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I think it's absolutely necessary that you find out who your real users are.
Finding out who needs what information will help you decide how to best break
up your manual into smaller units.
Breaking up the manual into smaller units is certainly a good idea--at least
the act of doing so is a good idea. That activity will force you to take a
close look at how your information is categorized and organized. Once
you're finished, you might even find that your info is organized well enough
to remain a single manual--ironic. Whether multiple manuals or a single manual
is best depends on what your users need--I don't think that one way is decidely
better than the other.
If you are writing an in-house manual that gets frequently updated, I think
that the 3-ring binder has its merits. But, I really like comb binding--or
other such lay-flat binding--especially for task oriented material.
I'm a big believer in making documentation physically convenient to use, and
8/12 by 11 pages don't seem very convenient to me. A smaller size might
indeed appeal to your users.
Scott Cluff scluff -at- vax -dot- micron -dot- com