Re: maintaing a list of changes in User Guides between versions.

Subject: Re: maintaing a list of changes in User Guides between versions.
From: Beth Agnew <beth -dot- agnew -at- senecac -dot- on -dot- ca>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 05 Feb 2007 14:12:08 -0500

Why do they need to keep track of these changes? It's additional overhead to you in terms of your time and resources, do you really want to be doing that? It sounds like because they track changes in the product they think you should do it too. I have been asked to keep such a log before. I smile and say, "We don't do that." Are you going to track changes every time you do a spell check, fix some typos -- 2 Feb corrected 27 typos, or rework a sentence. No. (Gosh, at least I hope not!) So then you have to develop specifications of what you'll track and what you won't bother with. Track reworking a paragraph? No. Track moving chapters around? Track swapping in new graphics? It can be nightmare to have to account for all that.

If they want to know if you've documented features X, Y and Z in this new version, it's easy enough to find in the publication itself. If it's changed in the product, they can assume it's changed in the documentation. Of course, if something is missed that's not a problem tracking changes will help. Somewhere you'll probably have notes about what you were asked to do in the new version. With that, the developers readme that lists product changes, and the previous and current versions of the documentation, that should be sufficient. Use a version control system if you want to have a finer grained handle on what details changed version to version, including typos.

When people don't understand what we do as techwriters, they often ask for things that work for other roles but not for ours. Just say no. :-)

Caroline Tabach wrote:

Someone asked us if there is any way that we keep track of changes
that are made in our user guides/helps from version to version.

Is this something that people do?

Since books are changed as a result of software releases, we know more
or less what has been done, but there is no list of changes (or
history file)

Is this a requirement in some sections of the communications industry?


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maintaing a list of changes in User Guides between versions.: From: Caroline Tabach

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