we're taking a look at publishing processes and publication dissemination in the busy world of technical information management.

Part 4

Publishing Issues

Let’s say we have gathered together all the information we need to include in our new publication: text, graphics, tables etc. We have been through review and approval cycles and are ready to make it available to the outside world – or at least to the defined community we want to circulate it to.

Once, it was simply a matter of getting it printed and circulating the paper copies to the users. Not that simple as a matter of fact, but at least we only had one choice. Now we have many choices. Are we going to produce:

This is where structured documentation, XML and DITA can help of course. Because we are keeping our content independent from layout, we can output many different formats and styles, all from the same shared source content.

It means that, at publication time, we can output all the formats we need simultaneously with just a few clicks of a button. It also gives us the opportunity of dynamically inserting document information such as:

All this can be done automatically by the publication engine. And with the right software (Koala’s Modulux and integrated Publication Builder for example) it’s all traceable and autitable – who, what, when and why!

Dissemination

Now, we have to get it to the people who need it. The users, customers, prospects, engineers, sub-contractors, students etc.

Considerations here include:

Think of your users

What delivery format and media will best serve the recipients? Consider what’s going to be most useful to the user, in the actual working environment where they will be reading or referring to that information. You could deliver documents/information as:

As you will have gathered, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to publication and dissemination methodology. Every project we undertake here at Koala for our customers presents us with different challenges and opportunities. But whatever the solution, one primary lesson we have learned to apply in all cases is to ‘systemise’ the whole process as much as possible. Whether your ‘system’ is fully automated or based on documented manual procedures, or a mixture of both, will of course, be up to you.

 
For advice or comments on this blog, or the other blogs in this series,
please feel free to contact me.


 

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Robin Shobbrook is Test and Quality Manager at Koala