Managed reuse of content

Better documentation through 'single sourcing' techniques

Reusing document content in the name of efficiency is a common practice. Most of us copy and paste text or images from one document to another to save time. Do you always pause to check the accuracy, relevance, or currency of the content? Reusing content in an unmanaged way can create errors and reduce quality.

In contrast, 3di is expert at reusing content in a managed way to produce English language documentation. We have first-hand experience of using the tools required and we are used to modifying our techniques to suit different publication types or environments.

Increase productivity, improve quality and reduce costs

Well-managed content reuse really delivers benefits:

  • increase productivity because you eliminate duplicated effort
  • improve consistency and accuracy of details between publications
  • reduce maintenance costs because content is updated once and reused in many publications
  • reduce translation costs because there are fewer unique sentences to translate

How single sourcing works

We divide the content - sections of text or pictures - into components or modules. Some modules appear in all the publications in a document set; other modules only appear in one or a few publications. We can hold the modules in a single file, a collection of files, or as a set of objects in a content management system. Then, using a suitable tool, we assign each module to the various publications.

Why choose single sourcing?

Single sourcing is a good choice when you need:

  • user documentation to support several related products that share features or functionality
  • to publish the same content as a PDF file and in some other format, such as online help or web pages
  • to publish policy or procedure documents to regional offices, and each document must combine countrywide information and special local details

How to choose a publishing tool

3di can work with you to choose a publishing tool. We’ll make sure that you take into account:

  • whether you have a single author or a team of authors
  • the number of publications that will share content and the amount of information that they will share
  • the distribution formats (such as PDF, online help, or web pages) you need
  • the support your organisation can provide to establish and maintain the tool

Success depends on high quality, experienced authors

Of course, you have to choose the right tools and technology. But that’s only part of implementation.

3di uses authors who carefully plan their work and write precisely, avoiding errors in the single source files. They use modular writing techniques to divide content so that it responds to your publishing needs and suits the publishing tool. They can help your authors to re-evaluate your quality control processes to make sure they are fit for purpose.

How we can help you?

3di has first-hand experience of single sourcing projects, using a variety of tools and techniques. 3di’s localization team has a wealth of experience in translating English single source files to produce foreign-language publications.

So when you ask 3di to provide authoring services, our experience enables us to:

  • identify opportunities for your organisation to benefit from single sourcing
  • identify a single source solution that is right for your organisation
  • train and support your staff as they adopt single sourcing tools or techniques
  • select technical authors who have experience in single sourcing to work on your projects

If you would like to know more about how single source could help your organisation or if you would like help with an existing single sourcing project, why not contact 3di now? We would welcome the opportunity to hear about your work and to discuss how 3di could help you.

I have found the project management at 3di to be excellent and fundamental to the success of our projects
Call us to discuss your requirements:
01483 211533

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