In my role as a Quality Control Inspector for aerospace technical publications, I proof textual content and graphics, check cross-references of information, query questionable statements, and ensure the publication is formatted in accordance with customer specifications and company standards. I am also the Lead in my department, and responsible for training and documentation of departmental processes. I believe that consistency of process, effective tools, and real-time, collaborative communication adds quality to our product.
A year ago I was given the opportunity to participate in the maiden voyage of utilizing S1000D software for our company projects. I felt it might be of interest to share an opinion of S1000D from my unique perspective.
S1000D requires a document to be broken down into individual data items (called Data Modules). This intensifies the focus, allowing for concentrated effort on one specific piece of data at a time. The S1000D R4i CSDB we utilize makes phasing nearly effortless with a Data Module starting its life as an empty shell, then it moves into production status and into active authoring.
Once authored, the module goes into a queue for immediate inspection. A real-time situation presents itself and the writer and inspector are positioned to work in concert with one another, using Comment Modules to provide feedback when the scenario needs to be officially managed and tracked in the CSDB. With the review of the Data module being immediate, specific data is recent in the writer’s mind, allowing responses to queries to be prompt, and unnecessary delays in processing are avoided.
The structured approach of entering descriptive content generates consistency across all modules even though there may be numerous writers on board. Several inspectors may work the same project at the same time and still the consistency factor is met.
The arrangement of data, page layout, and formatting issues are set up and controlled through stylesheet programming and transform tools. This allows inspectors to remain focused on the content rather than style presentation of the data. Once approved and locked into the database, modules can be re-used in different publications as applicable. This greatly reduces duplication of content and eliminates repetitive inspections.
S1000D provides an effective approach for inspectors, giving us an avenue for increased quality and greater productivity.
Jennie S. Lees