LINGUIST List 21.3270

Fri Aug 13 2010

Qs: Narrative Structure of Business Documents

Editor for this issue: Danielle St. Jean <>

        1.    Bruce Nevin, Narrative Structure of Business Documents

Message 1: Narrative Structure of Business Documents
Date: 11-Aug-2010
From: Bruce Nevin <>
Subject: Narrative Structure of Business Documents
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In some variety of discourse analysis has anyone analyzed thestructures of business narrative documents? I'm on the technicalcommittee for the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA), anXML architecture standard under the aegis of the Organization for theAdvancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS). DITA wasinitially based in the requirements of technical and user assistancedocumentation. I am on a subcommittee concerned with the broaderrange of 'business documents' indicated below.

The class of business narrative documents includes for example:- Records- Policies and procedures- Product development & maintenance documentation (such asproposals & 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 ametamodel for this range of document types. As the linguist on thecommittee I've been asked to locate any pertinent research that mayhave been done in our field. I'm talking about structure at a fairly highlevel.

I don't have access to a research library. Searches I've undertaken sofar have confirmed my perception that the aspects of documentstructure that are of interest for this sort of XML tagging are at a ratherdifferent level from those aspects of narrative structure that areconsidered by the different flavors of discourse analysis. I would bedelighted and grateful to have that proven wrong.

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis

Page Updated: 13-Aug-2010