Understanding the Breaking Point: When Does Reuse Fail?

Presentation Abstract

Search for “Why DITA?” and you’ll see 18 million results about the benefits of reuse. Google will tell you how DITA reuse lets you push the same content to different channels, for different audiences. The results will say DITA can help you ensure consistency of information. You’ll be assured that you’ll save on localization and increase your writer productivity. DITA can certainly do all of that, but are we looking at all the downsides of reuse when we calculate our return on this investment? Our cross-corporate panel from Dell Technologies (including Dell, EMC, and VMware), challenges the assumption that reuse is always a good idea. We’ll share real data from our case studies to show how we’re identifying the tipping point where reuse costs outweigh the benefits. We’ll talking about tooling limitations and writer overhead. We’ll look at cases where reuse caused poor user experiences, or poor SEO. We’ll share our data and our best practices. We’ll even provide some tips on managing the SEO impact of your reuse strategies.

Meet the Presenters  

Sam Kadwell, Dell EMC
Sam Kadwell is an Information Architect for the Information Design and Development teams in the Storage division at Dell EMC. 10 years ago he began his career authoring hardware documentation and soon thereafter developed a strong belief in the power and efficiency of DITA. As an information architect he encourage technical content developers and fellow information architects to seek out responsible content reuse and to implement common standards and structures for technical content across information development teams.


Shalini Govindaraj, Dell EMC
Shalini G is an Information Architect at Dell Technologies, focusing primarily on the Enterprise portion of the business, but lending her decades of experience across the business.



Jennifer McDaid, VMware
Jennifer McDaid is an Information Architect and Content Strategist at VMware where she leads initiatives to define strategy and implement best practices for search, taxonomy, and analytics. She is passionate about inclusivity in tech and recently defined VMware’s Guiding Principles for AI Projects and Product Docs. Her work designing end-to-end publishing systems improved both customer experience and publishing efficiencies to support 24×7 delivery. Jen has lived in four countries, worked in industries ranging from software to SCUBA, and is always making new food and friends. She/Her.


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