paper vs online

Subject: paper vs online
From: Neal Dench <neal -at- HARLEQUIN -dot- CO -dot- UK>
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1993 09:09:44 GMT

On Tue, 16 Mar 1993 15:29:18 EST, HOLLAND -at- IPFWCVAX -dot- EARN said

> So when do we get on-line documentation that'll allow individual users to
> leave keyword-named bookmarks for which they can later search?
> and comments for which they can later search?
> If users could _annotate_ the on-line doc, they'd use it much more . . . a
> it'd then repay the costs of producing it.

Although these are exactly the sorts of facilities which you'd think
were obvious, I wonder if it's the solution. One of the applications
we produce contains on-line doc, which can be kept on screen while you
continue working, and does exactly this sort of thing. Namely:

o Add a bookmark to any page you want
o Add personalised notes to any page you want
o Do a textual search for words in the book

In addition, bookmarks are visible whenever the book is open, so you
can move directly to the relevant page just by clicking on it.
Moreover, personal bookmarks and notes are remembered by the system -
next time you start up, your bookmarks will be there (but no-one

BUT, the big problem is . . . NO ONE SEEMS TO USE IT! The facilities
are easy to use, they're doumented thoroughly and conspicuously, but
they lie there idle. Go figure!

(Actually, I do have a theory as to why no-one uses it. The on-line
doc I've described above is actually just an on-screen version of our
hard copy doc - I know, I know, let's not get into that argument - and
my feeling is that people usually refer to the hard copy. When they
_do_ use the on-line stuff, they know what they're looking for, but
can't be bothered to find the manual. So they can go straight to the
bit they're interested in. In other words, the problem isn't that
bookmarks and notes aren't used, but that the on-line doc itself isn't
ever really used properly)

Neal Dench Tel: +44 223 872522
Technical Author Fax: +44 223 872519
Harlequin Ltd E-mail: JANET - neal -at- uk -dot- co -dot- harlequin
Internet - neal -at- harlequin -dot- co -dot- uk

Barrington Hall, Barrington, Cambridge, England, CB2 5RG.
These opinions are mine, you know.

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