There are a lot management consulting companies who specialize in best practices: the theory of single sourcing. Their literature is full of information about strategies, document design techniques, and how to choose a tool or evaluate a product. These companies work to create standards and generalized rules for making single-sourcing work in traditional publishing environments.

These companies have excellent information on their websites about how to get cost savings through single-sourcing, how to write modularly, or how to structure your documentation. When you’re first learning about single sourcing, you can’t find better resources:

  • S1000D Technical Publications Specification Maintenance Group (TPSMG) TPSMG is responsible for the development and maintenance of the ASD/A1A S1000D international specifications. S1000D describes a standard for the creation and publication for technical publications utilizing a common source database
  • The Center for Information-Development Management Founded by Joann Hackos, the CIDM provides “a focused, expert, and progressive forum to support documentation, training, and customer service managers in creating high performance teams that produce effective and appropriate deliverables.”
  • The Rockley Group Members of the Rockley group work with clients to develop “information solutions through a unified content strategy, either for a particular project or across an enterprise. “
  • Single Sourcing: Building Modular Documentation by Kurt Ament This is one of the only books that attempts to bridge the gap between the single-sourcing theorists and the technology developers.

Hackos, Rockley, Ament are, to a significant extent, the existing authorities in theoretical single-sourcing and information design. Their websites have everything the beginning single-sourcer could need. Their books (and conferences) are extremely useful. They are full of detailed information to teach managers, writers, and document designers how to think about single sourcing.

The only problem with this side of the triangle is that nearly all of the literature is theoretical in nature. Most books on single sourcing contain advice about planning, managing, and creating modular projects and documentation. At this, they are very good. What they’re all missing is the rest of the triangle. The components that bridge theory and practice. And they’re not alone.

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