Re: Death of Paper

Subject: Re: Death of Paper
From: David Blyth <dblyth -at- QUALCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 7 Apr 1996 16:43:05 -0700

My apologies for taking this long to respond to Martin R. Soderstrom (April 1).
I got real sick, then real busy. I'm still real busy, but I need a break.

The context is the continuing discussion HTML, Adobe Acrobat, and the
Death of Paper.

>I've seen this discussion before, and I have to ask the same question:
>Why does there have to be ONE source for absolutely everything?

There doesn't. It's a question of which source is best suited for
technical documentation (or for which types of technical documents).

>I think of the Internet as an addition to my reference sources, not a
>replacement for them.

I agree. The problem is one of resources - we can't focus on every
possible reference source. Which should we choose?

My core contention is that the Internet is the _best_ source on
which to focus - not the _only_. But in many cases, our opinions
don't matter anyway. Management chooses for us - and a lot of the
managers I know are mandating that technical documentation be placed
on the Internet (or Intranet).

>I think if we try to consolidate our sources into a single entity
>we're going to be limiting ourselves and in the end =reducing= the
>quality and quantity of information to which we have access.

Can we debabalize multiple sources of information by placing them on
the Web? Can we provide multiple output formats of technical documentation
(including hard copy) by placing it on the Web? If so, then there
may be more gain than loss.

I agree that quality (but not quantity) of information on the Web is a
problem. But I do not agree with those who are madly and thoughtlessly
smashing hard copy documents onto the Web.

I merely note that people are _already_ doing it anyway, with or
without my cooperation. I don't seriously believe that Technical
Writers can stop the dash onto the Web. I do believe that we can show
how to make quality Web documents - if we're willing to give up our
focus on paper.

David (Just call me Cassandra) Blyth
Technical Writer & Web Site Designer

Blodo Poa Maximus

Standard disclaimers apply

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