Structured Writing

Robert Horn's perspectives... (though his essays don't seem to follow his own guidelines...) This seems particular appropriate to Wiki and OutLining, plus other forms of HyperText. But note that his focus/Context is on relatively "stable" information, as opposed to the process of Writing/thinking collaboratively.

Structured Writing at Twenty-five defines the context. The problems of today's instructional developers and business writers are considerable. They have to prepare training manuals that enable managers, sales people, office personnel, and technicians to learn new products, services, and operating procedures rapidly and precisely. They have to describe complex, technical and administrative subject matters to a huge variety of audiences. In newer challenges they have to provide online, just-in-time documentation and training to millions working at their personal computers. Proposals, reports, and memos must be prepared rapidly, clearly, and concisely to meet the high performance communication needs of business today. Structured writing was developed to meet these challenges.

And suggests a presentation style based around "Information Blocks". Information blocks are the basic units of subject matter in structured writing analysis. They replace the paragraph as the fundamental unit of analysis and of presentation. They are composed of one or more sentences and/or diagrams about a limited topic. They usually have not more than nine sentences. They are always identified clearly by a label. Information blocks are normally part of a larger structure of organization called an information map which can be defined as a collection of one to nine blocks all related to a specific topic. In short, they are a reader-focused unit of basic or core parts of a subject matter.

Structured Writing as a Paradigm covers similar ground.


May'2018: Tiago Forte has a tweetstorm summarizing SW, and a link to his EverNote notes.

Mar'2021: interesting gloss on parsing a block into phrases.

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