Re: Single sourcing and embedded assistance

Subject: Re: Single sourcing and embedded assistance
From: Jan Henning <henning -at- r-l -dot- de>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 17 Sep 2002 12:52:56 +0200

>Could embedded assistance completely replace paper manuals and online help?

No, as for example installation instructions obviously cannot be
embedded. Also, it is very difficult, to put it mildly, to describe tasks
in an embedded form. (For example, how would you embed instructions to
make a backup in Windows?)

I believe your statement "Studies have shown that users don't read paper
manuals or online help" is inaccurate in a way that confuses the issue:
Not all users are equal and have the same habits of using documentation.
_Many_ users probably do not read paper manuals or online help cover to
cover, but a lot of those still consult the for individual issues. And
some do read manuals cover to cover or at least large parts.

>If so, would single sourcing have any value?

Single-sourcing menas having one source document for several different
deliverables. If you'd only create embedded assistance, you'd have only
one deliverable, which by definition would make single-sourcing impossible.

Jan Henning

Jan Henning
Am Schlossberg 14, D-82547 Eurasburg, Germany

Phone: +49 700 0200 0700, Fax: +49 8179 9307-12
E-Mail: henning -at- r-l -dot- de, Web:

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Single sourcing and embedded assistance: From: Joanne Vinton

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