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DCL is committed to providing the latest information on Data Conversion and Content Strategy. This section of our website provides articles of interest authored by DCL and our partners.

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In 1985, a group of four women, with Tipper Gore being the most notable among them, banded together to create a little something called the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC). Their mission: To teach parents how to protect their children from the violence, drugs, and sex in their children’s music. The thought was not something new. Even in the Jazz Age or during the years when Elvis’ hips caused a stir, parents in America felt the obligation to shield their children from content that they saw as crossing a line of decency.

Data Conversion Laboratory

If you're new to the world of content conversion, it's probably a little overwhelming. You know your agency needs to prepare content to meet the current needs of more technologically savvy audiences, but you are concerned with losing valuable legacy content that is still accessed by the masses. From this standpoint, every content conversion project seems complex. And for many Department of Defense (DoD) and civilian agencies, the situation appears especially detailed and complicated, due to the size of the content library, varying content types (PDF, SGML, print), and quality (missing or inconsistent information).

Data Conversion Laboratory

Any federal content digitization effort incorporates significant requirements for quality control (QC), whether in the civilian or Department of Defense (DoD) sector. And many agencies mistakenly consider QC to be a fully manual, time consuming, and extremely expensive element in a content conversion initiative. In fact, by focusing on upfront analysis of your content needs, and choosing the right tools, you can bring a level of automation to the QC process that can save time, effort and dollars.

Data Conversion Laboratory

Legacy content throughout the US Department of Defense (DoD) exists in a variety of formats and structures. And the older the content, the less likely it is to conform to required standards such as S1000D or the Army's MIL-STD-40051. Quality Control (QC) becomes critical, but under the pressure of high volumes and rigorous standards, DoD agencies and offices can find themselves overwhelmed by the prospect of manual review of thousands of pages of content multiple times during a complex conversion process.

Data Conversion Laboratory

Moving to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) standard for creating and maintaining content means uncharted waters for many organizations. The complexity involved, in changes to tools, processes, and the approach to creating content, requires experienced professionals, to ensure that the course to DITA and well-managed content is navigable. Companies that have made the journey shared their insights in a recent survey. And all agreed that not going it alone made the difference between success and failure.

Marli Mesibov

Job titles matter to three people: the person hunting for work, the hiring manager, and the client. The person hunting for work needs an easy way to identify whether she’s interested in a position. The job title “chef” is a symbol in this case, which stands for cooking, chopping, prepping, and working in a kitchen. For the person hunting for work, a job title is useless if it isn’t consistent.

Data Conversion Laboratory

One of the most common reasons for the failure of major implementation projects is a lack of clear success criteria by which the effort will be measured. And, implementing a Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) solution is a major undertaking for organizations. As you embark on changing how content is created, managed, stored, and produced in your organization, take some cues from the companies that have already ventured down the DITA implementation road: work with your team and vendors to identify clear and measurable goals, and then track progress throughout.

Data Conversion Laboratory

In its quest to improve the lives of patients with lupus, Health Science Funding LLC developed a groundbreaking new treatment drug -- but bringing Prastera to market proved more challenging.

Clinical trials demonstrated the 11-employee firm's medication significantly eased painful lupus flares, had no side effects, and halved the risk of breast cancer in patients. The medication takes a new approach to managing systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), according to Health Science Funding, which needed to bring its treatment to the Federal Drug Administration's mandatory structured product labeling (SPL) in order to quickly get Prastera to doctors and patients.

Data Conversion Laboratory

Implementing a new technology in an organization requires planning and complex choreography. Choosing to move to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) standard for authoring and maintenance often involves more than one technology, and always a significant shift in how content is viewed and created in the organization. If you’re planning a DITA implementation project, you already know it’s not for the faint of heart. But following some common sense best practices can make it more manageable, and increase your chances for success.

Marli Mesibov

Let’s play a game. I’ll give a job description, and you tell me whose job it is: this role enhances information architecture team accomplishments and competence by planning delivery of solutions; this role researches and analyzes user needs, preferences, objectives, and working methods, and studies how users consume content; this role validates content delivery by developing and completing usability test plans, evaluating user flows traffic patterns, and studying user feedback; this role creates wireframes that illustrate site layout, navigation, controls, and content prioritization.

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