RE: front matter in manuals

Subject: RE: front matter in manuals
From: Beth Agnew <Beth -dot- Agnew -at- senecac -dot- on -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 31 Oct 2005 08:58:59 -0800

I stopped putting in "front matter" a long time ago. In the very early days
of computers we thought readers needed orienting by telling them "input is
in bold, command line actions in Courier" or whatever. That hasn't been
necessary for years now.

If your manual is correctly targeted (Administrator's Guide to Xenon, e.g.)
then any information about "who should read this manual" is redundant. A
simple statement of scope or assumptions is probably okay though. "This
advanced user guide covers the colour capabilities of Syzyzx; it is assumed
you have significant working knowledge of the basic functions..."


Beth Agnew
Professor, Technical Communication
Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology
Toronto, ON 416-491-5050 x3133

-----Original Message-----
From: bounce-techwr-l-118812 -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:bounce-techwr-l-118812 -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com]On Behalf Of Carrie
Sent: Monday, October 31, 2005 4:29 AM
Subject: front matter in manuals

Our manuals have front matter that include subjectssuch as, who is
intended to read the books, objectives, using the documentation etc.
For some reason the following section also appears there:
"Document conventions: This guide assumes you have a working knowledge
of your computer and its operating conventions, including how to use a
mouse, standard menus and commands. It also assumes you know how to
open, save and close files. For help with any of these techniques,
please see your Windows documentation."

Our user guides are intended for quite technical people, and today,
when everyone knows how to use a computer, is such a section
What do you normallly include at the beginning of a (software) user guide?

Carrie Baker
carriebak -at- gmail -dot- com


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front matter in manuals: From: Carrie Baker

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