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Podcast: Document Engineering, Interview with Robert Glushko

by Tom Johnson on May 17, 2008 •
categories: podcasts web-design

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Duration: 15 min.

In this podcast, Dr. Robert Glushko, a professor at UC Berkeley's School of Information, explains the concept of Document Engineering -- the process of developing document models to make information sharing, reuse, or syndication more efficient.

Glushko gives several examples of document engineering, such as creating a calendar event model that allows an event to by shared across numerous calendars. Or a syllabus document model, which allows students to pull specific data from syllabi across the university in unique ways.

The document models Glushko and his students create help people embrace best practices, rather than merely encoding bad habits. Even the founders of learned principles of information organization and retrieval from Berkeley's School of Information.

In this podcast Glushko also talks about the notion of the transaction. He says the user experience isn't based on how easy a website is to use, or how clear certain labels are. What matters most is the transaction -- whether the merchant fulfilled a promise to the customer, and how smooth and efficient the fulfillment was.

Good transactions are enabled by a plethora of document choreography going on in the background. Information designers make the information fit together well and contribute to successful transaction experiences.

For more information on Robert Glushko, document engineering, the the School of Information at Berkeley, see Robert Glushko's home page. You can also read Dr. Glushko's book on Document Engineering, or follow his blog, Doc or Die.

Here's a related post from Robert's blog about his keynote at Doc Train.

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer / API doc specialist based in the Seattle area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.