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Deconstructing the Standards

Standards and content management go hand in hand. Content is stored in a definitive source as reusable elements that can be reassembled as required to form numerous and different information products. Because content can be used in so many different ways, it needs to conform to standards. You need standards for authoring, standards for making information accessible, standards for graphics. In this issue of The Rockley Report we deconstruct some of the standards, focusing on why standards are important, and how they impact content management. We open with a case study that describes how one company implemented DITA, the Darwin Information Typing Architecture. Wendy Shepperd, Information Development Manager for BMC Software describes how they are using DITA to pilot XML-based structured authoring and advanced content management.

Other articles continue the discussion of standards:

  • Standards help to set expectations. "Content modeling to Assess Standards" discusses the importance of using models to document your expectations, against which you can assess the various standards
  • Standards not only apply within organizations; they also apply across international boundaries. Ralph Robinson, the Canadian Delegate of the Working Group on ISO/IEC/JTC1/SC7/WG2, takes a look at international standards and their impact on both technical communication and content management, urging technical communicators to get involved in setting the standards that will affect their work.
  • In "Content Management Systems and Web Standards", Jim Byrne, founder of the Guild of Accessible Web Designers, discusses why web standards are important in a content management environment, specifically, how following standards makes content accessible to all audiences.
  • Sara Porter, Assistant Professor of Computer Graphics Technology at Purdue University, helps us to understand the SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) standard, providing numerous examples of its uses and benefits.
  • Standards are not only useful when applied to the content that goes into a CMS; they are also useful in helping to classify content management systems. Erik Hartman, Director, Hartman Communicatie BV in the Netherlands discusses the ins and outs of CMSML, a markup language for content management systems. CMSML makes it possible to have one international database of criteria for content management systems, which can be accessed through many websites all over the world.

Scott Abel rounds out the issue with a look at SCORM and the Digital Talking Book standards, outlining what they are and listing additional resources where you can read more about them.

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