Re: Organization of documentation

Subject: Re: Organization of documentation
From: aschiff -at- factset -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2002 09:53:51 -0500

Hard to answer this question without knowing what your users' needs are or
what the 9 books cover. However, have you considered putting the bulk of
this documentation online? Makes it quicker to update, allows for full-text
searching, context-sensitivity, clickable related topics, etc. It might be
more work up-front, but you'd save big $$ on printing in the long-term.

At my company, we reduced from an ungodly 25-or-so manuals (most were
fairly little ones) to just 3 "intro"/"overview"-type manuals, plus some
quick-reference cards and a 12,000-page online
help/reference/knowledgebase. The manuals provide an overview but refer
readers to the online system for all the "nitty-gritty" information that is
constantly subject to change anyway. We update the print content once a
year, but we've reduced turnaround time for online updates to less than a

The biggest obstacles were (a) getting internal buy-in, (b) getting client
buy-in, (c) See (a), etc. But it's a much more efficient system for all
concerned; the quality & timeliness of the doc has improved significantly;
and our group is much more productive because of it.

Abby Schiff
FactSet Research Systems

You wrote:
<<The documentation of our software presently consists of
about 3000 pages in 9 different books.

I am considering reorganizing it.

I am looking for papers, articles, or books covering
different ways of organizing documentation of such size.>>

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