Re: Updating Hard Copies of Existing Manuals

Subject: Re: Updating Hard Copies of Existing Manuals
From: gloria <gmedcalf -at- PRAIRIE -dot- LAKES -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 1997 08:21:46 -0600

>In my experience, updates are a complete waste of time. Users are too
>busy doing their jobs to fiddle round putting pages in, and the
>overheads involved in getting someone else to do it are far too high.
>Update pages are an indication that the company gives little value to
>documentation, and even less value to the time of the users of their
>If the documentation is out of date, produce a new set. If minor
>amendments are sufficient, produce a self-contained addendum booklet,
>but don't expect users to reconstruct documentation!
>Iain Harrison
>iain -at- hairydog -dot- clara -dot- net

I believe there is a positive about update pages. When I receive an update to a program, update pages make it real easy to learn about what's new. I miss this in the way things are done today. Yes, there is often a section at the beginning of the book that's titled "What's new in version xxx", but this seldom references the pages where the features are fully explained. And, there are often little changes that aren't mentioned. I end up putting a lot more time and effort into finding the new material, than I used to have to put into replacing pages.

Addendum booklets cause another problem that when I need to look something up, I first have to look in the addendum and then look in the manual.

At some point with either of these methods the manual probably needs reprinted. I think there are too many factors for us to argue in general about when that should be.

Maybe update pages and addendum booklets aren't the ideal solution, but I don't think that today's way of doing things is ideal either. Does anyone have any ideas for how to improve things?

gmedcalf -at- prairie -dot- lakes -dot- com

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