Intelligent Content Experiment with DITA

In my latest master study intelligent content (read more about intelligent content here) has been discussed every now and then, however, it was mainly theoretical stuff that was served to the students. It sounded promising but also very effortful, especially, if you managed your content in a chaotic folder system on the corporate intranet or different tools like MS Word and WordPress. Making that content mess intelligent sounded like building a spaceship and then traveling to another galaxy.

Intelligent content is content that’s structurally rich and semantically categorized and therefore automatically discoverable, reusable, reconfigurable, and adaptable.

Ann Rockley

Master thesis experiment

As effortful as it sounded to me I knew I would probably never try it out, cause the amount of time I need to dig into the topic is just too big. But as I was to choose a challenge for my master thesis it stroke me. 500 hours project… well, why not to invest it into an experiment with intelligent content?

Problem == Why do I do it?

I have already written about a startup I’ve successfully f*cked up. So one of the reasons for that fail (I haven’t mentioned in that article) was poor maintanence process of the the content throughout its lifecycle. Simply said – too much content and too little resources. Intelligent Content promises to solve this probelem as it claims to reduce content creation and maintanence costs dramatically.

So would the startup have had chances for success, if:

  • its content was intelligent
  • whereas the amount of human resources stayed the same?

In order to answer this question I decided on the process and time frame as well as on evaluation measurements.

Goal == What do I want to achieve?

I divided project goals into a business goal and a scientific goal.

Business aimed to improve awareness within its target group (persona) by increasing organic traffic from 1000 to 5000 entries per month.

The scientific question was defined more broadly: ‚Is intelligent content approach efficient for small companies, startups and solopreneurs?‘

Evaluation criteria == How do I measure results?

Evaluation criteria for both scientific and business goals was agreed to be an organic entries metric.

Process == What do I do?

As the project website is huge it was important to declare the limitations of the project. So two content areas have been defined for the project:

These pages needed to be processed and transferred into DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture). For that reason a domain model and a content model were to be done in the first place.

Time frame == How long do I do?

As I was planing to finish my master thesis in January 2020, the time for experiment was limited to 5 months ( from mid August’19 till mid January’20). In this period of time both planing, execution and evaluation had to be done.

Status update

Currently (end of October 2019) I am in the middle of it, having tranferred into DITA 56 of 76 day trip pages and having generated some new articles for the blog section with content creation costs nearly €0 because of content reuse. I am impressed by the opportunities intelligent content opens up for businesses but I also feel like the topic of intelligent content is much deeper as I ever thought.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.

Albert Einstein

Follow my experiment progress on Facebook and don’t hesitate to ask whatever may interest you.

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