Re: Question: Electronic VS. Paper Documentation

Subject: Re: Question: Electronic VS. Paper Documentation
From: Elna Tymes <etymes -at- LTS -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 1998 18:19:55 -0800

Jonathan -

The problem you describe is so universal that it has created a
sub-specialty among intranet consultants. Mostly the solution has been
to make the manuals electronic, either on CD or downloadable via the
Internet. And yes, Jonathan, you CAN get secure transmission via the
Internet, so protecting the security of the manual contents is no longer
a real problem.

Look at it this way: when a technician needs to solve a problem, he
usually relies on prior knowledge. When he's new, the easiest way to
grasp everything including the background is to take some classes and/or
read manuals, which nobody likes doing. Once they have some experience
under their belts, what they really want is ad hoc advice: tell me about
THIS widget and THAT situation, but don't bother me with background. And
that is where the data being electronic is most valuable - each time
they look for something they won't have to check whether what they have
is outdated, because they'll be seeing the most current information.

If you're going to put the information on CD, make sure it's as
plug-and-play foolproof as possible, or it won't get used any more than
the manuals do.

If you're going to put it online, be sure to provide for such little
lovelies as the internet connection being scratchy or unavailable, or
for environments such as some wafer fab plants where NO laptops are

Elna Tymes
Los Trancos Systems

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