Tag Archives: production

0212

Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy – Book Review

I have been in the process of reading the book Managing Enterprise Content by Ann Rockley and Charles Cooper. The book is a good introduction to content strategy and covers a lot of useful ground when it comes to strategizing how to publish content.

For several years I have produced content that needed to be delivered in various channels eg. gallery exhibition invitations, signage, didactic educational panels, media releases, newsletters, catalogues, websites, web forms, email bulletins and membership forms. Much of the time I have had to cut and paste the same information from one context to another. This is fine but can get problematic if there are updates to the information. At this point, you need to remember where you used the content to make sure the information was corrected along all communications channels.

This book explores the use of strategies incorporating XML which can help to streamline the communications process so information can be entered once and then output to the various channels. If changes need to be made then the source documents can be updated and then be output again for various end uses. For example an author can compose their information in Microsoft Word and then have it converted into XML so it can be further edited online instead of having it stored locally on the author's computer. This enables other collaborators to work on the same information if changes need to be made at a future date. Since the information resides on a server with access by various parties you are less likely to produce duplicate copies of documents. You can also standardize the tone of the text so it has more of a corporate feel. This can help in many organizational contexts. I can see the strategies in this book working best in environments where there is a great deal of standardized information that needs to be communicated in the most efficient manner possible. The book explores various content management system types and discusses their strengths and weaknesses. I would recommend the book for technical writers and to content strategists who want to think of new ways of dealing with large amounts of information.