Terminology and you

Subject: Terminology and you
From: Len Olszewski <saslpo -at- UNX -dot- SAS -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 20 May 1993 15:49:38 -0500


Here's an issue that we are dealing where I am, and I'm curious who
among you faces the same problems.

Do the terms that your engineers or developers use to describe
phenomena, components, products or processes seem to be proliferating at
your job at an increasing rate? Further, do you find that poor
terminology decisions at the research or development end of the business
torture *you* when it comes time to provide documentation? Do words
used imprecisely and interchangably by your R&D folks come back to bite
you, peppering your doc with ambiguity that increasingly seems to be out
of your control? (I hope not, but suspect the contrary.)

We've been trying to provide a clearinghouse service in the publications
group here, centralizing the definitions of terms used so far in our
manuals, providing a formal review process for new terms prior to their
publication (and subsequent casting into granite), and helping and
advising as best we can those in R&D who are inventing terms left and
right, even as I type this message.

Our success has been uneven, but the level of awareness is eons beyond
what it was even two years ago. There is a slow recognition building
here that as our products become more diverse and complex, we must exert
more of a deliberate effort to keep consistency among all of our
products. IMHO, this starts with descriptive terminology.

I wonder if others on this list have a terminology story to tell. This
is a pet concern of mine, and I'd be fascinated by any and all stories
listmembers would care to contribute. Object orientation and GUI's have
provided many thorny issues for us, terminologically speaking. What
about you?

|Len Olszewski, Technical Writer |"Code in haste, repent at leisure." |
|saslpo -at- unx -dot- sas -dot- com|Cary, NC, USA| - Software Truism |
| Opinions this ludicrous are mine. Reasonable opinions will cost you.|

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