Content Reuse

Abstract

Content reuse is the practice of using the same content in multiple places. You could use the same topic in different user guides, or the same warning in several topics. This saves time and creates more consistent technical documentation.

With Paligo's content reuse features, you can use the same piece of content in multiple places. For example, you could use the same topic in lots of different user guides, or you could use the same warning message in several different topics. By reusing your content, you can save time and create more consistent technical publications.

The idea is that, as much as possible, you write each piece of content once, in one place. For example, you could write a topic and use that same topic in several different publications.

Content reuse with topics in three publications

Reuse a topic in multiple publications

Of course, it is likely that you will want parts of a reused topic to be different. For example, you might have an introduction that is the same for all of your products, apart from the product name. Paligo has variables and filters (conditional text) for these situations, so that you can reuse a topic but include some differences.

You can also reuse parts of your content, such as paragraphs and images. Again, it is the same principle of "create content once, in one place". So if you have a paragraph that you want to use in several topics, you can reuse the same paragraph rather than create copies of it.

Content reuse in three topics

Reuse elements, such as paragraphs, in multiple topics

Tip

If you are new to content reuse, structured authoring, and single-sourcing, it's easy to be overwhelmed by the reuse features at your disposal in Paligo. This article is a good start to find the right balance for such techniques in single-sourcing:

The 5 Principles of Single Sourcing

Content Reuse vs Copying

What is the difference between content reuse and copying?

With content reuse, you use the same piece of content in multiple places. There is no duplication. You reuse the same piece of content, and so if you change it, the alterations will apply in every topic where that content is used.

reuse-v-copy-1-new.jpg

With reuse, the same element is inserted multiple times. Here, the "Select Save." para element (1) is used twice.

Copying is different, as you make a duplicate of the original. The copy is completely separate from the original.

reuse-v-copy-2-new.jpg

With copy, the element (or text in the element) is duplicated. The copy (2) is a separate element to the original (1).

As a general rule, we recommend that you reuse content when you want to use the same content in multiple places. Use copy if you want to use an existing piece of content as a starting point for a new, customized piece of content that will be separate to the original.

Types of Content Reuse

In Paligo, there are many ways to reuse your content:

  • Topic reuse

    You can reuse topics by adding them to different publications. You can also embed one topic inside another topic as a subsection.

  • Publication reuse

    You can reuse an entire publication by adding it to another publication. For example, if you have a series of user guides, you can publish them all as one combined output by adding them to a single publication.

  • Structure reuse (topics and subtopics)

    You can reuse a topic and all of its subtopics. For example, if you have a "chapter" that consists of a main topic and several sub-topics, you can reuse the entire "chapter".

  • Text fragment reuse

    Every paragraph that you create is stored in a database and is available for reuse. This means that you can reuse paragraphs, list items, steps in procedures and other types of block element without prior planning. For example, if you create a para element and add "Select Save" as the text, you can reuse that same paragraph everywhere that you need the "Select Save" text to appear.

  • Informal topic reuse

    Informal topics are a way of grouping different types of elements as reusable content, for example, two paragraphs and an image. To reuse a group of elements, you can create an informal topic and add the elements to it. You can then add the informal topic to any of your "regular" topics.

  • Admonition reuse

    You can create reusable safety warnings, notes, tips, and other types of admonitions to use in your topics.

  • Variables

    You can reuse single words or phrases by using variables. First, you create variable sets that contain the words and the text that you want to use for those words. Then you can insert these variables in your topics. Paligo has support for several types of variables, plain text variables, image variables, XML variables, and translatable variables.

    There are also dynamic text variables, which can output today's date and similar content.

  • Filtering/profiling

    Filtering/profiling makes it possible to make content more reusable by applying filtering on parts of it, so that the topic becomes reusable in multiple context. Filtering is sometimes traditionally called "conditional text", but it applies to more than just text, it can be any kind of content, including images, videos, etc.

Note

You can also reuse the images in your Paligo Media library.