- By Michele Marques, Information Developer Specialist - ITSM
A growing number of companies, including BMC at docs.bmc.com, use a wiki to provide customer-facing documentation. It's easy to author information, and it's easy to copy a page as the starting point for a new topic.
As an author...
When you reuse existing content, you don't have to write that content. Someone else did all the heavy lifting. Or maybe you wrote that content previously.
You benefit from reviews and edits on the reused content. The reused content should be reviewed in the new context, but this review might be quicker.
If you reuse content, you can automatically get the updates made to the reused content. For example, if you are responsible for the source content and correct an error, that same correction is applied wherever the topic is reused. If a customer leaves a comment asking for clarification, you can make the clarification once, and the clarification applies wherever the topic is reused.
When content is reused, readers get the advantage of consistency - the same information appears exactly the same in all locations. For example, if several products use the same reporting console, the general information about how to use the reporting console would be identical. If the content was not being reused, it might be different - and the reader might be left wondering which version was the most accurate or the most complete.
Can you reuse content on the wiki?
Reuse is common in DITA authoring environments, but other tools also allow reuse. Whether you can reuse content in a wiki depends on what wiki you're using. Confluence wiki has features to reuse an entire topic (include) or excerpts of a topic (multi-excerpt include).
Who can reuse my content?
Anyone authoring on a Confluence wiki can reuse any content on that same Confluence wiki instance, and will get the benefits that I mentioned above.
Other people are able to copy and paste from the wiki, or export wiki topics to XML or Word formats. This doesn't provide the benefit of automatic updates, but you can sign up for notification when topics are updated. However, do keep in mind that all content on docs.bmc.com is copyright by BMC.
The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.