This relates to the scenario we are dealing with here; a fitter, who asks for a particular valve during a specific maintenance activity, requires different answers to an engineer who wants general information about this component during product development. Metadata, which classifies the relevant information module and provides information about its useful usage scenarios (e.g. installation, servicing and maintenance, product information), then determines the situation-specific selection.
For enquiries concerning the selection of components (in our example about the valve, but also about the corresponding system), questions like the following are often asked: To which subcategory of a named category does a product belong (e.g.: Which system version from our product range? Which valve of all the valves installed in the system?)? Taxonomies can help clarify an imprecise input, as they show part-whole relationships or quantity-partial quantity relationships and therefore enable even more detailed responses and accurate content output.
However, it may also be the case that the answers turn out different depending on who asked the question, if for instance administrators should receive different and more specific information to standard users. Such user rights can likewise be defined using metadata.
While certain subtasks of the chatbot conversation can be completed by machines, e.g. the analysis of spoken inputs, the technical writing team is still responsible for the content. They gather, structure and classify the content in such a way that the answers are useful and are as user and situation-specific as the chatbot promises.
For creating and managing such information units, a modern XML-based content management system like SCHEMA ST4 is the method of choice. It already offers all of the possibilities and functionalities which have been mentioned above: modular creation of information units, which can then be used and combined as desired; categorisation of content using metadata; creation and integration of taxonomies to depict relationships. Furthermore, integrated translation management means that even multilingual chatbots are within reach.
The known authoring principle of content structuring, which up until now was “only” used for technical documentation, can therefore also be used to bring additional benefits in other applications.