Re: Binders vs. Books

Subject: Re: Binders vs. Books
From: Lynn Gottlieb <lynndeg -at- U -dot- WASHINGTON -dot- EDU>
Date: Tue, 4 Mar 1997 20:56:09 -0800

See imbedded comments


On Tue, 4 Mar 1997, Ginna Watts wrote:

> Hi All,
>
> Last year's software manual was the first to be 'perfect bound', as opposed
> to in a binder, and got rave reviews. Apparently though (I was't here then),
> the decision was quite the holy war.
>
> NOW - with only five weeks left to go, they are now 'revisiting' the binder
> idea. The theory is that we will have several new modules of the software
> released throughout the next six months, and these could simply inserted
> into the binder. The software side is also suggesting that if we have a
> binder, we can send out updates to the body of the text. Currently, we
> produce oddball module docs in a small saddle-stitch booklet.
>
> My orignal reaction was 'yick - binders', but I have been asked to ignore
> emotion and aesthetics. (!?) I am dutifully costing both solutions, but I'm
> coming up blank on the work / time end of the estimates.
>
> Specifically:
>
> Is it possible to update sections of an existing manual that is numbered in
> one flow, or will it have to be reformatted to chapter numbering? (i.e.
> 2-34, 6-21). I am having trouble seeing how it can be done without breaking
> pagination, indexes etc., but I will bow to your knowledge.
>
It is possible to update sections numbered in one flow by adding
pages and numbering them using the
decimal point in page numbers (i.e., 26.1). I ALWAYS put the revision
date in the outside bottom corner (i.e., rev. 3/4/97)

> Has anyone had any experience sending out change pages? Do users actually
> insert them? Are change bars or some such necessary?
>
Clients will insert them if they believe that the manuals are useful, and
the updates are necessary. The energy expended has to be worth it. Also,
I always include a page with each page number being updated, what the
change is and if appropriate, why the change was done. I ask the clients
to file that page in the back of the book. They do, according to reports.

> I'm having nightmare about keeping track of all these bloody versions -
> Harder to maintain change in a binder, or update booklets?
>
Depends on how big the books are, and who keeps track of the versions.
Huge books ("Boeing-size" documentation here) are much cheaper to do as
binder updates, especially if the updates are frequent (lets say,
quarterly or less).

> Finally, getting into emotions, how do people feel about binders vs. bound
> books? I'd like to get a tally.
>
There are advantages to binders (besides cost). Easier to open a binder
flat and read it while doing task X.

> FYI the manual will be about 400 pages, in FrameMaker. (Not including the
> 'new' modules, which haven't even been written - don't ask.) Most of the
> text will also be in Windows Help, which will be updated as necessary. PDF
> is not an option - I'm already 'way' over my budget.
>
> TIA, Ginna
> Ginna Watts - Technical Writer
> Pacific International Mapping Corp.
> gwatts -at- pim -dot- bc -dot- ca
>
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