Parallel Documentation Universes

Self on Help

Thoughts from the OASIS DITA Help Subcommittee Chair

Until a few weeks ago, I was unaware that there was a company employing some 200 technical writers just two kilometres from where I teach technical communication in Melbourne, Australia.  Likewise, a manager at the company was unaware that my university provided post-graduate education in technical communication. We were operating in two parallel universes. The company involved operates in the "engineering technical publications" field, which seems to be quite separate (and isolated) from the "IT and corporate technical communication" field.

This discovery forced me to think about other undiscovered colleagues in the technical publications fraternity. Will DITA result in a divide between the "structured authors" and the "style authors"? Will we end up with one group of "Windows Help authors" and a separate group of "DITA Help authors"? I think such divides are a bad thing, because we are too small a professional community to be able to afford segmenting into cliques. Focus Areas: BPEL | DITA | ebXML | IDtrust | OpenDocument | SAML | UBL | UDDI
OASIS sites: OASIS | Cover Pages | | AMQP | CGM Open | eGov | Emergency | IDtrust | LegalXML | Open CSA | OSLC | WS-I