“The Language of Content Strategy”—Now Available

Curious about content strategy? Get Scott Abel and Rahel Anne Bailie’s book, The Language of Content Strategy, for which I wrote the foreword and to which over fifty content strategists contributed. This book defines terms like content audit, adaptive content, content engineering, content model, and intelligent content. Beyond defining content strategy, this book exemplifies it…

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Recipe Contest: The XMLonball Splash–We Have a Winner!

Scott Abel

Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler

A few posts ago (see What Brand R U?), I invited all XML-inclined readers to take a break from their hard slogging and have a little fun by concocting recipes for a drink I call the XMLonball Splash. My one taker—Scott Abel, THE Content Wrangler—submitted such a witty, creative recipe that no one else dared to even attempt to compete. Made the judging easy.

I’ve tried a variation on this delicious recipe (with who-knows-what substituted for the cactus juice liqueur), and I have to warn you: don’t drink this and drive.

Below are two versions of the recipe, one with and one without XML tags. According to Scott, any code abuse you might notice—that is, any shenanigans within the brackets—is intentional.

Thanks for playing along, Scott. You make the wranglin’ world go ’round.

The XMLonball Splash—With a Twist of Code  Continue reading

"Managing Enterprise Content" 2nd Ed.: A Book Review

book coverFor all you professional writers who struggle with managing mountains of information at work—whether you write technical manuals, marketing literature, training materials, service guides, online help, or what have you—the new edition of Ann Rockley’s classic book, Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy, coauthored with Charles Cooper, calls to you.

The illustrations alone make this second edition worth picking up (especially if your boss springs for it). For example, one glance at the beer-can-chicken recipe as it appears in a printed book, on an eReader display, on a nice big monitor, and on a smartphone—and suddenly the abstract discussions of “information modeling” make sense.

The case studies sprinkled throughout this edition also bring the realities of content management to life, most tellingly the last study: the “lesson in failure” due to “lack of ongoing oversight.” Short-term budgeters, beware! (In this case, three years is a short term.)

Rockley and Cooper, along with the many folks who contributed to this book, did an impressively thorough job  covering all aspects of content management. Some sentences leave me wishing that the book had gone through another round of editing. (“Structured writing is the way elements in a component are written.” Huh?) But the book’s overall value compensates for its occasional lack of clarity. This book represents a bright light of encouragement and insight for anyone with the courage to follow its authors into content management’s daunting new world.