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I think I understand what you're talking about: a way that a user can look at the PN and take a reasonable guess as to the topic, or conversely if they need a particular type of manual take a reasonable guess as to what the PN would be.
You mentioned automotive manuals, but another example is military technical manuals. They tend to follow patterns as well, so that maintenance crews working on several different types of aircraft more easily are able to find the correct manual when they switch from one type of airplane to another. For example, the USAF has a comprehensive breakdown of this for aircraft service manuals, it's something like this:
* First position the number "1" tells you that it's an aircraft maintenance manual
* Next characters tell you what type of aircraft the manual is used with
* Next characters tell you what you do with the manual.
USAF C-5A, C-5B, and C-5C Galaxy transport airplanes use manuals in the "1C-5A" series.
* 1C-5A-1 is the pilot's flight manual
* 1C-5A-3 is the structural repair manual
* 1C-5A-23 is the corrosion control manual
* 1C-5A-10 is the engine buildup manual
* 1C-5A-36 is the corrosion control manual
Because of this system, I can take a fairly confident guess that for the B-2 Spirit bomber, the corresponding manuals are:
* 1B-2A-1 is the pilot's flight manual
* 1B-2A-3 is the structural repair manual
* 1B-2A-23 is the corrosion control manual
* 1B-2A-10 is the engine buildup manual
* 1B-2A-36 is the corrosion control manual
Where I am now, we use a similar method for the product manuals. We're lucky, the part number system is a bit more coherent than it sounds as though yours is. All of our company's parts use a format XXX-YYYY-Z where:
* XXX is a numerical identifier that tells you what product the part was developed for
* YYYY is a sequential number that at least lets you know the part category.
* Z is a "1" for most of the company, but we use it to designate foreign language versions of the manual.
We take the YYYY and break it down so that you can tell more about the manual. By agreement with our configuration control team, our YYYY numbers all fall between 9000 and 9499. The biggest use we get out of these are:
* 9000 to 9049 is the range for operator manuals
* 9050 to 9099 is the range for shorter "user guide" manuals
* 9150 to 9199 is the range for checklists, quick reference cards, and similar items
* 9200 to 9299 is the range for field service manuals and similar documents
This comes in handy when I'm in a meeting for a new product, and I have to cough up numbers for new manuals very quickly. "Rick, we'll need an operator manual and a field service manual for the boat scanner, and an Elbonian translation of the operator manual. What are the part numbers?" "Well, the project number is 456, so in English it's 456-9000-1 for the operator manual, 456-9200-1 for the field service manual, and 456-9000-8 for the Elbonian operator manual."
It's easy for us to understand, it's easy for the customers to understand, and (because some of our customers buy several different types of our products) the consistency makes it look like we know what we're doing.
Hope that helps...
Rick Lippincott, Technical Writer
American Science and Engineering, Inc. | www.as-e.com Â
829 Middlesex Turnpike | Billerica, MA 01821 USA | Fax +1-978-262-8702
Office +1-978-262-8807 | rlippincott -at- as-e -dot- com
From: techwr-l-bounces+rlippincott=as-e -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+rlippincott=as-e -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Hannah Drake
Sent: Wednesday, December 04, 2013 3:06 PM
To: Milan DavidoviÄ
Subject: Spam: Re: Coding documentation?
Yes -- so our "convention" is/was simply sequential -- e.g. "206250" which didn't mean anything in and of itself. It the part was revised, they added "206250_A" and kept going with the letters for each revision. Apparently they are attempting to come up with a new numbering system now, forced because of some software they're migrating to.
The reason I don't like it, is because I would prefer to use a convention that actually means something. One of our support techs is also a car hobbyist and pointed out that car part manuals (at least some) have a very well thought-out convention, so if you knew the convention you could look at a part number and have an idea of what it was.
Also, I'm not sure how they would log documentation as a part number in SolidWorks, and I'd be afraid of screwing up the part number system in their software by adopting their system and "stealing" some numbers.
On Wed, Dec 4, 2013 at 2:56 PM, Milan DavidoviÄ <milan -dot- lists -at- gmail -dot- com>wrote:
> On Wed, Dec 4, 2013 at 2:17 PM, Hannah Drake <hannah -at- formulatrix -dot- com>
> > But, the convention they use for our part numbers doesn't quite work
> > for documentation.
> Can you elaborate?
> --Milan DavidoviÄ
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Hannah L. Drake
Lead Technical Documentation Specialist