RE: vendor documentation in manuals

Subject: RE: vendor documentation in manuals
From: Gary Robinson <Robinson -at- cominc -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 2002 16:21:46 -0400


One principle I was taught was to never take responsibility for or
possession of a vendor's documentation. It is the client's responsibility
to have the documentation for all of the equipment/software/etc. they use.
References in your documentation to vendor documentation can be helpful but
I wouldn't start excerpting sections of it. Copyright considerations aside,
you are going to have to update your documentation every time the vendor
updates theirs. That means you are going to have to be constantly aware of
any changes to the vendor's material. Should you convey outdated
information that, in turn, causes damage, injury, or some other unfortunate
situation, you might be liable, or at least thought to be partially
responsible for the situation. In any case, it's bad practice and causes


Gary G. Robinson
Technical Communications
COM, Incorporated - An Enprotech Company
7300 W. Huron River Drive
Dexter, MI 48130-1065
robinson -at- cominc -dot- com

-----Original Message-----
From: Lisa Bronson [mailto:Lisa -dot- Bronson -at- ipaper -dot- com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 04, 2002 3:39 PM
Subject: vendor documentation in manuals

Hello everyone,

Have you ever put vendor documentation in your instruction manuals? If so,
did it turn out well, and you've continued, or bad, and you've stopped?

I write and illustrate (some new, mostly maintenance) instruction manuals
for liquid packaging machines, the kind that fill cardboard cartons with
milk, juice, fabric softener, etc.

Our machine are made up of hundreds of parts, some of which come with
vendor documentation. My manager told me this afternoon that one of the
engineers suggested we include some of the vendor documentation in the
appendix of our manuals. We could then refer to the appendix from the
parts of the manual that we write ourselves. The engineer thinks it would
save him and us time, because we wouldn't be reinventing the wheel, so to
speak, by rewriting information that already exists.

I have some objections to this technique (will my user be able to find
information easily, translation issues, and copyright issues are at the top
of the list), and I would appreciate any feedback you can give me.

Lisa B.

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