Pros and Cons of including writer's name

Subject: Pros and Cons of including writer's name
From: Heather Searl <SearlHL -at- SCIEX -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 28 May 1998 10:42:12 -0400

I have published writers names in manuals, for all of the reasons
mentioned by other people, plus a couple others.

We used co-op student writers extensively, and they were very motivated
by having portfolio pieces that contained their name as proof that they
worked on the project.

We also included a Special Thanks section that was put together by the
writers to recognize anyone they felt deserved it, including admin
people who did lots of photocopying for them, and tech support people
who took extra time to give insight into the questions customers ask. It
was the one way we could say that we thought these people were
important, and recognize them publicly in a company that was very

A couple people mentioned that they wouldn't want the phone calls that
resulted from publishing names. In four years, and tens of thousands of
manuals going out with my name in them, I probably received three or
four phone calls, that took me five minutes to get the caller in contact
with the appropriate person.

On the other hand, I did receive six or eight letters from people who
had read the manuals in detail, and provided me with feedback on what
they thought was good and bad about the manual. Most of these letters
were very valuable.

I think including names in manuals can be a valuable tool -- in
industries where this would be an acceptable practice.


Heather Searl
Technical Writing Group Leader
MDS Sciex
searlhl -at- sciex -dot- com
(905) 660-9006 x562

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