Maplekeys Kitchen Garden

Kate Hamilton
Work with with creative writers and computers led me to the history of technology for a big picture of the changes I was involved in, and to markup standards (SGML, now XML) for practical ways to make content management easier.

Since then I have worked with dozens of content owners in fields from reference materials to library databases to healthcare data, in both face-to-face and distributed environments.

My strong skills are content and process analysis and modeling, liaison between content expertise and development expertise, implementation for new adopters, and training at all levels. I'm adept with XSLT, XSL-FO, and related technologies. I also have a lively interest in new markup applications and interfaces.

Standards Deployment
When deployment is given as much attention as standards development, a good standard can take hold, thrive, and deliver the benefits it was designed to deliver. Three decades of supporting the roll-out of new standards have reinforced some preconditions for success.
  • A concrete business need for the benefits. A change impelled by force (e.g., legislation, or a vice-presidentís say-so) will encounter sand in the gears and fail.
  • A work improvement for all the people who do the work. (An editor might be relieved of the low-status chore of checking cross-reference numbering.)
  • A concrete representation of the new benefits accruing. (A regular report of the climbing numbers of documents available for searching makes progress toward the goal visible.)
  • A process redesign that captures desk-level value-adds. (High-end typesetters correct grammar; when typesetting is replaced by templates, those errors pass uncaught and will be judged failures of the technology, not failures of process design.)
  • An internal champion positioned above all the departments affected, who can advocate credibly on sensitive topics such as role redefinition and budget redistribution.
I presented this approach in a chapter of Liora Alschuler's ABCD...SGML, published in 1995.

My most recent work has been with the Clinical Document Architecture (CDA), a UML-based model for healthcare documents. Starting in 2007 I was privileged to deliver an innovative project implementating CDA reporting for the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

CDA is a rigorously designed and somewhat abstract model that requires some background to employ. At Balisage 2010 in discussion with Ann Wrightson I germinated the idea of a "simple" CDA which came to light as an HL7 methodology called "greenCDA". The greenCDA approach can be used by any consultant, and was one of the minor inspirations for FHIR.

At Balisage 2012 Lauren Wood and I presented a paper on the special characteristics of the CDA model and the challenges in validation that require the use of a language such as Schematron.