CIDM User-Generated Content Study


In a presentation I gave a couple of years ago, I talked about how I found some user-generated content that ended up helping me far more than the user manual did to solve a problem I was having with my washing machine. The user-generated content was more to the point and helped me diagnose the problem, possibly in a way that the writer for the manual could not have foreseen. The folks at CIDM are interested in learning more about whether companies are utilizing User-generated content and if so, how? Not strictly-speaking DITA-related (though there are some products out there that leverage DITA for this purpose) but of interest to the technical writing community at large.

Here’s CIDM’s official announcement and link to the survey:

“Are your customers contributing technical content through your website or other company-organized resources? Are they adding content online through media you don’t control like forums and blogs? Are you actively soliciting customer-generated content or monitoring resources customers have developed on their own?

A growing number of companies and information-development organizations are starting to solicit user-generated content (UGC) and incorporate it into their own information resources. To better understand the current state and identify best practices, the Center for Information Development Management (CIDM) is conducting a comprehensive study including this survey and selected interviews. We want to learn

  • what business objectives you have in soliciting UGC and how well are they being met
  • how you are incorporating UGC into your body of information
  • how you are incorporating UGC into your information-development process
  • what tools/applications/websites you are using to receive and distribute UGC
  • how you are motivating customers to provide content to support the products they use
  • what impediments to UGC you’ve found and how you are overcoming them
  • what practices do you believe work best and what should be avoided

If your company incorporates user-generated content as part of its technical content, please take part in the survey linked below. All those who participate in taking the survey will receive a report of the results and a summary of best practices.”

Click here for the survey.


"DITAWriter" is Keith Schengili-Roberts. I work for IXIASOFT as a DITA Specialist/Information Architect. And I like to write about DITA and the technical writing community. To get ahold of me you can email me at:

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