RE: Living documents?

Subject: RE: Living documents?
From: "Jones, Donna" <DJones -at- zebra -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 15 May 2006 22:11:35 -0500

Jim Jones wrote:

Is 'living' document a regular way of describing
them? Anyway, I like this nomenclature and I'd
guess that an immutable document, one that is not
modified too much over the years, would still be
a 'living' document. A dead one I guess would be
one that is no longer used for any kind of reference.

Here's my take on the terminology based on how my job works. Your
situation may be different.

To create my manuals, I use "living" source files that are shared
between (linked into) multiple manuals. These source files live in a
central location on our server, and they change whenever new information
becomes available, whenever corrections are necessary, or whenever I
think of a better way to say or illustrate something. Changes made to
the living source files may take months to show up in my released
manuals, depending on how important the changes are or on where a
particular manual falls in the queue for being updated.

The manuals that I release are not living, no matter how often they are
revised or how recently they were released. A released manual is a
static snapshot of how the living source files looked at the time that
the manual was released. A released version of one of my manuals can be
"current," but it is not living because it may not change after I
release it. Any updates require a new part number or a new revision

If a manual is made obsolete without a new one replacing it, that's when
the manual is officially "dead" or "obsolete." Some people may still
choose to or need to use it, but we no longer update it.


Donna L. Jones
Technical Writer II
Zebra Technologies
Vernon Hills, IL

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