Andersen, Rebekka. “The Rhetoric of Enterprise Content Management (ECM): Confronting Assumptions Driving ECM Adoption and Transforming Technical Communication.” Technical Communication Quarterly 17(1), 61-87. 2008.

  • begins by noting that TC is changing. New pressures are pushing TC managers to do more with less. This often results in turning to .XML based content management (CM) solutions to better address document construction needs and business goals (62).
  • Enterprise Content Management: “the technologies, tools and methods used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content across an enterprise” (63). In essence, enterprise data governance. This requires a common content and metadata model that can be used across the various contexts in an organization.
  • The authors takes up promotional materials and marketing materials in this piece to “problematize the rhetoric that vendors are using to sell ECM technologies” (64). The author argues that TCers must intervene in EMC discourse to shift the rhetoric to better include TCers.
  • OF IMPORTANCE: “I end by arguing that as long as technical communication scholarship lacks visibility and accessibility, focuses exclusively on end users and rhetorical problems, and fails to make strong business arguments for rhetorical work, those making critical business decisions will continue to view ECM as a technical solution to the sociotechnical and rhetorical challenges of empowerment, collaboration, quality, usability, and technology adoption” (63). [1. Of particular import to your work. Essentially, you’re arguing for how TCers can actually make business work better by putting their rhetorical skills to use vis-à-vis RGS and computational linguistics.]
  • The author goes on to highlight how narratives of control and empowerment proffered by the ECM advertising arm are actually quite harmful. New ECM technologies actually allow for a higher degree of command/control [2. Think Deleuze/Guattari here on command/control economy]. This challenges the dominant narrative of technology as a good or value-neutral.
  • The ECM/single-sourcing model also challenges TCers control over two of the canons: arrangement and delivery. These are typically outsourced to data architecture designers and information technologiests/web builders (74).
  • The author provides these questions as jumping off points going forward:


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