On-line manuals -- we do them

Subject: On-line manuals -- we do them
From: Richard G Harris <rgh -at- WORLD -dot- STD -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 1996 16:36:57 -0400

I write service documentation. After we surveyed our service engineers
last year, we started producing our big service manuals in electronic
form. We use a product called, believe it or not, Electronic Service
Manual. We also punlish a 20 to 50 page (3.3 inch by 6.5) inch paper
manual containing quick reference information such as part numbers.

We ship it on floppy disk and the service engineers load it onto the hard
disk in their laptop computers. The installation is very simple and is
always the same.

The service engineers love it because they don't have to carry around a
bunch of 3-inch-thick service manuals. Instead all they need is their
laptop computer.

I would venture to say that most customers of software products would love
it if the complete manual set was online, if a one-sheet installation
sheet wer shipped too. Every user would have a manual, and it would never
get lost (borrowed). I believe an engineeran engineer can make
updates/changes in some way and feed those back to us via surface mail on
a floppy disk. Most engineers never do.

One thing some software packages have started to offer is the ability to
generate an on-screen post-it note. We all write notes in our paper
manuals after all.

Dick Harris
Waters Technology
rgh -at- world -dot- std -dot- com

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