Exploring the Information Ecosystem
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Exploring the Information Ecosystem



Presented by Rob Hanna at 2012 STC Summit in Rosemont, IL....

Presented by Rob Hanna at 2012 STC Summit in Rosemont, IL.

Take a journey into the Information Ecosystem where you will discover how structured information lives within your organization. Content is all around you—in places you may least expect. It exhibits predictable properties and behaviors that will help you capture and classify information for better management of your content.



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Exploring the Information Ecosystem Exploring the Information Ecosystem Presentation Transcript

  • Exploring the Information Ecosystem with Rob Hanna CIP STC Associate Fellow Senior Information Architect Transforming Knowledge into Performance1
  • Your Speaker: Rob Hanna CIP A technical communicator with 15 years experience specializing in structured authoring, DITA/XML, and content management • Senior Information Architect • AIIM Certified Information Professional • OASIS DITA TC Member • STC Associate Fellow • STC Certification Commission Vice-Chairman2
  • Who is Innovatia? Innovatia’s integrated knowledge management solutions include four core competencies: • Training • Documentation • Product Solutions • Technical Support We design, create, and deliver knowledge solutions that include documentation, training, technical support services and knowledge management professional services.3
  • Agenda • Introduction • Information in the Ecosystem • Information Behaviors • Information is what information does • Information Models • Enterprise Content Metamodel4
  • Understanding where information lives INFORMATION IN THE ECOSYSTEM5
  • Metaphors for explaining information Many metaphors exist to explain information • Building architecture • Chemistry • Ecology6
  • Information is organic An organism is defined as • a complex system having properties and functions determined not only by the properties and relations of its individual parts, but by the character of the whole that they compose and by the relations of the parts to the whole. An ecosystem is defined as • a system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their environment. Ecosystems are generally hierarchical ranging from very focused microecosystems to global macroecosystems.7
  • Information is the product of an organic mind Why is it important to understand how the mind processes information we create? • More information in a single edition of today’s New York Times than a person in the 17th century would have been exposed to in an entire lifetime (Richard Wurman) • As technical communicators, we must find more efficient means for conveying information without distracting the user from the product8
  • What behaviors characterize content and information? INFORMATION BEHAVIORS9
  • Information properties and behaviors Structured information possesses several common distinguishable properties and behaviors • Structured information properties are described by their semantic internal substructures and metadata • Structured information is − Modular − Traceable − Recursive − Patterned − Process-driven10
  • Topic-based Content Lifecycle Repository: Output: Input: Topics Information Core Information Product11
  • Reusability12
  • Traceability13
  • How do I define information? INFORMATION IS WHAT INFORMATION DOES14
  • What does information do? Among the functions information performs are • to instruct • to explain • to describe • to advise • to relate • to recount15
  • Understanding structured and narrative content TO PERSUADE OR TO INFORM16
  • Language Arts Language Arts for Personal Language Arts for Response Information To emotionally engage the reader To convey information that Techniques: readers need to use • narrative style Techniques: • varied vocabulary & sentence • consistent modular structure structure • concise, direct vocabulary • withholding information • use of graphics • Writer driven • Reader driven Meant to be READ Meant to be USED17
  • Ikea Instructions: LAFI18
  • Ikea Instructions: LAFPR If novelist Michael Ondaatje wrote Ikea instructions …. • The eel-shaped talisman squirms inside the raspy recycled box. A series of quarter turns – clock hands marking time – bonds back to base. An alphabet of connections in English and French. A into groove B. C slots into D. Chipboard credenza communicating Swedish hegemony. − Author/parodist: Geoff Thomas Globe & Mail, August 27, 200919
  • The job application The resume is The cover letter is • Structured • Persuasive • Semantic • Narrative • Reusable • Addressed to the • Parsable reader LAFI LAFPR20
  • Walk through information models for structured content INFORMATION MODELS21
  • Information models Many information models exist to classify and organize information • Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) • Information Mapping™ • S1000D • Zachman Framework22
  • DITA 1.0 Information Model DITA was designed to support Alarm Clock User Guide Task-based authoring methodology for end-user About Alarm Clocks documentation Setting Clock This approach consists primarily of identifying specific tasks users Setting Wake Up Alarm need to perform to be successful with their product Setting Radio Alarm Concept and reference Radio Settings information is added to supplement the tasks and give Installing Batteries the user better understanding of the product to improve likelihood Battery Specifications of success23
  • Information Mapping™ Robert E. Horn at Columbia and Harvard Universities Core of the method developed. • 1966: First practical application of method • An information retrieval system to inform organizations of Federal funding in Great Society programs24
  • A New Way of Thinking Information Mapping is software for the brain Cognitive Message Psychology Design Instructional Human Factors Systems Engineering Design Documentation Programmed Writing Learning Research25
  • Information Types (1 Block = 1 Purpose) Categorize information based on its purpose for the user Answer all user questions on any topic Defined by one of six Information Types26
  • Information Types User question Information Type “What is the (value)?” Fact “What must I do?” Principle “How do I do it?” Procedure “How does it work?” Process “What does it look like?” Structure “What is it?” Concept27
  • Modeling information on how it behaves ENTERPRISE CONTENT METAMODEL28
  • Origins of the Enterprise Content Metamodel • Developed in 2003 for Canadian Tire IT • Presented in Seattle at STC Summit • Used to help guide development of business documents in OASIS29
  • Enterprise Content Metamodel Why? Objective Standard DITA How? Metamodel Who? Resource Concept Requirement What? Governance Ability Activity Task Reference Design Where? Resource Event Event Event Objective When?30
  • Task-based Information The Task information type Concept Activity describes what is to is central to the model be performed by the Task Task describes how Governance describes something is performed limitations on the Task Reference describes the Concept provides terms for Governance tools used in the Task Governance Task produces an Event Activity Task Reference Event31
  • Resource-based Information Concept Resource Governance Activity Task Reference Event Activity describes what is to be performed Activity is performed by a Resource Ability Activity Activity requires a certain Ability Resource possesses given Ability32
  • Product-based Information Resource Concept Governance Requirement Ability Activity Task Reference Event Reference describes a tool and its benefits and features Design describes how the tool is built to Requirements Reference Design Requirement governs Design and functionality33
  • Business-based Information Objective describes Objective the goals, business reasons, or mission affecting change Resource Concept Requirement Resources, Concepts, and Requirements are suited to meet an Objective Resource Concept Requirement Governance Objectives may be related to previous Events Ability Activity Task Reference Design Event34
  • Conclusions Understanding the nature of information will make us more effective technical communicators • Structured information (LAFI) has specific properties and behaviors distinct from narrative content (LAFPR) • Information typing has vast potential to organize content into structures that are more easily processed for comprehension • The Enterprise Content Metamodel organizes topic- based information according to how it interacts with other information in the ecosystem35
  • Innovatia is hiring! We want team players who: • overcome obstacles using a tried-and-true mix of experience and education • solve problems in surprising, creative ways • build solutions that strategically incorporate new technologies We need • think about the big picture • Senior Writers while maintaining a laser focus on getting the details right. • Intermediate Writers • Documentation Manager Visit www.innovatia.net36