Single Sourcing

Subject: Single Sourcing
From: Melanie Shook <mshook -at- com2001 -dot- com>
To: "'techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2000 14:11:51 -0600

Taking up the idea of starting a thread that discusses techcomm issues, I am
interested to learn what makes good single-sourcing. I am currently single
sourcing my printed and online help, but I am a novice and would like to
know what other people do and improve what I am doing.

What I have done is the following (very basic):

1.Conditionalize things that refer to printed only materials, such as
chapter & page numbers.
2. Added (conditional) links at the bottom of each topic that refer to
related topics. Generally, at the bottom of a heading1 topic, there are
links to any additional pages that continue the task in heading1, usually
all heading2 topics. So heading1 is kind of an overview of a large topic,
with links to all the heading2s which break it down into usable chunks. Some
of them can be performed independently, but some are in a necessary order -
you need to do 1, then 2. So the heading1 would say something like, "You
need to do X, Y, and Z" with links to X, Y and Z.

What I would like to do is create more of a flow from one task to another
when one topic is necessary before another. Something like a "next" button,
until you reach the end of that task. In addition, there would be "See
Also" links for related independent topics.

But I'm not quite sure how to accomplish this. I'm using HTML Help, which
someone has told me typically uses the table of contents to navigate, but
what if someone does a search and ends up in the middle of a large topic?
How do they go back to the previous step, when they haven't been there? I'd
like to see an example of how someone successfully did this.

Are other formats better at this? Is there a better way to do this with HTML
Help? Any thoughts?


Melanie Shook
Technical Writer
COM2001.com
(405) 419-7032
mshook -at- com2001 -dot- com






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