Structured Writing: Rhetoric and Process

Structured Writing: Rhetoric and Process

by Mark Baker
Structured Writing: Rhetoric and Process

Structured Writing: Rhetoric and Process

by Mark Baker


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Structured writing has never been more important or more confusing. It is easy to get lost in a sea of acronyms and buzz words: semantics, XML, metadata, DITA, structure, DocBook, hypertext, Markdown, topics, XSLT, reuse, LaTeX, silos, HTML, ad infinitum. Structured Writing cuts through the noise, explaining what structured writing is and how you can use different structures to achieve different purposes. It focuses on how you can partition and manage the complexity of content development and delivery to ensure effective rhetoric and efficient processes.

Introduction: defines structured writing, the relationship between rhetoric and process, and the importance of partitioning complexity properly.

Structured writing domains: introduces four domains in structured writing: media, document, subject, and management and shows how an understanding of those domains can help you build structures that support quality writing.

Process, rhetoric, and structure: describes how structure supports both your processes and your rhetoric. it also delves into information architecture and the role of writers in creating content that meets your organization's needs.

Algorithms: explores the principal structured writing algorithms, including single sourcing, reuse, linking, active content, generated content, and publishing.

Structures: explores structures in depth, including blocks, wide structures, and composable structures. Also looks at metadata, terminology management, and conformance.

Languages: a survey of languages currently used for structured writing, ranging from lightweight languages such as Markdown and reStructuredText to heavyweight languages such as DITA and DocBook. Then it looks at extending and constraining languages.

Management: looks at content management systems and explores how to support collaboration, avoid duplication, and audit your content.

Design: looks at how to identify complexity and partition it appropriately as you design a system, and it then looks at how to select the processes and tools required to support your organization's content needs.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781937434564
Publisher: XML Press
Publication date: 09/10/2018
Pages: 514
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.03(d)

About the Author

Mark Baker is the author of Every Page is Page One: Topic-based Writing for Technical Communication and the Web as well as other books on content and content technologies and dozens of articles on technical communication, content strategy, and structured writing. He has worked as a technical writer, tech comm manager, director of communications, programmer, copywriter, and consultant and has spoken frequently at industry conferences. He has designed, built, and used multiple structured writing tools and systems, including the one used to write this book. Mark blogs at and tweets as @mbakeranalecta.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • I. Structured Writing Domains
    • How Ideas Become Content
    • Writing in the Media Domain
    • Writing in the Document Domain
    • Writing in the Subject Domain
    • The Management Domain: an Intrusion

  • II. Process, Rhetoric, and Structure
    • Partitioning Complexity
    • Rhetorical Structure
    • Information Architecture
    • Writing

  • III. Algorithms
    • Separating Content from Formatting
    • Processing Structured Text
    • Single Sourcing
    • Reuse
    • Generated Content
    • Extract
    • Merge
    • Modeling
    • Linking
    • Publishing
    • Active Content

  • IV. Structures
    • Content as Data
    • Blocks, Fragments, Paragraphs, and Phrases
    • Wide Structures
    • Subject-Domain Structures
    • Metadata
    • Terminology
    • Relevance
    • Composable Structures
    • Conformance

  • V. Languages
    • Markup
    • Patterns
    • Lightweight Markup Languages
    • Heavyweight Markup Languages
    • Extensible and Constrainable Languages
    • Constraint Languages

  • VI. Management
    • Content Management
    • Collaboration
    • Avoiding Duplication
    • Auditing
    • Change Management
    • Repeatability
    • Timeliness
    • Translation

  • VII. Design
    • System Design

  • Index

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