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What component content management systems do to technical documentation and technical communication: a qualitative study

Zhang, Luyao (2016) What component content management systems do to technical documentation and technical communication: a qualitative study.

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Abstract:A component content management system (CCMS) is a type of content management system (CMS) used for managing content at a component level. It has been used in technical documentation. In a CCMS-based working environment, technical authors experience both benefits and challenges. Antecedent studies have discussed the benefits including reuse, consistency, collaboration, workflow, separation of content and layout and publishing, as well as challenges such as usability and the cost; however, these studies were done years ago, and most of them were based on case studies instead of extensive empirical studies. Therefore, the first research question of this study investigated the benefits and challenges of CCMSs that are recognized in current technical documentation. A CMS is used for content management in the field of technical communication. Now as technical communication sees the emergence of innovative devices that support multimedia like audios, videos, virtual reality, augmented reality, together with the new changes of readership and authorship, the second research question in this study examined what possibilities CMSs have in the future of technical communication. 37 interviews with practitioners in the field of technical communication were made to find the answers to the two research questions. The findings are as follows: the benefits of CCMSs recognized by practitioners, include reuse, single sourcing & consistency, separated layout, filtering, variable & conditional publishing, the single-sourcing reuse of images, predefined template, metadata and open standard, version management, workflow & collaboration among roles, translation & language management, good accessibility, safety and searchablity. The challenges of predefined layout and template, workflow and collaboration among roles, use of image, overview, component-based writing, translation and language management, publishing, bad usability, slow response time, negative attitudes of technical communicators, search, version management, metadata, filtering & conditional publishing, and restricted genres still occur, while most of the challenges can be resolved or reduced by a careful and proper implementation process of CCMSs. A CMS driven by metadata will still be a suitable tool for the content management in the future of technical communication.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Unknown organization, Netherlands
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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