Re: On-Line Vs. Print, Single-Sourcing, and how to ignore the obvious

Subject: Re: On-Line Vs. Print, Single-Sourcing, and how to ignore the obvious
From: "Doc" <doc -at- vertext -dot- org>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 2 Aug 2002 20:01:53 -0400


"Andrew Plato" <gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote in message
news:163974 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-

>> Rebecca Downey wrote in message
>>
>> Good morning.
>> Welcome back Andrew. I missed your acerbic wit.
>> I would like to know *what* are the differences between On-Line and print
>> documentation in your humble opinion.

> One is physical the other is not.

What exactly isn't physical? This is a nonensical statement. Both paper and
display are media that display text and graphics. The difference is in the
aspect ratio and the greater ease with which you can access the indexing and
cross-referencing.

> One can be interacted with, the other is static.

The use of a printed manual isn't interactive? That sounds like someone who
has never used one. Neither medium is static both require significant
user-interaction in order to divulge their contents. The paper manual
requires more effort than the electronic.

> Do you really need me to point this out?
> People have preferences, of course. But how we consume information is
variable.
> People consume electronic data differently then printed data. And
therefore,
> making the two media share the exact same information is doing a
disservice to
> one or the other. And in my stupid opinion, printed documents are getting
more
> and more useless. There is less and less conceptual information. And I am
a
> person who likes to read concepts. I can figure out instructions on my
own. I
> want to hear the concepts so I can fit the technology into my needs.
>
> Sure the two overlap. That's why copy/paste was invented.
>
> Andrew Plato


Here's an interesting series of questions:

* My father's eyes started giving him trouble. I got him a book
magnification system that uses a video camera to magnify the text onto a
video display. Is he interacting with the text in a different way?

* Suppose we formatted our manuals so they were bound at the short end. What
difference would that make to the content.

* Suppose we could get displays (they used to be available) that displayed
in full page format. What difference would that make to the content?

* Suppose we provided books with an electronic index. Would the content
change?

I believe that if the quality of the content is good, it does not require
modification.

Irascibly yours, (and after going to the archives and re-reading his posts,
more than ever certain that I'm not talking to AP)

-Doc
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
David 'Doc' Lettvin
VerText
"Versatile Text for reusability and globalization"
http://www.vertext.org
vox: +1.978.468.1105
fax: +1.775.248.0508




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