Resource Reviews, July 2018: Information 4.0

Proof SheetIn the first Resource Review posted last month, we looked at trends predicted for technical communication in 2018. This month’s focus turns to Information 4.0, sometimes called Content 4.0. Members of our chapter are interested in Informatio 4.0 and we have been exploring it together.
An infographic on the future of technical communication posted recently leads into this topic. Beginning with how consumers are using information, the graphic continues by suggesting collaborative authoring will expand, as will structured authoring, creating content for more varied media and devices, the need to prove value, certification, the need for knowledge of technology, and functions handled by technical writers, including design, graphics, and managing web content.
All of this leads to examining in depth how consumers are using information, and that is the realm of Information or Content 4.0. Emily Furong shares insights on the TWi blog in “Information 4.0 – Making Content Intelligent.” The premise is that Information 4.0 is the framework for delivery of technical communication in Industry 4.0.
The Wikipedia article on Industry 4.0 defines the term as “a name for the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies.” This encompasses cyber-physical systems, the internet of things, cloud computing, and cognitive computing. There is a graphic that concisely summarizes the first, second, third, and fourth industrial revolutions, the latter being Industry 4.0. There is a list of references, making it possible to begin tracking origins and development of the Industry 4.0 concept.
In 2016 Joe Gollner focused his explorations on “Content 4.0,” an article summarizing this work with an epilogue identifying developments in 2017. This article separates the concepts of Content 4.0 and Information 4.0. There are many statements of a factual nature and references, making it possible to further trace developments in the vast field Joe has summarized.
Emily Furong (“Information 4.0 – Making Content Intelligent”) encourages examination of delivery formats that suit the information being delivered and the environment in which the content is being retrieved and used. Augmented reality and chatbots are discussed, as well as microcontent. She also points to two consortia focusing on Information 4.0, The Information 4.0 consortium and the iiRDS (International Standard for Intelligent Information Request and Delivery) and summarizes the work of both.
New ideas and practices typically provoke discussion. Robert Desprez challenges the use of bots in his blog post “Preparing Your Content for Bots? I am Not.” His challenge, and the summaries by Emily Furong, Joe Gollner, and others, offer many thoughts and areas for further exploration. The Rochester Chapter is continuing its study and invites technical communicators to join by following our chapter and sharing on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn (,—rochester-chapter/).
The goal of “Resource Reviews” is to capture highlights of developments and trends in technical communication and provide links to more information. Find all “Resource Reviews” in the Resources category of the Rochester Chapter website.