Bret took copious notes as we talked, jotting down every bit of information I was willing to share, even down to the little pet phrases an other ideas that I've acquired through years of NOC design and maintenance. He has a very interesting way of putting a paper together: he puts everything into outline format, one sentence per outline item. Then, once he has the outline filled out and feels that all the material is there, he just removes the outlining, making the top and second level items his section titles and paragraphs. It produces a very information-dense, well-organized paper. I never would have thought to write like that, so I'll be playing with the idea over the next few weeks and months to see if something like that works for me.
The paper still needs a little polishing, but I really like how the first draft turned out. I think that the LISA folks will like it--at least, I hope so, because it would be great to be able to present it. There really is very little out there on NOC design, especially from a usability perspective.