Thinking like a librarian – Applying categorization strategies to technical content

As Featured in TC Camp Gazette!
Have you ever bookmarked a site only to go back later and not be able to find that site in  your bookmarks? And then, have you ever bookmarked a site twice–only to wonder how you could have tagged it the way you did? Have you wondered how, when you have hundreds of thousands of source files in your content library, you will find the right content to reuse? Have you wondered about effective metadata tagging across a diverse (or distributed) team?

With an ever-growing library of content, lots of people wonder how to address this complexity. Specifically, technical publications staff members are often concerned about creating taxonomies that improve search-ability for:

  • Authoring staff so that content can be found quickly, improving the speed at which documentation is assembled and delivered to the customer
  • Customers so that they can find the relevant information quickly, speeding accurate completion of their task and generally improving the user experience with documentation products

These are two distinct groups of searchers, and only a subset of all the searchers looking for your content. The challenge has direct, immediate impact on productivity and confidence of staff members, effective reuse strategies, and best practices for designing processes for metadata markup.

In this class, we will talk about the foundation of library science, collation, and how these strategies can help:

  1. Create Custom metadata for Dynamic Documents
  2. Support the exchange of custom metadata with source content files and fragment files
  3. Develop taxonomies to support multiple search criteria

Learn key strategies that will put you in the best position to execute effectively so that you and your team can meet the increasing demands of creating, managing, and distributing content.


Liz FraleyElizabeth Fraley, Founder and CEO, Single-Sourcing Solutions, Inc.

Before founding Single-Sourcing Solutions, Liz worked in both high-tech and government sectors, developing and delivering technical design and strategy of authoring and publishing solutions as a Single-Source/XML Architect/Programmer. For over a decade, she has architected and implemented the single-sourcing systems for government and high tech companies.

Specializing in practical development and deployment, she is a strong advocate of designing architectures that directly improve organizational efficiency, productivity, and interoperability.

She presents regularly at industry and vendor conferences and is very active in the software engineering user communities: SF Bay Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) council member, SF Bay Arbortext PTC/User group charter member, and host of both a blog and a podcast that focus on strategies, skills, and resources for the user community.

She holds degrees in Computer Science and English from the University of College Park and a Masters in English from the University of Southern Mississippi.


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Author and Review Cycle with Adobe Tech Comm Suite 4 and HTML5 output

As Featured in TC Camp Gazette!
Many have heard that Adobe updated Tech Comm Suite, FrameMaker and RoboHelp in late July 2012. This workshop will cover several key workflows that can empower you to use FrameMaker 11 and RoboHelp 10 in concert with Tech Comm Suite 4 to single-source content more effectively and also to achieve inexpensive collaborative review. Equipment is not necessary, but if you have a laptop, you will be able to participate in a live “in the cloud” collaborative review of content.

  • See how rich graphics in FrameMaker 11 can create a more compelling experience in PDF and other output via generation of hyperlinked parts lists to 3D diagrams
  • Discover how “smart paste” enables swift insertion and conversion of unstructured content (e.g. Word) into DITA documents in FrameMaker 11
  • Learn the basics of setting up a new RoboHelp 10 project to publish to multiscreen HTML5 output
  • Learn how to use the one click “publish” function in FrameMaker 11 to publish to HTML5 or ePUB via TCS4
  • Experience collaborative review of FrameMaker 11 or RoboHelp 10 content via shared PDF files in an (or SharePoint) “cloud”


Maxwell HoffmannMaxwell Hoffmann is Adobe’s Global Product Evangelist for Tech Comm Suite. A former product manager for FrameMaker at Frame Technology (prior to product acquisition by Adobe), Hoffmann also spent nearly 15 years doing multi-lingual production in the language translation industry. Hoffmann has also provided face-to-face, hands-on training to over 1,200 people in scalable authoring solutions. He has managed projects in DITA, XML as well as authoring tools ranging from Word, InDesign, Quark Express to structured FrameMaker. Hoffmann is based in a virtual Adobe office near Portland, Oregon. Maxwell can be followed on Twitter as @maxwellhoffmann and @AdobeTCS.

Collaboration Strategies and Tools for Success

This class was cancelled and replaced with an afternoon session.

As Featured in TC Camp Gazette!Brief Description

In today’s global economy, where real-time product development occurs continuously, collaboration is essential. Cultivating a truly collaborative culture, however, is not easy. This interactive class will explore why collaboration is so difficult and how leaders can, through implementing the right strategies and tools, cultivate a culture of collaboration.

Detailed Description

What is a culture of collaboration, why does it matter, and why is everyone talking about it? In today’s global economy where real-time product development occurs continuously, collaboration is essential. And while the business culture requires collaborative interactions to develop products around the world, a truly collaborative culture is not so easy to cultivate. Information products are no exception.

The instructor will highlight compelling research on why collaboration is so difficult and how leaders can, through implementing the right strategies and tools, cultivate a culture of collaboration. Class topics will include collaboration as a leadership practice; barriers to collaboration, such as innovation, hoarding, and knowledge transfer; theoretical perspectives on why collaboration barriers occur; solutions for overcoming those barriers, such as t-shaped management, networks, and enablers; and tools for assessing an organization’s collaborative potential. To help class participants get started on building a culture of collaboration, the instructor will also introduce a sample collaboration map and action plan that participants can adapt for use in their organization.

The class format includes large-group discussion, lecture (no more than 35 minutes), and small-group activities. During this interactive class, participants will have opportunities to share collaboration challenges in their organizations and to work together to identify strategies for overcoming those challenges. The instructor will also lead the class in one or two small-group collaboration activities.

Key Learning Objectives

  • Understand why a culture of collaboration is critical to achieving business goals.
  • Learn why successful collaboration requires both the motivation to collaborate and the ability to do so.
  • Identify four primary barriers to collaboration—innovation, hoarding, access to information, and knowledge transfer—and understand why these barriers occur.
  • Determine what collaboration solutions, such building a network of alliances and implementing enablers, will help you overcome these barriers.
  • Share collaboration challenges with peers and begin work on a collaboration map and action plan for your organization.

Intended Audience

  • Technical communication managers and teams struggling to work effectively together.
  • Anyone interested in better understanding why collaboration is so difficult and why multi-dimensional solutions to collaboration are essential to achieving desired results.

Recommended Reading (before class meets, if possible)

“Building a Collaborative Writing Strategy.” CIDM Best Practices 13.3 (June 2011): 57, 61–70. Rebekka
Andersen and Charlotte Robidoux, authors.

Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results. Morten Hansen,
author. Harvard Business Press, 2009.

Recommended Activity (before class, if possible)

Use Morten Hansen’s online assessment tools to quickly assess how your organization or unit measure up according to the principles of disciplined collaboration, as described in Hansen’s book, Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results.

Go to to access tools to help you evaluate collaboration opportunities, spot barriers to collaboration, tailor collaboration solutions, and assess how you stack up against a collaborative leadership style. Complete all four surveys, if possible, and bring the results to class. You will have an opportunity to share survey results in small groups in class and discuss what the results suggest about how best to move forward.


Rebekka AndersenRebekka Andersen is an assistant professor in the University Writing Program at the University of California, Davis, where she teaches courses in professional and technical communication and digital literacy. Her research focuses on the diffusion of content management technologies in information-development teams. She studies diffusion inhibitors and facilitators, with a particular focus on the shaping forces of collaboration, communication, and culture. Rebekka has worked as a technical writer and editor and process documentation specialist. She has authored numerous articles in both best practices and peer-reviewed publications, and she regularly presents her research at both academic and industry conferences.