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LINGUIST List 21.3270

Fri Aug 13 2010

Qs: Narrative Structure of Business Documents

Editor for this issue: Danielle St. Jean <daniellelinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Bruce Nevin, Narrative Structure of Business Documents

Message 1: Narrative Structure of Business Documents
Date: 11-Aug-2010
From: Bruce Nevin <bruce.nevingmail.com>
Subject: Narrative Structure of Business Documents
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In some variety of discourse analysis has anyone analyzed the
structures of business narrative documents? I'm on the technical
committee for the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA), an
XML architecture standard under the aegis of the Organization for the
Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS). DITA was
initially based in the requirements of technical and user assistance
documentation. I am on a subcommittee concerned with the broader
range of 'business documents' indicated below.

The class of business narrative documents includes for example:
- Records
- Policies and procedures
- Product development & maintenance documentation (such as
proposals & specifications)
- Technical publications
- Sales and marketing materials
- Memoranda and correspondence
- Newsletters and social media

We have done a fair amount of content analysis toward developing a
metamodel for this range of document types. As the linguist on the
committee I've been asked to locate any pertinent research that may
have been done in our field. I'm talking about structure at a fairly high

I don't have access to a research library. Searches I've undertaken so
far have confirmed my perception that the aspects of document
structure that are of interest for this sort of XML tagging are at a rather
different level from those aspects of narrative structure that are
considered by the different flavors of discourse analysis. I would be
delighted and grateful to have that proven wrong.

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis

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