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 <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, Yves Barbion <yves -dot- barbion -at- gmail -dot- com>, Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- westnet -dot- com -dot- au>
Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:30:57 +0000

I'm the OP who asked about IM (your last paragraph). Stuart is the one who asked about the George Miller work, and mentioned DQTI (a great book, I have it).



-----Original Message-----
From: On Behalf Of Yves Barbion
Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 3:21 AM
To: Stuart Burnfield
Cc: Techwr-l
Subject: Re: Resources for learning Structured Writing?

Hmmm... interesting. Thank you for the pointers to the in-depth discussions, Stuart.

A source? Well, yes actually, and it's the same source which was mentioned earlier in this thread: the excellent book "Developing Quality Technical Information".

On page 129, I read: "Research on short-term memory that George Miller reported in 1956 indicated that people can remember seven items plus or minus two"
And on page 130: "The traditional guidelines on the number of items in a list that users need to remember are:

- Seven items maximum for online documentation
- Nine items maximum for printed documentation"


And, Stuart, you're right in saying that the book is about how to develop quality technical information, not "tech writing the DITA way", but the lead author of the book was Gretchen Hargis, who was "a pioneer of IBM Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)". Indeed, DITA is not mentioned in the book (and it's not mentioned in the index), but it is a very good book on topic-based authoring. And the DITA information types concept, task, reference are described on page 218.

You're "looking for a way to learn Information Mapping, WITHOUT going through the "official" Information Mapping company"? Hmmm, I don't think that's possible, so yes, I think you are looking for something that does not exist. But then again, you don't need to learn Information Mapping if you want to do structured writing (or use DITA). Just learn the best practices of structured authoring, which are described in the books mentioned in this thread.

Kind regards

Yves Barbion

On Tue, Oct 21, 2014 at 4:45 AM, Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- westnet -dot- com -dot- au>

> Yves, do you have a source that shows that DITA is based in any way on
> Miller's infamously misunderstood magic number?
> It was a source of exasperation to Professor Miller himself throughout
> his long and productive career that he was mainly known in the wider
> world for misapplications of this paper.
> In-depth discussion on many myths around Miller's paper at Edward
> Tufte's [1] site:
> c_id=1
> Karen Schriver on Techwr-L:
> --- Stuart
> From: Yves Barbion
> Date: Mon, 20 Oct 2014 14:09:51 +0200
> By the way, DITA was not really developed "in response to Information
> Mapping". This is a common misunderstanding because both methodologies
> are based on the same scientific research and principles, for
> example:
> wo
> [2]
> Links:
> ------
> [1]
> [2]
> o

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