(Spoiler Alert: Regardless of your level of experience, or organizational role; if you create, edit, approve, or publish content, you will like this book. If you publish to multiple devices/browsers, or if you translate your content into multiple languages, you will CHERISH this book.)
Several years ago, a client of mine was undergoing an extensive feasibility study for an enterprise content management solution. Though I wasn’t heavily involved in that project, I casually mentioned to a friend on the ECM team that I was reading a book called “Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy” by Ann Rockley. I enthusiastically recommended the book to her. She borrowed my copy for the afternoon and later bought a copy for herself.
Within a few weeks, I was able to identify members of the project team in the hallway because they were all carrying a laptop in one hand and and a copy of “Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Strategy” in the other. The book became a primary resource for the project’s documentation and planning, and a key go-to reference for questions by stakeholders. One of the things that was most intriguing about Rockley’s book was that it discussed the merits of single-sourcing and managing content at component level (rather than storage of whole documents) to help to guard against the content silo trap.
In my past several client engagements, I have been working on the technical services side of the fence, primarily in SharePoint. For many months, I have been working to re-aquaint myself with content strategy. Frankly, the current state of content industry now seems so complex that it makes me queasy.
Consider how many devices (iPhone, Android, and other smart phones….) and new browsers (Chrome, Firefox...) have surfaced in the past few years. The reinvention of publishing industry has resulted in an onslaught of proprietary e-book formats (iBook, Kindle, Nook…). Furthermore, organizations are expected to publish content in multiple languages. When you tally up, the devices, browsers, languages and media (don’t forget paper!), you are talking about dozen (and dozens…) of publishing channels. The threat of content-siloing is greater than ever.
Thankfully, there is a second edition of “Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy.” As if it weren’t enough to have Ann Rockley and Charles Cooper as the authors, this book features contributions and contributions industry stars such as Rahel Anne Bailie, Scott Abel, Derek Olson, Mark Lewis, and many others. Make no mistake, this team-up is the content industry’s equivalent of “The Avengers.” This book will help you to move away from working harder, to making your content “smarter.”
Unlike other reference books that have the feel of an infomercial for particular devices or software platforms, this book is centered on developing unified content strategy that fits your organization. This book will help you to identify your organization’s pain points and develop tight plans to redesign your organization’s workflows, and to develop, modular, well-described, reusable “intelligent content.” This will allow you to better inform, and engage your customers regardless of their preferred device or operating system. Your content will become “future-proof.”
It’s become something of a cliché for reviews of reference books to include the phrase “…avoids jargon…” This book does NOT do that. Instead, it helps the readers, of all experience levels, to EMBRACE industry-standard terminology.
You will not be involved in any current-day discussion about content without bumping into terms like DTD, EPUB, SCORM or DITA. Rockley and Cooper provide gentle indoctrinations into industry-standard concepts and has an exhaustive glossary, which will allow team members (from disparate professional histories) to better collaborate on projects.
The book also includes a detailed checklist for implementing your unified content strategy. This alone is an invaluable reference as your content teams navigate the course of you transition to single-sourced, intelligent content.
Regardless of your role in a content project, I highly recommend that you get your hands on this this book (available in NOOK, Kindle, iBook…….and don’t forget paper!)