Re: paper vs online

Subject: Re: paper vs online
From: "Eric J. Ray" <ejray -at- OKWAY -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU>
Date: Sat, 13 Mar 1993 09:05:15 CST


You said:
>Maybe I'm hopelessly steeped in the past, but I need real books to peruse.
>As a technical writer and one who actually has to use the stuff, I think
>we need online quick reference material, but we also need well written,
>well organized, use as a door stop documentation.

I'll buy that. When I am using documentation I usually end up with
several different pencils, pens, rulers, and whatnot sticking
out of the books so I can keep track of the info I need. It just doesn't
work with online docs.

I did some research into online documentation last semester and there
seems to be a concensus that when it's good it's very very good, and when
it's bad it's horrid. Seems lots of people get lost, and others have problems
managing the windows so they can see their work. Others, of course, don't have
the option of using windowing software, so they have to stop and read
like you mentioned.

From my perspective at this University Computer Center, the problems are
getting worse as more and more documentation appears on CD-ROM for
mainframe applications. We are getting rid of the racks of manuals we have. This
sure isn't going to make users lives any easier. Now they cannot even come
and browse and photocopy the system documentation--I don't know how we will
support them in the future.

Of course, the software companies provides a reader for the CD-ROMs, which
runs on X-windows. That does our users lots of good--most of them dial
in with VT100 emulation.


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