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Podcast: The Myth of Single Sourcing

Dec 21, 2009 • podcasts

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Length: 38 min.

In his controversial post, The Myth of Single Sourcing, Michael Hiatt explains:

Single-source publishing is a zombie idea that revives itself periodically and refuses to stay dead. Its zombie supporters chant its purported benefits as a “write once, publish to many” promise and ploddingly follow it as their ultimate goal for mechanized authoring and machine translation. As an object-oriented writing methodology, it is as human as present-day robot technology—good only for conveyor belt assembly or specialized tasks, and always very expensive to implement. Single-source publishing lacks purpose in today's world of information turnover and the dynamic nature of the Web 2.0 moving to Web 3.0 landscape.

In other words, single sourcing your content across the enterprise is an idea that simply doesn't work. I responded to the post and had a lively exchange in the comments, so I decided to interview Michael for a podcast.

In this podcast I talk with Michael about single sourcing, collaborative authoring, mashups, help authoring trends, and other topics. You can follow Michael's blog at Mashstream.com.

(Note: We had a brief Skype issue at the start. The audio gets noticeably better at around the 5 minute mark. It's actually a great example of the clarity that the double-ender recording technique provides instead of just using Skype to record.)

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical communication — Swagger, agile, trends, learning, plain language, quick reference guides, tech comm careers, academics, and more. I'm interested in simplifying complexity, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture and findability, and more. If you're a technical writer of any kind (progressional, transitioning, student), be sure to subscribe to email updates using the form above. You can learn more about me here. You can also contact me with questions.