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Beyond Schemas: Planning Your XML Model by Jennifer Thompson

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Creating a Reuse Strategy

After identifying structures in your information, consider creating a reuse strategy. How do you want to take information from one place and reuse it in another? By knowing the structures of your information before creating the strategy, you can decide how to deliver your information and at what granularity it needs to be maintained. Once you identify the structures, begin to outline the categories in which you will reuse your information.

Reusing content provides the best return on investment in most projects. Whether you create a web site containing a calendar, a news feed in more than one place, a bill of materials for a product you are shipping out next week, or user guides explaining similar products, there are opportunities for reuse. Reusing information improves our ability to see patterns and structures.

There are two ways to reuse information. The first is to accidentally come across information you can use in your deliverable because it applies in some way or another. The other way is to plan for reuse in advance. If you do so, it is likely to be more beneficial than if you accidentally reuse pieces of your information.

The best way to plan for reuse is to set up a spreadsheet. Use this as an iterative planning approach to create your documentation. If you or someone else you work with have already authored a piece of information, you may not need to write it over again—maintaining your spreadsheet is how you will know if the information already ...

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