RE: Chapter-page numbering, reasons for

Subject: RE: Chapter-page numbering, reasons for
From: "Leonard C. Porrello" <Leonard -dot- Porrello -at- SoleraTec -dot- com>
To: "Pinkham, Jim" <Jim -dot- Pinkham -at- voith -dot- com>, <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>, "Robert Lauriston" <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 2009 09:59:19 -0800

It's funny, my first reaction was, "Yikes! Only page numbering!," and
then I realized, "Hey, wait a minute, I don't use chapter numbers!"

Leonard

-----Original Message-----
From: Pinkham, Jim [mailto:Jim -dot- Pinkham -at- voith -dot- com]
Sent: Thursday, December 03, 2009 9:56 AM
To: Leonard C. Porrello; neilson -at- windstream -dot- net; Robert Lauriston;
techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Chapter-page numbering, reasons for

Thanks, Leonard -- I suspected as much, but don't mind tweaking the
debate now and then :)

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+jim -dot- pinkham=voith -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+jim -dot- pinkham=voith -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of Leonard C. Porrello
Sent: Thursday, December 03, 2009 11:31 AM
To: neilson -at- windstream -dot- net; Robert Lauriston;
techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Chapter-page numbering, reasons for

I agree. I don't think this is an either/or situation. It depends on how
you publish and how your readers access information. I don't use chapter
numbers in my on-line help or PDFs. Chapters are differentiated by
title. And for the most part, even that is arguably unnecessary. Most
users access the information they need through context sensitive help.
Others, including those who use the PDFs instead of the on-line help,
use search to find what they need. The only users who appreciate
uniquely named chapters that are task oriented are those looking to
understand the big picture. In short, none of my readers--of the
documentation I write for the products of the company I currently work
for--would benefit from chapter numbers.

I would add that if your have two sections that are titled so similarly
that they can be easily confused for one another ("Enabling the Builder
Dialog" and "Enabling the Dialog Builder), you really need to rethink
your naming conventions.

Leonard

PS to Jim, I intended my original comment to pertain only to page
numbering.

Leonard

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+leonard -dot- porrello=soleratec -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+leonard -dot- porrello=soleratec -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- c
om] On Behalf Of neilson -at- windstream -dot- net
Sent: Thursday, December 03, 2009 9:20 AM
To: Robert Lauriston; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: Chapter-page numbering, reasons for

During the printed-docs era we used page numbers in the form of 7-12 to
enable the use of update packages. That style of numbering is now
unnecessary, but page numbers (or some other kind of numbering) can
still be quite worthwhile.

A larger document should be split into chapters. Whether or not the
chapters need numbers, or whether the paragraphs need 7.2.3, 7.2.4, etc.
numbering depends upon the purpose of the document. Some reference
manuals, in which one section closely resembles another, need paragraph
numbering to distinguish particular entries. Laws and military manuals
come to mind. For other books the fancy numbering is superfluous or
worse.

Numbering also allows rewriting to be done by people who are not in
charge of the entire document. "Harry, please replace section 7.4 with
Jimmy's description of the new model. Make the numbering works the same
way. I think MS Word has some way to do that." "Sure, boss. I'll figure
it out. (I hope.)"

On the other hand, documents that are prepared as HTML or blogs
generally have no numbering at all, and sometimes (for that very reason)
are hard to comprehend if there are many detailed sections some of which
look like others. "Enabling the Builder Dialog" and "Enabling the Dialog
Builder" might well be retitled as "Section 3 - Enabling the Builder
Dialog" and "Section 4 - Enabling the Dialog Builder"

---- Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com> wrote:
> My preference is to get rid of chapter numbers entirely. I don't see
> any purpose for them.


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References:
Re: Chapter-page numbering, reasons for: From: Robert Lauriston
Re: Chapter-page numbering, reasons for: From: neilson
RE: Chapter-page numbering, reasons for: From: Leonard C. Porrello
RE: Chapter-page numbering, reasons for: From: Pinkham, Jim

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