Re: what to call it?

Subject: Re: what to call it?
From: Mitch Berg <mberg -at- IS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 1997 09:39:08 -0600

John Engler wrote:

> What do y'all call your documentation--guides, user's guides, manuals,
> books, other?

This might be funny - I can stand fingernails screeching on chalkboards
all day, but I've had a lifelong aversion to any word with the root
"Document". This goes back to long before I became a techcomm -
Document, Documentation, Documents - they all make skin crawl. Worst of
all is the use of the term "Document Specialist" or, worst, "Documentor"
to describe my position. I guess I'm in the wrong field... ;]

Seriously, I avoid the term "document" like the plague, partly because
of the reason above, and partly because it's too generic. I use:

* "Guide" for anything that primarily explains procedures or instructs
in any way

* "Reference" for books that are primarily - well, references.

> And does the size (tiny or huge) or the purpose (end user
> or administration) of the doc matter in what you would call it?

Subject matter is the key - is it instructional, reference, what?

> Do users
> care?

If I could get my company to budget the study, I'd do it...

> We're just trying to decide what to call our stuff, and we'd just
> like some feedback from all of you.

Three suggestions:
* Eschew "Document"
* Ditto any word rooted in "Document"
* Strangle any management that uses any of the above.

Of course, that's just my opinion - I could be too emotionally involved
in the topic... ;]

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