User Guides in PDF Format on the Web

Subject: User Guides in PDF Format on the Web
From: Janice Malone <jmalone -at- RD -dot- QMS -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 1997 14:48:50 -0600

I work for a printer company and my department is contemplating
putting user guides for their printer products (4 books for each
product about 400 pages for all four books) on the internet in pdf
format. This would be one pdf file for each book (a typical pdf file
is about 1.5 MB). We develop the user guides in FrameMaker for Windows
95 and distill them to pdf format.

I've been checking web sites to see if anyone is putting pdf versions
of their manuals on the internet and so far have been unsuccessful. I
have found that via search facilities at most sites, you can locate
specific pieces of information, such as how to do envelope printing,
how to handle a particular software bug, etc. But the custom of
putting whole user guides on the internet is either nonexistent or
seldom done.

I would like to conduct an informal survey among other techwriters to
determine if other companies are doing this and if so what were their
thoughts and experiences with publishing user guides on the web. Are
there any specific copyright issues, document exposure issues (as
recently discussed in the softcopy thread), or potential loss of
revenue issues. The big motivation for this in my company is
service-oriented. The documentation is very accessible for the
customer. But before we move forward with this request, we would like
to address all the concerns.


Thanks,

Janice Malone
Quality Micro Systems

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