RE: Resources for learning Structured Writing?

Subject: RE: Resources for learning Structured Writing?
From: "Janoff, Steven" <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:04:10 +0000

Okay, last attempt at searching for this. I'm still getting great responses but they don't address what I want, so let me try one more time to be specific.

I'm looking for a way to learn Information Mapping, as it was developed in the 1960s (and beyond, to the extent it's been improved), WITHOUT going through the "official" Information Mapping company.

I'm preferably looking for either a book, a DVD, or some kind of digital media that will help me learn the techniques of the system. (Books *other than* by Robert Horn, as I have the two main ones and I don't have the patience for them.)

Courses are great but they're not what I want right now. Unless, there's for example a FREE online course through something like Coursera or one of the major universities.

If what I'm looking for doesn't exist, then what I'm looking for doesn't exist. I have enough information for a "Plan B." But I would really like "Plan A."

Thank you very much.


On Monday, October 20, 2014 1:13 AM, Steve Janoff wrote:

Okay, I love the recommendations so far (thanks, Stuart and Robert), but I need to be more specific about what I'm looking for. Apologies for not doing so.

I'm looking for resources for a non-technical team, first off. Tech writers but not familiar yet with DITA or XML.

I want a resource that teaches structured writing *outside of* any tagging environment, so no DTDs or EDDs, no DITA or XML, no DocBook or S1000D, nothing along these lines.

I'm looking for a resource that focuses exclusively on structured writing as it comes out of the Information Mapping tradition -- that was developed in the late 60's, long before even the PC let alone the current environment. (It's my understanding that DITA, and I believe also S1000D, were developed in response to IM.)

If I remember right, IM provides 7 topic types, versus the primary 3 in DITA, so I want to see what the IM ones have to offer.

I have not been able to find a source that instructs in structured writing a la Information Mapping. The IM professional company offers materials and primarily courses, but I don't want to go that route just yet. I want a team of junior writers (and some senior writers) who have not yet been exposed to DITA or XML to learn the skill of structured writing *first* (out of IM, remember, not DITA-dependent), so that once they have a general mastery of the art, *then* they have a base to learn DITA and XML and get ready for a transition if it is to happen. But even if there is no transition, I would like them to have that skill regardless.

I'm surprised there is no dedicated resource for this, as far as I can tell. All I see are the older articles by R. Horn and his 2 or 3 books but nothing contemporary that's tutorial, even though I realize that if this was developed in the 60's, maybe you don't need a modern book. But I have yet to find anything relevant.

I hope that's a bit clearer on the goal. Thanks!


On Friday, October 17, 2014 4:37 PM, Steve Janoff wrote:


In following up on the recent thread regarding migration to DITA: it became clear that whether or not one migrates to DITA, learning the skill of structured writing is a good idea.

Therefore: Does anyone know of any good resources for learning this skill?

Also, are there any good resources that would guide one in teaching this skill to a department of writers with no experience in the art?

Thank you so much. I have not been able to find a single book on it (via Amazon).

I appreciate any and all thoughts and inputs.



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Resources for learning Structured Writing?: From: Janoff, Steven
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