Re: Manuals on CD-ROM

Subject: Re: Manuals on CD-ROM
From: Mercedes Abels <maa5906 -at- GRIFFON -dot- MWSC -dot- EDU>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 1996 07:35:44 -0600

My group just went through a CD manual project. The brass contracted w/ a
group out of Atlanta to do the work. Most of us weren't real happy with
what we got. All we have now is a picture of each page in the manual.
Nothing is interactive, nothing is linked to other documentation. We post
scripted the files PageMaker files for each unit's documentation and the
folks on the other side put it on CD ROM. The process could have been
better if we'd had a clearer view of what was wanted up front, but the
idea seemed to have been sold without a clear representation of what
would work best. The project was set up without any input from the
publications staff, we were let in on it after the decisions were all made.

My biggest concern would be to get an idea of what you want the finished
CD manual to do, how you want to present the material and is it being
done in-house or externally? We had a lot of problems in that we are
currently Mac-based and the group doing the work was PC-based. Everything
had to be converted, brought up into PageMaker 5.0, reformatted, post
scripted, sent to Atlanta and then rechecked.

After out first go-round, we sent them a copy of out internal
Publications Handbook so they could have it to help set up the final copy
to match our written documentation. We finally have a product that we can
live with, but, as usual, it was a lot more complicated than it was
supposed to be.

On Wed, 24 Jan 1996, Kent Newton wrote:

> Our company is investigating the possibility of distributing our manuals
> on CD-ROM, possibly as an adjunct to paper distribution or possibly (to
> my dismay) as a replacement for the paper distribution.

> Anyway, I was wondering if anyone on the list has had experience with
> this. Is it practical? What are the drawbacks? What should we look for
> in regards to technology? Should we approach it like on-line help with
> hyperlinks, or should we simply set it up like a manual and use a keyword
> search engine? And so on and so on and so on. In other words, I know
> nothing about it and could use all the collective advice and suggestions
> you have.

> Kent Newton

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