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> Do your readers actually update their copies with these frequent updates
> and revisions? Really? (In a previous job, I did one update kit, then
Some do and some don't. My feelings about this are along the lines of the
"you can lead a horse to water..." saying. One thing that we do is update
our master copy of the document so that it includes all of the updated page
numbers. Our policy is to provide the most current version, so we don't stock
previous versions of the doc. This does make things a bit easier if someone
orders another copy of the doc.
The reason that we do things this way is because our clients like to make
additional copies of all or parts of our documentation for their users.
We sell administrative software systems for colleges and universities
(student records, etc.), and the number of users on each campus varies
greatly. We provide the flexibility (through copyright release) for campuses
to make their own copies rather than making them buy all of their copies from
us. Our goal is not to make $$ from our documentation, but to provide an
easy way for people to get a copy of it so that they can do their jobs.
We produce our doc on 8.5" x 11" pages, in three-ring binders. This makes it
easier to add updates, notes, or even extra pages if a campus has customized
the way something works.
> If your readers are actually motivated enough to use the replacement
> pages, then I can see the value in using compound page numbers. If the
> question is what's most *usable*, though, I don't think that argument
> is necessarily relevant.
I agree that what we provide may not be the best-looking documentation in
the world, but I do think that in this case the pagination and production
DO make the document more useful for our clients. In another situation,
however, this may not be the case. We've discussed other options with our
clients and talked to them about how they use our documentation. They
seem to feel that the way we do things now is the best for them. :)
> Let's revise the question, then. If my docs are produced with perfect
> binding (no update kits are possible), is there any advantage to
> compound page numbering?
Because updating the manual is one of the main reasons why we use compound
numbering, I don't think there's a real need for it in any bound book.
However (as stated in earlier responses) it IS important for the reader to
know where they are (i.e., which chapter) when they open the book. If you
don't use compound page numbers, then you could put the chapter number/name
in the header or footer and use sequential page numbering.
BTW, we used to use sequential page numbering in our documentation, but
we switched to compound page numbering to accommodate easier updates.
Senior Documentation Specialist
Program Manager/President-Elect, STC Washington DC Chapter
4375 Fair Lakes Court
Fairfax, VA 22033
(703) 968-4588 (voice)
(703) 968-4625 (FAX)
charles -at- datatel -dot- com