Latest posts by techwriter (see all)
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Using a database to store content has some big advantages. Assuming it is set up and managed correctly, and that users (procedure writers, content creators, etc.) can find, edit, and extract the content they need for a particular document, it can offer value in being able to ’single-source’ certain reusable content, and to separate content from formatting.
For example, you might have some common information that’s used across many documents (e.g. a set of PPE [personal protective equipment], or a partial set of start up or shutdown steps). Writing this content once and storing it in a database to be drawn on as needed for a particular document can save an awful lot of time as content doesn’t have to be written or copy/pasted every time. It also allows for consistency and accuracy — by writing the content once and updating just a single piece of content, whenever that content is used later, it will always be the most current version. And it will always be written the same way as it’s the same piece of content.
The other advantage of storing content in a database is that the publishing of that content can be to one or more formats — e.g. Word, PDF, HTML, DITA, XML, etc. This allows for both ‘for print’ and electronic and web delivery options.