Content analysis

Over the summer we analyzed 40-50 hardware driver guides, with the goal of understanding how material is presented in each document and where reuse potential exists.


First we identified a series of topics that appeared to be standard across the set. The title of each document became a row in our master spreadsheet, each topic a column in the spreadsheet.

Next, we each took a subset of driver, read them, and filled in the spreadsheet, putting an X in the column if each standard topic was present in each document. This involved some stretching and judgment calls to find the standard information, which was often buried in the text.

We added unique topics as columns to the right in the spreadsheet.


Among other things, we discovered that:

·         Our documents are not really task oriented. In fact, tasks are buried in paragraphs within concept discussions.

·         Many similar topics exist across the set. Some reuse using the copy-paste-modify method exists.

·         Some topics could be reused if they were rewritten to be generic.

·         Terminology was all over the map.

Having established a general list of driver topics, we decided not to revisit past documents, but to begin with the next driver to be documented. This driver is to become the pilot project for learning about how to use Arbortext and our new CMS, Windchill.

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