Re: Revising Numbering System

Subject: Re: Revising Numbering System
From: Dick Margulis <margulisd -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 2004 12:37:56 -0500

pape -at- ecoroll -dot- de wrote:


I'm new to this list, so please let me know if this posting is more
appropriate for another forum.

Nope. You're in the right place.

I'm working at a small engineering firm in Germany that has never had a
designated technical writer before. One problem with the documentation that
I must solve is how the Operating Instructions are numbered. Instead of
linking the Instruction number to its matching product or part number, the
procedure has been to use a six digit number based on the date someone
started to write the particular Operating Instructions. While this system
generates a unique number for each set of Instructions, it creates havoc
because it has no relationship

NB: "relationship" is the most important word in your plaint.

to the product the customer is working with
when s/he calls with questions, nor does it relate to the contract and order
numbers generated by our sales and fulfillment departments.

I welcome suggestions as to how I can do the following:
1. Convince management that a new numbering system is necessary and

Not necessary.

2. Demonstrate the usefulness of a system in which the contract, order, part
and Operating Instructions numbers are all related.


3. Create a such a numbering system.

Yes. It's called a relational database. The unique document number (extant) is the key. Everything else is related to that key. You can create this in MS Access or in any other database management program that tickles your fancy (MS SQL Server, MySQL, etc.).

4. Replace the prior system as painlessly as possible (contact customers re:
the new numbers, re-number existing documents, etc.).

Nope. Don't renumber. Just create the database and train people in its use. If you give them access to it through an intranet page and enforce validation rules on that page, you'll have added value without inconveniencing anyone.



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