© Ugur Akinci
Gone are the times when technical writers used to design their own pages, decide on the character and paragraph styles, write the content, and then publish their work. Almost every integrated technical documentation platform these days separate the role of template makers from those who actually compile the content and sit down and write it.
Author-it pushes this new division of labor among the technical communicators one step further: it also defines a new role for administrators.
Here are the three main roles in Author-it:
Designers — the developers who define the templates together with paragraph, character, page, media objects, marker, etc. styles. They define metadata, reuse principles, and what the final deliverables will look like. Just like ePublisher, Author-it also guarantees a uniform output style and strict adherence to corporate guidelines by taking the writers out of the template development business. That means more control over the deliverables, higher productivity, and less customer disappointment and legal problems.
Administrators — the staff members who register new users, set up user groups and access permissions, define variables, setup and maintain the database. An administrator has the highest level of access to the system and can act both as a designer and an author; but not the other way around. The administrator is the “boss”.
I have a feeling, with the exception of really big technical writing departments with twenty or more writers, the role of a Designer and Administrator will be fulfilled by a senior or lead tech writers with the desire to keep up with new technology and a knack for system administration. If you’re a lone writer and using Author-it, you’ll have to shoulder all three roles yourself.