What Editors and Tech Writers Do

Subject: What Editors and Tech Writers Do
From: KAREN_LEICHEL@xxxxxxxx
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 10:25:53 -0500
Paul Prescod wrote:

-Like many technologies, XML/SGML and DSSSL/XSL support specialization and
-segmentation of job roles. Usually someone technical (a consultant or tech
-pubs support person) sets up the system, including schemas, transforms,
-stylesheets, editor customizations and so forth. Writers write. Editors

So the title I should be using for my role in this company is "tech pubs support
person"? Unfortunately, my company is downsizing support by 1/3 since it
perceives that the Y2K problem is solved and what else do those people do
anyway! It'll stay that way until the network crashes and management or anyone
else can't get work done.

Karey Leichel

-Companies that are not large enough to segment jobs in this way can either 
 -a) pray that their writers are technical and interested enough OR 
Well, one of us is interested, but mostly we are overwhelmed with our "real"
work is beyond us already. I still write, edit, formally estimate, eke out
information from the engineers and SMEs and the customer (when I can find them),
administrate the project, troubleshoot processes, handhold the illustrators
because they aren't as tenacious as I am about finding information, write
stylesheets and macros, and a hundred other things for print and online. I am
rated a Senior Technical Writer. 

 -b) they can buy a package of schema/transform/stylesheet/editor from a
-vendor. For instance, if they use HTML they can use HoTMetaL or
-Dreamweaver. If they use Docbook, they can use FrameMaker or AdeptEditor.
-If they use HTML Help, they could use Robohelp or something OR
We tried this and it cost us a tremendous amount of money!! The customer got fed
up with paying for it and made a devastatingly ill-informed decision. The
"expert" consultants made two decisions for my project which in retrospect cost
us tens of thousands of dollars. 

While this is possibly still the best choice, it is not easy to find good help
when choosing a road to follow. It is also perceived by management as the most
costly way to handle it.

Karey Leichel

- c) redirect other technical resources to writing support.

I'd like to find a company to work for that has this luxury. The "other
technical resources" generally resent it too.

Karey Leichel

-The only reliable path is b). This is, therefore what I advocate for small

Thanks very much for the advice!! I am not being facetious. I will take your
e-mail (without my comments, of course) to the powers that be here.

Karey Leichel

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