Re: Binders vs. Books

Subject: Re: Binders vs. Books
From: Ruth Glaser <ruthg -at- GORETEK -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 1997 13:30:43 -0600

Ginna,

My digest has not yet arrived today, so forgive me if your
questions have already been answered. We just did a HUGE
(several thousand pps.) update to a binder manual set.

>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.

Yes, but these are 2 separate issues. Look into the "Freeze Pages"
functionality in Framemaker. We number our manuals just as
you describe. To make changes we "freeze pages," thus if text
is added the flow goes onto a "dot" page. For example, I make a
change on page 2-3 that is more text than was originally there. The
new text flows onto a newly created "dot" page -- 2-3.1. In this way
it doesn't interrupt pagination. However, you may still have to
regenerate TOC's, indexes, x-refs, etc. depending on the amount
and type of information you add.

Another problem we ran into with this method was that if we created
a "dot" page, we had to make an even number of "dot" pages to
ensure the copy could be duplicated properly. For example, if we
created 2-3.1, we also had to force a page 2-3.2. If we didn't, when
we duplicated the manual, 2-3 would be on one side and 2-3.1 would
be on the other. This would prevent users from simply slipping the
replacement pages into the existing pages in the binder.

>Has anyone had any experience sending out change pages?

Yes.

>Do users actually insert them?

Yes and no. It helps to have support from your co-workers. For
example, when our customer calls the support line with a question
and the support rep answers it, they say something like, "are you
looking at page 2.3.1 in your A/P manual? If you go to the bottom
of the page it says ..."

Of course a vast majority of users don't insert replacement pages.
(I haven't even updated my master copies yet and I wrote the damn
stuff!!!)

>Are change bars or some such necessary?

Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. Dot pages, replacement pages, etc. are
already horrendous enough, don't make them uglier. We used
change bars internally so our editors knew which parts to edit (they
didn't have to re-edit the sections that had already been done.)
But we removed them before the final drafts were printed.

One very effective thing we did do was in our product release
notes, we indicated the manuals and pages that were affected by
each fix/enhancement. This has been very well received.

>I'm having nightmare about keeping track of all these bloody versions -
>Harder to maintain change in a binder, or update booklets?

Still a bloody nightmare, perhaps even more so.

>Finally, getting into emotions, how do people feel about binders vs. bound
>books? I'd like to get a tally.

We've only done binders.

>FYI the manual will be about 400 pages, in FrameMaker. (Not including the
>'new' modules, which haven't even been written - don't ask.)

Chump change! Try 16 manuals of 450-600 pps/each!!! ;-)

Good luck. Email me direct if you have specific questions.

Ruth
ruthg -at- goretek -dot- com

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