Taming the Review: Introducing XML to non-tech writers with review

Documentation is moving to XML. Many company publishing departments like the customer facing documentation team at Varian have implemented this change. Now it is time to bring in the other departments, such as internal and service documentation. There are not many current practices or direction for doing it, so we are introducing our system and tools through the review process first.

What can the audience expect to learn?

For departments other than technical publication teams, moving to DITA is more difficult because current advice and methods are designed for “flip the switch” moves to DITA at the time of a planned release. This approach is not practical for other departments. We offer a solution – begin with review. Our planning, training, findings, timing, and more offer another method.

Meet the presenter

Catherine Long has been with Varian Medical Systems for over five years. She was brought in to assist the service documentation department with authoring standards and the publishing process, as well as to lead the move to DITA XML. Her challenge is to design a system architecture and provide training for 100 SMEs who write documents as only part of their busy schedules. Her relaxation is to immerse herself in the worlds of Shakespeare, Wodehouse, Wilde, and others.

Rich Perry manages a publication team responsible for processing technical servicing content for a medical device manufacturer. Over the course of his career work life, he held various technical positions supporting military and medical devices. These experiences as an end-user of servicing procedures lit a fire in him that led to his avocation as a technical trainer, curriculum developer, and product support specialist.

Rich’s team is in the process of transitioning from unstructured Word to DITA. While he and his team have not fully implemented DITA, Rich is ready to share his experiences as the struggle continues!

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