RE: Documentation process, style guide, intranet

Subject: RE: Documentation process, style guide, intranet
From: "Linda Stark" <lstark -at- ispchannel -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 2000 15:12:22 -0600

I hope someone out there can point me in the right direction. I've searched
the archives, but I guess I can't figure out how to narrow the search enough
to give me the answers to my questions.

I'm fairly new at my company and I was hired as a techwriter/editor. I
recently revamped our Web site - new look, organized info, etc., - and have
two more rather large tasks to fit in around my usual work, which is
writing/editing proposal documents. I'm redoing the intranet and working on
a QC documentation process for everything

At the moment, our company's intranet has nothing more than some HR forms. I
would like to make it into a dynamic tool that all of our field offices and
our headquarters personnel will find useful in their day-to-day operations.
(Yeah, think BIG!) I've worked on other intranets that were truly invaluable
workhorses for the company, but I've never planned or set one up.

While working on my half of the Web site, I also realized that the other
"commercial" side doesn't have a quality control process. Their marketing
info is full of errors in spelling, punctuation, etc.

Our side of the house is in better shape, mainly because the people who do
the writing are better writers, but we have a real consistency problem. I'd
like to come up with a documentation process for the company that emphasizes
quality control. As I see it, the first thing we need is a company style
guide. The places I have worked have all had style guides that ranged from a
dog-earred piece of paper to a 1,000-page detailed manual with samples.
(Which we really didn't follow because it wasn't updated and the info was
out of date. In reality, you were supposed to learn the house style through
osmosis.)

I need some guidance (or an idea of where to look for the info) about how to
plan a style manual. How much information should it include? I don't really
see much point in reinventing the wheel when Strunk's can answer most of the
questions about grammar. Do I need to include "grammar," "punctuation,"
"word usage," etc.? Or is it enough to make our house style guide cover just
the things that are peculiar to the type of work we do? (A lot of it is
government-related so acronyms are a real problem.) Is there any reason to
cover more?

Does anyone have any ideas about how to plan an intranet? My first idea is
to come up with different potential uses different departments could have
for the intranet, but I'm sure I can't think of all of them. From there, I
can work up a sample plan for the intranet, do some storyboards, sample
pages, etc. Does anyone know where I would find that info?

I apologize if this is something that's been discussed recently, but I
couldn't find anything in the archives. Most of the info that I could find
was at least two or three years old, and the suggested www links were dead.

Thanks for any help you can give me. Reply directly to me if you think this
thread will bore everyone to death. I'll be happy to compile and post
results.

Linda Stark
lstark -at- ispchannel -dot- com




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