Re: White Papers?

Subject: Re: White Papers?
From: Charles Good <good -at- AUR -dot- ALCATEL -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 20 Dec 1995 20:38:31 GMT

I believe the term "white paper" originated with the British Government.
It refers to an official report that can be on any subject and it is
less extensive than a "white book". Since the 1970's, U.S. politians
have used white papers as position papers or proposals (which makes
them more of an internal document).

The term "white book" refers to an official report on government affairs
which is bound in a white cover. A white book is less extensive than a
"blue book".

The term "blue book" refers to a government publication, usually a
manual or register, which is very detailed (40,000 words or more)
and it is published by a department or a commission. It should not
be confused with the blank, blue cover booklets that colleges
use for writing exams, nor the "blue books" used by blue bloods
as a directory of people considered in social prominence.

In the telecommunications industry, I have seen the term "white paper"
used in two contexts:

1) An internal report containing details on a specific [technical] subject

2) A position paper or proposal submitted to an external standards body

I recall one company had a process of various [color] papers that lead up
to the white paper. For example, a first draft for peer review is called
a "strawman" and it was a gray paper. The second draft was for management
review and it was called a "tinman" and it was a black paper. The final
draft (ironman) becomes the white paper.

The analogy is:

* The strawman is weak and could easily be killed by the peer reviewers.

* The tinman is stronger, but can still die at the hands of management.

* However, ironman is ready to challenge the world.

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