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There are many ways to create the text that goes into publications, and each of them falls into the category of "authoring." This section outlines different authoring tools available for unstructured and structured content and provides guidelines for how to select the right authoring tool for your needs.

Unstructured vs. Structured (XML) Authoring Tools

There are two ways to author content: Unstructured and structured. Unstructured authoring refers to writing content with a traditional word processing application. The author composes text in a document and applies formatting. To reuse information in another document, the author copies and pastes it.

Structured authoring tools are based on Extensible Markup Language (XML) and take a different approach. Instead of using formatting to differentiate one item from another (such as making a title larger than a subhead), the writer differentiates by identifying each item's purpose. For example, the writer would mark a title as a <title>, and not as 24 pt. Arial Bold.

Organizations are adopting structured XML authoring because structured authoring enables them to overhaul their processes for content creation and publishing to improve information quality while reducing costs and time–to-market. You can read more about structured XML authoring if you're interested in learning about its technology and benefits.

Authoring Tool Choices

There are many different authoring tools. The best choice depends on several factors, primarily job role and the sophistication of the publishing process:

Type of Tool Example Authoring Type Job Role Process
Word processor Microsoft® Word Unstructured Knowledge worker, subject matter expert, outside contributor Traditional or dynamic
XML editor Quark XML Author for Microsoft Word Structured Knowledge worker, subject matter expert, outside contributor Dynamic
Web-based authoring tool Quark Author Unstructured Knowledge worker, subject matter expert Traditional
Story editor within a desktop publishing program QuarkCopyDesk Lightly structured Copyeditor Traditional
Desktop publishing software QuarkXPress Unstructured Designer Traditional

Professional Publishers

At most professional publishers, employees typically use authoring tools based on their job roles — usually one of the special-purpose tools available from desktop publishing software vendors. For example, a copyeditor would use QuarkCopyDesk, a designer would use QuarkXPress, and a copywriter would use Quark Publishing Platform Web Client. Outside writers would probably use Microsoft Word.

Corporate Publishers

At corporate publishers (organizations for whom publishing is not their core business), knowledge workers have historically tended to use Microsoft Word and desktop publishing people have used desktop publishing software such as QuarkXPress as their authoring tool. Increasingly however organizations are moving to Web-based authoring tools for business users and subject matter experts. Very large marketing or publishing departments may have greater specialization of job roles, so their usage may more closely resemble professional publishing.

Dynamic Publishers

Organizations of all kinds are starting to move away from traditional labor-intensive, hand-crafted publishing based on unstructured content and towards the automation and reuse of structured content through dynamic publishing. Such organizations must separate the creation of content from its presentation so they can combine components of information into different publications and publish them automatically to different media formats. Depending on the complexity of the information and the publishing process, the primary authoring tool is Web-based content creation software like Quark Author, Microsoft Word or Quark XML Author for Microsoft Word.

Structured Reusable Content

Using Unstructured Content in a Quark System

Despite the limitations of unstructured content, Quark offers some clever capabilities to incorporate unstructured content from Microsoft Word into a dynamic publishing process. In particular, through Quark Publishing Platform, you can associate Word files with components in a QuarkXPress layout so that when the Word file changes, the component automatically updates to reflect the changes. Quark Publishing Platform can export QuarkXPress layouts in an XML format that lends itself to further automation.

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The Case for Dynamic Publishing