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Subject: Re: [dita] Integrate support for management of customer/technical support case content in DITA?

The DITA TechComm subcommittee is working on developing a solution for troubleshooting content that will go a long way to addressing the needs of the technical support community. In the meantime, you may want to look at the IBM/DITA troubleshooting topic for guidance.

Rob Hanna

Senior Information Architect
Knowledge Consulting - Innovatia Inc.
+1 (506) 674-5660


From: Jonatan Lundin [mailto:Jonatan.Lundin@citec.com]
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2012 04:31 AM
To: dita@lists.oasis-open.org <dita@lists.oasis-open.org>
Subject: [dita] Integrate support for management of customer/technical support case content in DITA?

Dear OASIS DITA TC committee,

I would like to submit an idea for future expansion of DITA, to also include support for management of customer/technical support case content. The idea has been discussed here: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/dita-users/message/26142 and also to some extent here: http://idratherbewriting.com/2012/02/02/a-reverse-approach-to-help-authoring-wri\

Some background:
End users of technical products/systems are active and goal oriented and they often do not read the whole manual to comprehend before using the product. Many users first try to use the product based on prior experience and knowledge (mental models etc). If they get stuck due to that prior knowledge is insufficient, they need information and what they do is ask a question. A search process is initiated. Users consult the manual believing that it will give an answer to the question. Or they call the support center.

Technical communicators are actually answering questions, or that is what they should be doing and not describe features of a product etc. DITA is used to manage answers and one (1) topic shall answer one question. In fact, technical communicators are predicting user questions, since many of us develop documentation before the product is launched to the market (and thus, at that time no questions are asked).

What do support people do? Simply put, they are reacting on user questions – hopefully giving the user a proper answer. Support centers and techdoc departments are often working in different silos, since no content is reused in-between (there are of course exceptions). Why have several different "answering processes" within a company? Meaning, in many cases the same question is answered twice. If DITA could be extended to also include markup to allow support departments manage their content, according to for example KCS (Knowledge Centered Support) methodology (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_Centered_Support), many benefits could be foreseen from a content reuse perspective.

Just an idea.

Best regards,


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