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by Quark Marketing Team  |  November 11, 2021

Government Agency Builds Structured Authoring for Content Automation Into Its Digital Transformation Initiative

The Australian Building Codes Board reduces publishing schedule for standards and codes from six weeks to four hours

Structured Authoring for Content Automation

Government agencies and companies within numerous industries across the globe must create, update and maintain specific standards and codes, such as those for quality, health and safety, which also are accessible to the appropriate stakeholders. The associated processes can be difficult, time-consuming and expensive, so automating the production, publication and management of these documents is key to modernization for greater accuracy, speed and cost-effectiveness. For these reasons, organizations are implementing such systems as Quark Publishing Platform for content automation.

One such example is the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB), a standards-writing body responsible for setting safe and sustainable building and plumbing systems standards for the country. These standards are published as the National Construction Code (NCC), which must be maintained, updated and accessible to the public, as well as those in the construction industry. In 2015, the ABCB decided to digitize the NCC’s three volumes and almost 1,300 pages.

Publishing the NCC to the ABCB website involved creating a PDF, relying on third-party developers at considerable time and cost to convert it to HTML, and then importing the HTML into the website content management system (CMS). So the ABCB’s goal was to improve this manual, “clunky” process.

Structured authoring for subject-matter experts

The NCC is a collection of specific clauses, so ABCB’s subject-matter experts need to be able to easily add or update them within a predetermined, consistent format. But rather than have to focus on the technicalities of creating structured content in XML, they need to focus on the technical aspect of their jobs as building experts.

A structured authoring tool that enables the use of preferred word processing software, such as Microsoft Word, with automatic XML generation in the background is key to enabling authors to create structured, componentized or modular content such as that of the NCC or other business-critical documents, such as …

Quark XML Author enables Microsoft Word to be used for structured authoring of content components in XML within a team environment with automated workflows. Part of Quark Publishing Platform (QPP) , it allows the creation of Smart Content: reusable components that are tagged directly with metadata for easy searching and tracking across the entire content estate. Because Quark XML Author combines Microsoft Word’s familiarity and ease of use with structured content authoring, it can be deployed across an organization to realize all the benefits of dynamic publishing, including greater productivity for subject-matter experts.

With Quark XML Author, the ABCB’s authors can simply type while the XML coding happens in the background.

Content Automation increases productivity, reduces costs plus other ROI

In addition to structured authoring, content automation involves managing and assembling the various components of a document and then publishing it to the desired channels.

With Quark XML Author and QPP, the ABCB can assemble a new edition of the NCC in just four hours – that includes three hours to generate it as a PDF and an additional hour to publish it to the NCC website.

By automating all these processes, the NCC’s publishing window of six to eight weeks shrank dramatically. In addition, the job can be managed by one staff member instead of three, and the ACBC doesn’t have to pay outside consultants to covert to the PDF to HTML because it gets “clean and lean” XML from Quark that migrates directly into the CMS.

Besides speed and lower costs, another benefit of automated publishing is that the NCC’s official review and comment period can be extended. The general public and other stakeholders, such as those who work in the construction industry, have an additional three months to thoroughly digest the new building and plumbing codes proposed.

The ACBC has ideas to further transform the NCC, making it even more user-friendly so stakeholders can easily identify the clauses most relevant to them through the addition of metadata and quantification metrics. Making the NCC more integrated and interactive could not just modernize it as an approach to publishing standards and codes but also revolutionize the industry.

You can learn more about the ABCB and its use of Quark XML Author and QPP by downloading the case study here.

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