Hi, everybody!

Subject: Hi, everybody!
From: Peggy Thompson <THOMPSONP -at- A1 -dot- OSTI -dot- GOV>
Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1993 11:35:00 EST

This is my 5th or 6th attempt to address list users; I hope I am
not talking to myself again!

Briefly, I am a technical writer/editor with Science Applications
International Corp. (SAIC) in Oak Ridge, TN. I work onsite at the
DOE Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) on a
large Automated Data Processing contract.

I am the lone tech writer--and the first--on this contract.
Including previous positions, I have 6+ years of experience
writing and editing everything from trade newsletters to annual
reports to proposals to administrative reports to fat computer
manuals. Jack of all trades, master of...some. ;-)

Here at OSTI, I am often without resources and camaraderie and
sure could use some help. Primarily, I write computer
documentation for users of OSTI's online information services
(BASISplus search and retrieval databases).

==> A tech communication issue:

As OSTI creates more menu- and mouse-driven user interfaces for
its databases, we are moving away from the huge, cumbersome
reference manuals that used to steer users through austere and
intimidating command-line systems. We are sl-ow-ly migrating to
context-sensitive online help and greatly reduced paper
support--quick reference cards, mainly.

I'd like to know about others of you who are leaving behind the
reference manual mode: how long has your company been moving
away from systems requiring lots of paper documentation and what
sorts of alternative documentation products are you providing?
What works and what doesn't, paper-wise, in this mouse- and
menu-driven world?

An interesting article on this topic can be found in the quarter
1 '93 STC journal: "Let's Do Away With Manuals...Before They Do
Away With Us."

TGIF! (Does anyone say that anymore, or I have gotten REALLY

Peggy Thompson
SAIC, Oak Ridge, TN
thompsonp -at- a1 -dot- osti -dot- gov

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