Re: Incorporating third-party books

Subject: Re: Incorporating third-party books
From: Janice Gelb <janice -dot- gelb -at- sun -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 13:09:35 -0800

Jessica -dot- Nealon -at- handheld -dot- com wrote:

Does anyone on this list have experience with re-branding, re-distributing, re-writing (?) another company's manual as your own?
This is a situation where your company purchases the rights to sell another company's software product under your company's name.
The software product already has documentation from the original company that is updated with each build just like your own documentation.
As the tech writer, you have to develop some kind of strategy for the documentation your company distributes for the product. This is a product that 1) you don't know, 2) usually don't have the time to learn (because of the compressed release cycle), and 3) has documentation you inherit but have no control over from release to release.
There can be source files exchanged or not. There can lists of changes from that company or not. Lastly, you may or may not have access to the tech writing group at that company, for whatever reason. So, how do you develop a coherent strategy? Both for initial release and maintenance of your document? Do you simply re-distribute their guide at each release and write your own adjunct startup guide?

The only experience I've had that vaguely seems
similar is products from companies that we've
just bought and are about to be released.

As other people have noted, make sure you have
access to the source files. We've generally quickly
reviewed the docs to make sure they conform to our
legal guidelines, and checked them for spelling and
egregious grammar errors. We also give the other
company's writing department our editorial style
guide in the hopes they might conform to some of
it :->

-- Janice

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Incorporating third-party books: From: Jessica . Nealon

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