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>Here's the point: people need to be educated as well as coerced through
>software, and even then, there *will* be exceptions.
Education is certainly a key component. I work for a publisher that uses a
markup-based publishing system (reference publishing). I joined the company
in 1993 as a technical writer/editor about a month after they began
implementing the new publishing system. Adjusting to a structured
authoring/editing environment required a huge shift in mindset for all of
us, and there was certainly resistance to the change. But what was once a
print-only publishing house now has a variety of electronic products and
data licensing initiatives enabled by SGML/XML that would not have been
I'm now the XML/SGML analyst, DTD developer, and OmniMark programmer at the
company (proof that *anyone* can be taught :-) ). Part of my function has
been that of markup evangelist; both in concepts and training. It led to the
presentation I did at XML 2001 and AUGI 2002 on Technical Writing and XML.
There is indeed interest from the tech writers and editors in understanding
the whole structured authoring world. After the presentation at AUGI 2002
(ArborText User Group), a number of attendees asked why there were not more
sessions aimed at authors/editors; most sessions are technical. There was
enough interest that I am currently working on another presentation, kind of
a brief writer's guide to XML.
I would be greatly interesting in receiving input/comments/opinions from
other experiences with introducing writers/editors to a structured markup
environment. All of my experience (9+ years) is with the same company,
working in a number of closely related problem spaces; other perspectives
would be useful to me.
If anyone is interested (entirely up to you), my original XML 2001
presentation is available on the precedings CD or online at:
http://www.idealliance.org/xmlfiles/issue37/techwriting.asp. It provides
perspective related to XML in reference publishing and discussion related to
the issues in this thread. Any feedback would be welcome.
Douglas Rudder email@example.com
"At least in theory, XML is supposed to provide a middle ground
between human and machine-readable." -- Simon St. Laurent
"Schema designers, authors, and those developing the software
that processes the data all have to work together to find
the appropriate tradeoffs." -- Mike Champion