Re: Queries on Single Sourcing

Subject: Re: Queries on Single Sourcing
From: lyndsey -dot- amott -at- docsymmetry -dot- com
To: "Bill Swallow" <wswallow -at- nycap -dot- rr -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2004 10:08:13 -0500

Bill Swallow writes:

Your philosophy is correct but your take on single-sourcing is horrible.
Just because your company failed to successfully single-source does not mean
it cannot be done well. Believe me; you cannot tell a good help system made
by hand from a one made by single-sourcing.

You or someone else made this same point when I had a little rant about single-sourcing a short while ago. I agree that it is possible to create good online help using ss, but I don't see how you can use ss to create online help AND a user guide that each contain different information. The whole point of ss is surely to to reduce the time spent on doc by allowing the author to create multiple docs from a single source. As I see it, by definition, the content must be the same, and only the appearance different. And therein lies the problem: if the user cannot find the info in one source, s/he goes on a fool's errand looking for it in another.
When you last made your point about good help, I checked the archives, which informed me that ss'd docs are good only if they contain different info. Well, how? "Single-sourced" and "different" seem to me to be mutually exclusive terms.
Lyndsey Amott
Winnipeg, MB R3G 2J3


RE: Queries on Single Sourcing: From: Bill Swallow

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