More on the Top 5 Trends for NextGen AuthoringSeptember 23, 2008 at 1:09 pm | Posted in Blogs, Content Management, Information Work, Web 2.0, XML Syndication | 5 Comments
I had a request in my posting on the top 5 NextGen authoring trends for some more explanation of these trends. I mostly wanted to set up the context for these trends – where they come from and how they relate to traditional forms of authoring. But I’m happy to elaborate with an elevator pitch on each of them to show where I’m coming from in my research. So, if you don’t mind riding up the elevator 5 times with me, here goes:
Content is increasingly being created in a collaborative fashion, with multiple commenters and sometimes multiple authors for a given document. Perhaps a fallacy was that there ever were authors working alone. Document creation has always been social and what is happening now is that increased collaborative capabilities and web 2.0 heightened awareness of social work are feeding back to the way in which documents are authored.
Few business documents start with a blank page and even fewer finish without having copped at least a few pieces from prior documents. But despite the prevalence of content reuse, organizations have mostly muddled through using copy/paste or by saving existing, similar documents under a new name and hollowing them out. As with programming, creating reusable content takes discipline in componentization, tagging, and storage that can be difficult to instill in authors. However, more comprehensive content reuse approaches are becoming feasible for the average author, decreasing the time needed to create documents while increasing consistency between them.
Business documents have always been subject to an iterative, open process. “Living documents” that are continually under construction and go through more iterations are increasingly common and intentional. Document production is a moving target in many cases, with quick changes required before and after initial publication. Rather than publishing a “final” document, authors are using wiki-like tools to create content that can be improved incrementally while still maintaining a single version of truth for the reader.
Content publication involves an implicit balance between speed/freshness and readability/accuracy. We are moving from an era when transaction costs for correcting or updating content were high to one in which content can be quickly fixed and readers can be quickly notified (if they need notification at all). This has shifted the balance towards freshness, and encouraged the use of technologies such as blogs and XML syndication.
Other NextGen trends point to an explosion of content in its many forms; this is the one trend that’s holding it back. Quickly published and discarded thoughts, early iterations of documents, rogue wiki and blog postings, and inadequately protected sensitive content have long (perhaps infinite) lives and lay in wait to later embarrass or legally implicate the authors and all those around them. This causes some organizations and authors to avoid NextGen content creation. Fear is greatest around the rapidly produced, informal sorts of content that evade traditional records management processes of classification and control.
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