Change Bars

Subject: Change Bars
From: Daniel Wise <dewise -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 24 Jan 1997 22:40:02 -0800

Change bars are used extensively in government documents such as
specifications, standards, procedures, and other documents that are subject
to frequent revisions. We used change bars in our Safety Analysis Reports
for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. We had to accumulate the bars with
the revision number beside them. Thus, if a paragraph was revised in toto
in Revision 2, the change bar would have a numeral 2 beside it. If a word,
phrase, clause, sentence, etc. within the graf were later revised again, a
second bar would be added with the numeral of that revision beside it.
After 17 gazillion revisions, the stack of change bars was enormous (to the
point that the copy block had to be made narrower to accommodate the bars).
NRC finally agreed that only the current changes would be noted by change
bars.

We also used change bars in Navy manuals when I was with Litton Ship
Systems.

We also used change bars in in-house procedures at other places I worked.

I agree that they are a convenient way of flagging the location of changes
for those diligent enough to have read the pertinent poo in the first place.

Question: do you assume no one reads your manuals or do you cater to the
needs and convenience of those customers who do read and value your docs?

As for ISO9000 certification, having change bars might well help demonstrate
to the certification inspectors that you have control procedures and that
you do follow them.

Dan Wise
dewise -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com

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