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An underlying Electronic Document Management (EDM) application may be used in contemporary publishing environments to manage the sheer volume of diverse documents and data throughout the publishing process.

EDM is a powerful technology, especially when integrated with publishing tools. However, a surprising number of publishing environments have not yet embraced it.

The EDM application addresses administrative concerns such as user access to data, check-in/check-out, versioning, where-used, and even workflow, while also providing for the creation and revision of specific metadata associated with individual documents archived in the vault.

EDM Manages Illustration

Although there are numerous variations on the EDM theme, in a conceptual technical documentation workflow, legacy data and completed engineering designs are accessed and repurposed and combined with new art into illustrative product views. These are then incorporated into various forms of product documentation, such as:

  1. Operational Method Sheets
  2. Installation Guides
  3. Operation Manuals
  4. Service Manuals
  5. Parts Catalogs

And these publishing projects-involving multiple departments-can be efficiently managed by the enterprise using an underlying EDM as the technical publishing foundation.

The development and maintenance of artwork and documentation throughout multiple revision cycles is critical to an efficient publishing process. Typical elements that must be managed in contemporary publishing environments include:

  1. Reference data: line art images, sketches, CAD data, legacy art, digital photos, screen captures, video still frames
  2. Symbol and clip art libraries
  3. Illustrated components and associated metadata
  4. Base assemblies common across different layouts
  5. Service details
  6. Locators
  7. Standard page layouts and drawing borders
  8. Composed illustrations
  9. Intelligent CGMs (components) and companion XML files (attributes)
  10. Manuals, sections, chapters, TOCs, indices, appendices
  11. Style sheets, DTDs, FOSIs, templates, document instances

Effectively managing these diverse publication elements over time prevents loss of data and enables rapid access to data for use in different publications-throughout multiple revision cycles.

EDM Manages Composition

Technical documentation undergoes repetitive revision over time; making effective management of archives a key issue. And finished documentation can take many different forms, utilizing different distribution mechanisms such as hard copy, CD-ROM, Internet and intranet. Popular forms of documentation include:

  1. The printed page
  2. Hypertext page-turners
  3. Hyperlinked electronic books composed of chunked data
  4. Hyperlinked multimedia comprising text, graphics, animations, video, and sound
  5. Web site publications made up of the same elements mentioned above
  6. Interactive Electronic Technical Manuals (IETM)

The last of these examples-IETM-is a complex database-driven form of publication governed by three dovetailing Tri-Services MIL-specs; but the term "IETM" is often mistaken to be synonymous with common electronic book publications.

EDM Manages Distribution

Many times, for many business reasons, a company must distribute an electronic document in multiple forms, such as hard copy and CD-ROM page-turner. This requires considerable up-front planning in terms of the entire publishing process, as well as the overall design of the system configuration.

As publishing requirements become more demanding-largely due to the essential nature of technical information in the organization and the ongoing management of this data-an integrated EDM is emerging as the necessary foundation for automated publishing environments.

To find out more about Auto-Trol™ KONFIG® EDM, PDM, and workflow product, visit KONFIG.