21.3270, Qs: Narrative Structure of Business Documents

Fri Aug 13 19:51:42 UTC 2010

LINGUIST List: Vol-21-3270. Fri Aug 13 2010. ISSN: 1068 - 4875.

Subject: 21.3270, Qs: Narrative Structure of Business Documents

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Date: 11-Aug-2010
From: Bruce Nevin < bruce.nevin at gmail.com >
Subject: Narrative Structure of Business Documents

-------------------------Message 1 ---------------------------------- 
Date: Fri, 13 Aug 2010 15:49:10
From: Bruce Nevin [bruce.nevin at gmail.com]
Subject: Narrative Structure of Business Documents

E-mail this message to a friend:

In some variety of discourse analysis has anyone analyzed the 
structures of business narrative documents? I'm on the technical 
committee for the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA), an 
XML architecture standard under the aegis of the Organization for the 
Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS). DITA was 
initially based in the requirements of technical and user assistance 
documentation. I am on a subcommittee concerned with the broader 
range of 'business documents' indicated below. 

The class of business narrative documents includes for example:
- Records
- Policies and procedures
- Product development & maintenance documentation (such as 
proposals & specifications)
- Technical publications
- Sales and marketing materials
- Memoranda and correspondence
- Newsletters and social media

We have done a fair amount of content analysis toward developing a 
metamodel for this range of document types. As the linguist on the 
committee I've been asked to locate any pertinent research that may 
have been done in our field. I'm talking about structure at a fairly high 

I don't have access to a research library. Searches I've undertaken so 
far have confirmed my perception that the aspects of document 
structure that are of interest for this sort of XML tagging are at a rather 
different level from those aspects of narrative structure that are 
considered by the different flavors of discourse analysis. I would be 
delighted and grateful to have that proven wrong. 

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis

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