Multimedia and online documents

Subject: Multimedia and online documents
From: Elna -dot- Tymes -at- SYNTEX -dot- COM
Date: Fri, 16 Sep 1994 10:37:40 PDT

Some data at this week's Seybold Conference indicated that while 50% of the
computers being shipped in the last couple of years have CD-ROM drives, there
are few titles being sold, and most of those are in the consumer marketplace.
I'm curious about whether the interactive-enabling features and the sheer
volume of storage that make CD-ROM an attractive medium have managed to make
serious inroads into the world of technical documentation. I've heard
variations on the war stories about Novell's distributing their documentation
on CD-ROM instead of paper and having their customers flat-out refuse to use
it, insisting instead on paper versions. [Can anyone tell us the real story
behind this one?] I've also heard that it costs considerably less to produce
documentation on CD-ROM than it does to put ink on paper, and that this is one
of the driving forces, even if the customer appears not to want their docs in
this medium.

I've also heard that, increasingly, producers are putting their doc files
online and letting the customers decide whether they want to read stuff on the
screen or download and print locally. It appears that LANs, at least, are so
popular in the business information world that connections to servers are
offering compellingly economical alternatives to ink-on-paper documents.

Anyone have any recent experience with what many manufacturers think is a
trend? Or are they offering solutions in search of a problem?

Elna Tymes
Los Trancos Systems

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