Document conventions?

Subject: Document conventions?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "Techwr-L (E-mail)" <TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>, "'Missy Phillips'" <dictionary_behage -at- hotmail -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2000 09:27:13 -0400

Missy Phillips is <<...creating a user guide. What would I put in the
Document Conventions section of the document?>>

Depends on what you mean by that term, but the usual contents of such a
section are explanations of how you've formatted the document (e.g., "all
boldfaced words must be typed exactly as they appear"), and particularly of
any conventions that differ from the industry standard. What that standard
might be depends on your industry. In technical communication, I'm not aware
of any universal standard, though there are some commonly followed
conventions (e.g., BNF (is that the right acronym?) notation for some
programming languages such as Pascal). In effect, you need to present
anything the reader will need to know before they can understand how you've
presented your documentation.

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

"Technical writing... requires understanding the audience, understanding
what activities the user wants to accomplish, and translating the often
idiosyncratic and unplanned design into something that appears to make
sense."--Donald Norman, The Invisible Computer

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