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“This project was the manufacturer’s largest-ever legacy conversion project to the complex S1000D standard. It was so successful that the Air Force is implementing the same approach for other legacy conversions.
When considering a conversion project, proper analysis, QA, and the right balance between automation and manual review should be considered. Tapping the expertise of a conversion specialist saves time in the long run and produces a better final product."
Automated QC software
Customized software to assist conversion
Independent third-party content audit
Software customization for testing and feedback to ensure structural accuracy and content quality
United States Air Force
Automated Audit of an S1000D Conversion: Quality Control of Aircraft Manuals Post Conversion
Keywords: S1000D, technical documentation, QA audit, legacy conversion
A manufacturer working with the U.S. Air Force (USAF) needed a better way to update its PDF documents, which were published from SGML. Staff members were manually updating content in multiple places. It was time-consuming, impractical, and not scalable. Converting to extensible markup language (XML) using the S1000D international standard for technical manual publications was a solution.
It was the largest conversion of legacy content to be converted to the S1000D standard by the US military, comprising hundreds of thousands of pages of the OEM manuals for an aircraft that the USAF uses. Post conversion, the USAF wanted an independent audit of its first-ever legacy conversion to S1000D.
Data Conversion Laboratory (DCL) was selected to audit the resulting S1000D content. For the audit, DCL created automated software tools that saved the Air Force time and money and provided testing and feedback to assure accuracy and quality.
Working with the manufacturer, DCL developed customized quality assurance (QA) software to optimize conversion results for the manuals. The software was subject to rigorous testing and refining, requiring regular meetings with the manufacturer and the Air Force to update progress and discuss adjustments to maximize its efficacy.
Part of the quality control (QC) effort involved monitoring the automated processes and normalizing content where necessary to ensure a uniform process. DCL customized a QA process and tools that would optimize the results, allowing the creation of reports that:
Identify redundant content
Identify typos in data
Identify missed or incorrectly tagged cross-references
Provide visibility into element mapping
Check tagging structure completeness (for example, checking that table structure was fully tagged)
Check content tagging validity (proper alert tagging, placement)
The extensive feedback from DCL’s QA processes helped the aerospace manufacturer streamline and validate its process for updating technical manuals and facilitated the smooth conversion of the more than 140,000 pages to XML, replacing the PDF library.
Benefits of the S1000D environment include:
Faster, more accurate, and cheaper content sustainment
Ability to release change-only packages, instead of entire publications
Cost savings due to less data to sustain
Added functionality and intelligence to content to include training, filter content by applicability, process data modules, and fault isolation
The process produced 40,000 modules, each representing a logical breakdown (trouble-shooting, maintenance, etc.). These modules are searchable and can be extensively repurposed. The data require fewer pages, and updates occur simultaneously across all relevant content.