Ann Rockley is one of Canada's foremost experts in organizing and presenting information online. She is the founder and President of The Rockley Group, based in the greater Toronto Area. She regularly presents papers and workshops on subjects involving the efficient creation, management and delivery of content for organizations in North America and Europe. She was the lead analyst for The XML & Component Content Management Report on Content Management Systems Watch.
Education and early career
At university, Ann Rockley took a Bachelor of Science degree in Astronomy. In the early 1980s, she got her first permanent job as a junior technical writer at I. P. Sharp Associates. She went on to work for Cemcorp, Unisys, and American Express, then formed Information Design Solutions with two partners, Heather Fawcett and Sam Ferdinand. According to Gerlinde Schuller, information design is a complex, interdisciplinary, and experimental art. The partnership consulted in usability, document analysis, SGML, and large-scale online documentation projects.
In 1995, Rockley left Information Design Solutions to start The Rockley Group. She took a master's degree in information science at the University of Toronto while continuing to work at The Rockley Group full-time.
Involvement with the STC
In the mid-1980s, Rockley took the initiative to revive the Toronto chapter of the Society for Technical Communication, a professional organization for technical communicators, by getting in touch with the international organization's representative for her area, Rennie Charles. The chapter was founded in 1959 but had been dormant for several years. She and Michelle Hutchinson, another technical communicator, assembled a group of their colleagues and presented a plan to hold regular meetings, find speakers of interest, and develop services for technical communicators. The chapter has been active ever since. Among other things, Rockley served as chapter president, produced the newsletter, and was general manager for a very successful three-day, multi-stream conference in 1989. (Hutchinson served as chapter president, produced the newsletter, and organized the hosting of the international society's annual conference in 1997.)
When Toronto hosted the international conference, Rockley proposed producing the conference proceedings on CD as well as in book form. She also volunteered to produce the CDs for the 2500 attendees. That was the first time it had been done. The machine-readable format proved to be so popular that it has been provided in one form or another ever since.
Rockley regularly presents papers and workshops at the annual meeting of the international Society for Technical Communication. She was named an Associate Fellow of the STC for her contributions to the profession, and in 2005 became a Fellow, the Society's highest honor.
Teaching and writing
Rockley is the lead author of a 2002 book, Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy, co-authored with Pamela Kostur and Steve Manning, who both worked with Ann at The Rockley Group. It has become a standard reference manual for content management. Her methodology includes return on investment calculations, which can justify the content management effort to executives.
She is also the lead author of a 2009 book,DITA 101: Fundamentals of DITA for Authors and Managers, co-authored with Charles Cooper and Steve Manning. It is a beginner's guide to understanding the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA), an XML-based architecture for authoring, producing, and delivering information.
Facing challenges such as putting online 10,000+ pages of documentation for a nuclear power plant, Rockley has been an innovator in devising ways to handle large quantities of online information. She has progressed from information design and online documentation through single sourcing to content management for entire enterprises. She pioneered content reuse for a unified content strategy and incorporated the use of XML for implementing that strategy.
Involvement with CM Pros
As her interests became more specialized, Rockley went on to help found another professional organization, the Content Management Professionals (CM Pros), in 2004. She served as the president in 2005.
Involvement with OASIS
Ann Rockley is a member of the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS). It is a "not-for-profit consortium that drives the development, convergence and adoption of open standards for the global information society". She is the Co-Chair of the DITA for Enterprise Business Documents Subcommittee
- Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy. Berkeley, CA. New Rider Books. ISBN 0-7357-1306-5
- Ann Rockley, content management expert
- The XML & Component Content Management Report 2008
- Fawcett, Heather J. Using Tagged Text to Support Online Views. Technical Report OED-89-04. Waterloo, Ontario: University of Waterloo Centre for the New Oxford English Dictionary, July 1989.
- Rockley, Ann. "Ontario Hydro and SGML." Technical Communication: Journal of the Society for Technical Communication 40/3 (Third Quarter, August 1993) 383-386. ISSN: 0049-3155. Author affiliation: Information Design Solutions.
- Toronto STC
- History of Toronto STC
- STC list of fellows (PDF file)
- Rockley, Ann; Kostur, Pamela; Manning, Steve. Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy. October, 2002. 582 pages. New Riders Press, Berkeley, CA. ISBN 0-7357-1306-5
- Rockley, Ann; Cooper, Charles; Manning, Steve. "DITA 101: Fundamentals of DITA for Authors and Managers." May, 2009. 148 pages. The Rockley Press, Schomberg, ON, Canada. ISBN 0-557-07291-3
- Rockley, Ann. Putting large documents online. pp 273-281, Proceedings of the 11th Annual International Conference on Systems Documentation, SIGDOC 1993, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. ACM 1993. ISBN 0-89791-630-1
- Rockley, Ann. Designing an Effective Intranet/Extranet. pp 313-316, Proceedings 1998 International Professional Communication Conference, Québec City, Canada, September 23-25, 1998, Volume 2 - Technical Papers. IEEE Professional Communication Society, 1998. ISBN 0-7803-4890-7
- Rockley, Ann. Putting Large Volumes of Information on an Intranet. Suave Lobodzinski, Ivan Tomek (Eds.): Proceedings of WebNet 97 - World Conference on the WWW, Internet & Intranet, Toronto, Canada, November 1-5, 1997. AACE 1997. ISBN 1-880094-27-4
- Information modeling for single sourcing. pp 177-178 Proceedings of the 20th Annual International Conference on Documentation, SIGDOC 2002, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, October 20-23, 2002. ACM 2002. ISBN 1-58113-543-2
- More papers by Ann Rockley
- Rockley, Ann. Fundamental Concepts of Content Reuse. InformIT, October 2002
- Rockley, Ann; Kostur, Pamela; Manning, Steve. The Importance of XML to a Unified Content Strategy. InformIT, December 2002
- Content Management community of practice
- The Rockley Group, Leadership
- Goals of the Enterprise Business Documents Subcommittee of OASIS