Re: Internal Document numbering

Subject: Re: Internal Document numbering
From: Dick Margulis <ampersandvirgule -at- WORLDNET -dot- ATT -dot- NET>
Date: Mon, 30 Mar 1998 11:00:29 -0500

I want to second what Jennifer says and add some detail. I just rolled
off a project in an ISO 9001-compliant organization that is now
reconsidering the question of how much meaning should be embedded in a
document number.

One observation, in evaluating the way numbers have been assigned
withing various projects in the company, is that it is futile to set up
a scheme of any sort. By this I mean that it is all right to have a
prefix that identifies categories of documents at a very large
granularity, such as the system Jennifer describes, but that beyond that
it does not make sense to convey semantic information out into the
hypenated or decimalized range of the document number. Just assign a
sequence number and convey any other information in a database keyed to
that number (using whatever document management model you have

If you have a defined project management process that has deliverable
documents associated with each phase, and if the phase names are
invariant across projects and across time, then the document number
prefixes can identify the project and the phase. Or if your company is
organized around ongoing processes (as would be the case in a
manufacturing organization), then the prefixes might identify broad
categories of documents (such as SOPs) rather than departments or

The problem with trying to get more information into the doc number is
that you eventually get down to a level where only one person
understands the scheme and that person eventually moves on to another
position. Most people who are given the role in which they assign doc
numbers are not trained librarians, and I'm not sure it would matter if
they were.

In any case, it _is_ vital that a single person be in control of
assigning numbers and then receiving the finished document into the
controlled environment.

The above applies only to internal (i.e., confidential) documents, not
product manuals or other publications that are shipped out, all of which
are treated as parts and are numbered, modified, and reviewed within the
part number/engineering change paradigm, as Jennifer describes.

Dick Margulis

Jelinek, Jennifer wrote:
> I think the key with document numbering is to set a standard and stick to
> it, and to have one person in charge of assigning those numbers. We have two
> different types of document numbering schemes where I work. Any type of
> literature that is included with a product (i.e. manuals, dataplates, etc.),
> and which are thus tracked in inventory like any other component, are given
> a six digit part number that starts with the numbers 145. When we run out of
> 145xxx numbers, we'll move to 146xxx, etc. For literature that is not
> tracked in our standard inventory system (primarily catalog sheets), we use
> a numbering scheme starting w/ 201xxx. This system really works well for
> assures that all literature is easily trackable and identifiable,
> and since no literature can be ordered without a part #, and only one person
> can assign part #'s, it assures that any literature produced has gone
> through the appropriate review process.
> I believe this whole system is part of ISO 9001 procedures (it falls under
> our design control process).
> ___________________________________________________________________________
> Jennifer Jelinek

> > -----Original Message-----

> > From: Steve Arrants [SMTP:SArrants -at- DATAFUSION -dot- NET]

> >
> > I've been asked to take over the management of internal
> > documentation--specs, requirement documentation, etc. Does anyone have
> > any references or web referrals for document numbering? Right now the
> > developers and engineers give the documents their own document
> > number--there's no rhyme or reason to this--the number doesn't seem to
> > mean anything.
> >
> > I'd also appreciate any tips/information on setting up standards and
> > procedures for the documents.
> >
> > thanks,
> > steve arrants
> >

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