white papers--summary

Subject: white papers--summary
From: S Mccullough <SOM24502 -at- USAV01 -dot- GLAXO -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 1994 15:29:00 EDT


Many of you have requested a summary of responses to my "white papers"
post, so here goes:

What are white papers?
They started as governmental "position papers" explaining policies, and are
now used throughout industry in a variety of ways. Some companies use them
internally as a way for one department or level of management to communicate
recommendations to another. Some use them to convey technical specs on their
products to other companies. Some use them as a form of marketing, detailing
why their product/technology is best, is worth the price, etc.

What's the appropriate tone?
Generally, the tone is objective, scientific, or at least reasonable. Although
many companies use them as marketing documents, "hype" is not appropriate.
They should sound like a treatise, a report, an analysis, an overview.

How long are they?
Length depends on the intent. Short 1-5 pages; medium 20 pages; long over 50.

Who reads them?
Whoever wants more information on the product/policy/issue discussed. Audiences
can be engineers, investors, high-level decision makers.

One respondent called the "amorphous." I think that sums up what I learned:
that different companies use them in different ways. Still, I have a much
better understanding of them than I did. Thanks again to all of you who
answered my post.


Sue McCullough

Senior Technical Writer
Glaxo, Inc. RTP, NC
SOM24502 -at- GLAXO -dot- com

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