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Industry 4.0 meets technical documentation

Industry 4.0 - buzzword, hype and everyone is talking about it. But what is behind all this? What does the digital networking of the industrial value chain mean and what are the consequences? more ...

Metadata for intelligent information and iiRDS

On November 13, 2017, Ulrike Parson gives a talk on "Metadata for modular information" at the tekom regional group in Hamburg. more ...

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How to become a technical writer – Confessions of a former translator

A former translator, I worked the first seven years of my professional life in the translation industry, in various positions. While I learned a lot from this experience, it also left me, as a writer, frustrated. Translators are chained to their source text and writing the words of others in another language, usually focusing on what their clients want. more ...

tekom impressions part 2: API documentation and the VUKA world

Daniela Herbold and Ulrike Parson write about better API documentation and solutions for innovative human resources management. more ...

Glossary

Search for glossary terms (regular expression allowed).
Term Definition
Annotation

Meta data that is used to structure and describe information or source code. In the semantic Web, machines, such as computers, use meta data to access the meaning of information and interpret it.

API

Application programming interface. Set of routings, protocols, and tools that gives programmers access to the features of an operating system or application and defines how software components interact. An API can also assist distinct applications in sharing data and thus enhance their functionalities.

CCMS

Component content management system. Manages content at a component level rather than the document level. Each component represents a single topic, concept, or an asset. This can be an image, a table, a product description, or a procedure.

Confluence

Commercial team collaboration software developed by the Australian company Atlassian. Confluence is mainly used in corporations for communication and knowledge exchange. For example, tasks with deadlines and reports can be added to pages in Confluence to keep all team members up-to-date.

Content Delivery Portal
Content delivery portals offer a web-based interface for presenting comprehensive information and documents and making them accessible to users. The contents of the portal are enriched with metadata, enabling the different target groups to use context-specific filters and to perform semantic searches. The content is not created in the portal, but rather comes from another or multiple authoring systems.
DITA

XML-based information architecture for authoring, producing, and delivering technical information. DITA content is created in modules, so-called topics. Each topic covers a specific subject.

DITA OT

DITA Open Toolkit. Open-source publishing tool for DITA that converts DITA content into various output formats, such as PDF, XHTML, or ODT.

DocBook

Freely available information model that is defined in an XML and SGML document type definition (DTD). The DocBook structures are mainly sequential and book-like, but can be used for a broad variety of documentation content. DocBook is an open standard, which is used by many open-source projects for their documentation. It also provides semantic elements for specific purposes, such as software and hardware documentation.

DTD

Document type definition. Defines the valid elements and attributes in an XML document and determines how they can be used and which subelements they may include.

Flipped Classroom

Form of blended learning in which students learn content outside the classroom, e.g., by watching video lectures or tutorials. Instructional content is often delivered online. Afterwards, students and teacher meet in the classroom to discuss the instructions, apply the knowledge, and do excercises.

Folksonomy

Folksonomy (folk+taxonomy), also known as social tagging, is a user-defined metadata collection. A folksonomy evolves when many users create or store text at particular sites, such as wikis, and identify via tags what they think the text is about. Folksonomies differ from taxonomies: Folksonomies structure content via user tags; taxonomies are classifications defined by more formal methods that do not necessarily include user-generated tags.

Heuristic analysis

Special method to evaluate the usability of a product, for example, a website, a software, or documentation. To identify potential problems, usability experts compare the product step by step to a checklist. This checklist includes a collection of generally accepted design principles (heuristics).

IDE

Integrated development environment. An all-in-one application for software engineering that combines a source code editor, a compiler, a debugger, and other tools in a graphical interface.

Increment

In Scrum projects, great tasks are broken into small and self-contained increments. Each of the increments can be released in one sprint. An increment is the sum of all product backlog entries that have been completed during the current sprint and the previous sprints.

INVEST

The acronym stands for a checklist of criteria that help evaluate and improve requirements that are written as user stories.  I(ndependent). N(egotiable). V(aluable). E(stimatable). S(small). T(estable).

Kanban

Method or scheduling system for managing processes. Originally developed at Toyota Motor Corporation as a flexible production system. Kanban reduces the number of parallel activities, shortens processing time, and quickly points out problems and shortages.

MediaWiki

Open source software for building and publishing wikis, for example Wikipedia. Other components like semantic wikis can be added.

Meta data

Data about data. Meta data contain information about data characteristics, but not the data itself; for example, information about the author in a Word file. Meta data can be visible or invisible for the reader.

Ontology

Describes, based on standardized terminology, an area of knowledge and the relationships and derivation rules between the defined concepts.

OWL

Web Ontology Language. Markup language for mapping and processing ontologies. OWL is used when applications need to process information in documents.

oXygen

XML editor created by Syncro Soft. oXygen is often used in technical writing as it supports, for example, DITA, DocBook and other types of publishing.

Personas

Hypothetical users with different characteristics and behavior who represent a certain user group. Personas are applied in user-centered design and often used in product and software development and strongly support the user's point of view.

PI-Mod

Freely available information model that provides XML structures for modular user and service documentation and supports flexible assembly of documents. Mainly used in the mechanical engineering and plant construction industry and sectors linked with it. Can be easily integrated into content management systems.

Programmer's guide

Documentation type in software engineering with  conceptual information about the product and the architecture of an API or framework, descriptions of programming tasks (recipes), and programming examples.

RDF

Resource Description Framework. Standardized description language to express logical statements about arbitrary things (resources). These statements are defined as so-called triples, i.e., a subject and an object are related to each other. Expample: John [subject] is the father [relation] of Mike [object].

Schema

Alternative markup language for defining the valid structure and content of XML documents and their elements. Contrary to DTDs, Schema uses the XML syntax and is more flexible. Required content of tags and attributes can be specified more precisely compared to DTD.

Scrum

Agile process in software engineering where a complex project is developed in increments. Scrum teams can release products in shorter cycles, which leads to faster feedback, continual improvement, and rapid adaptation to change.

SPARQL

Simple Protocol and RDF Query Language. Query language for the semantic Web. SPARQL can query, retrieve, or even manipulate data stored in RDF format.

Sprint

Development cycle in a Scrum project. A sprint begins with a planning meeting, in which the goals are defined, and ends with a retrospective meeting. Sprints are restricted to a specific duration, normally between one to four weeks.

Stakeholder

A person or a group that has in interest in an organization's business activities and can affect these activities or be affected by them.

Taxonomy

Method to classify and categorize objects based on their characteristics.

UML

Unified Modeling Language. Standardized modeling language, which is used, for example, in software engineering to visualize structures, architectures, behavior, and processes. UML defines identifier for important terms and the possible relations between these terms.

Use case

Describes how a user (actor) uses a system to accomplish a task. In software engineering, a use case is a list of steps, which define the interactions between the actor and the system and lead to the goal.

User story

User stories are often used in agile software development to define specifications from the users' point of view. In one or two sentences, written in everyday language, user stories capture what users need to do their jobs or what they require from a product. User stories are listed in a so-called product backlog and evaluated with the INVEST criteria.

Variant management

In technical documentation, variant management helps to better manage the documentation modules for the different editions and purposes of a product. Documentation can be created more cheaply and target-group oriented and easier maintained.

W3C

World Wide Web Consortium. International community that defines open web standards, such as protocols and guide lines.

Wiki

Web-based tool for collecting and displaying knowledge. Every wiki user can contribute, share, or edit.

XML

Extensible Markup Language that presents data structure in a format that is readable by humans and machines. With XML, data can be exchanged between different platforms and systems.

XPath

Query language that addresses parts of an XML document. Xpath is designed to be used by XSLT, for example.

XSL

Extensible Stylesheet Language. Umbrella term for a language family consisting of XSL-FO, XSLT, and XPath. XSL defines the transformation and output of XML documents.

XSL-FO

Extensible Stylesheet Language Formatting Objects. Markup language and part of the XSL language family, which is used to describe how to arrange text and elements on a page. XSL-FO is mainly used to create PDF documents from XML sources.

XSLT

Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations. Component of XSL and used to transform XML documents into formats like HTML or other XML definitions.

XWiki

Open-source and extensible semantic wiki.

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