Summary: Document Numbering/Configuration, part 2

Subject: Summary: Document Numbering/Configuration, part 2
From: Ginna Watts <gwatts -at- QUESTERCORP -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 1998 10:22:31 -0800

The responses (slightly edited for size reasons):

I got into a document-numbering tangle a while ago at the
software company where I worked, and the advice that I finally
got-- good advice, I think, and maybe it came from this list--
was Keep It Short and Simple. Don't try to cram every item
of relevant information into the document number. If you do,
then you will be the only person who understands the number.
At worst, incorrect numbers will be assigned when you're away.
Even at best, anyone else trying to extract information from the
number will need to contact you or to consult a table. So
you're better off assigning simple numbers and using a separate
table to map them to other significant information in the first
Mark L. Levinson - Herzlia, Israel - nosnivel -at- netvision -dot- net -dot- il

At AlliedSignal Aerospace Canada, we have a very effective
Configuratoin Management (CM) system as it is required by our customers -
major aircraft manufactureres, the military establishment, and
government organizations. While I do not work in that area, I did
work in Engineering Publications from 1987 to 1994 and all our
documentation was subjected to CM control.

The numbering system used there was as follows:

xxyzzzz, where xx is year, y is document type and zzzz was a
sequential number. Document types are C for customer, E for
engineering report (internal), F for forms, and P for proposals. The
sequential number is specific to each document type. Revisions are
indicated as with a separate revision indicator.

Some examples are:
72C1234, Rev. D is a customer document originally written in 1972, and
subsequently revised 5 times.
95E4367 is an Engineering report written in 1995 (rarely have
revision indicators, and NC, the original issue, is assumed).
76F3256, Rev H is a form that came into being in 1976 and been
revised 8 times
98P1546 is a proposal written in 1998 (these documents never have
revision indicators as the proposals we submit are the final

Ralph E. Robinson
Email address: r2innovations -at- myna -dot- com

At last, after years of reading techwhirlers, here is a subject I
feel competent to comment on :>) Here is some info about
the system I devised here.

First, from our document control procedure:
"4.2.2 Document Identification Number
Each document has a unique document identification number.
The format of the document identifier, which is consistent
across all types of documents, is described in the CSDC
Document Index and each project's document index
(see Section 4.2.3). The document identifier is allocated t
a document by the document approver or delegate. In the case
of project documents, this responsibility is usually
delegated to the team leader responsible for the project.

Document identifiers are recorded in the appropriate
document index.

A data file that is not a document may be identified by its
directory and file name.

4.2.3 Document Index
There is a document index for CSDC and for each project.
Each document index contains a description of the document
identifier format and a list of document titles and
identifiers. The CSDC document index lists those documents
which have general applicability within CSDC. Each project
index lists documents which are required for that project.

All document indexes are normally maintained by the CSDC
Technical Writer. Project document indexes are created,
and may be maintained, by the corresponding project team

Some examples form the CSDC document index:

Identifier Document Title
CSDC-ADM-0001-DOC/R1.A3 Document Index
CSDC-ADM-0002-MAN/R0.A0 Backup Policies and Procedures
CSDC-ADM-0014-PLN/R0.A4 3 Year Plan
CSDC-CON-0001-PLN/R0.A2 GS6210 System Summary Consulting Plan
CSDC-CON-0002-PLN/R2.0 Code Coverage Tools Evaluation Consulting Plan
CSDC-CVS-0001-SYS/R1.A1 CVS Administrators Guide
CSDC-IMA-0001-USR/R0.A0 Imake Facilities User Manual"

****End quoted material***********

The document index for each project has a similar set up but all
the identified documents are specific to that project.

We have been using this system since I was hired to set up the tech
writing section in this software engineering group about 8 years
ago. It seems to have worked well. Please email if you have further

Hope this helps,
Margaret Gerard
margaret -at- csdc -dot- toshiba -dot- com -dot- au

I'm not really sure what the problem is you're trying to solve (i.e,
what the current systems are and why they're not working), so this
advice is necessarily general. For more specific advice, please
repost your question with more details.

We have roughly half a dozen series of technical reports, each
with its own ISSN number, and our archivist assigns the next number
in the appropriate series to each new report once it's ready for
printing. Key point: One person and one person only maintains the
list of report numbers.

Each report series serves a specific need. (We're re-evaluating
these series in response to changing audience needs, and will cut the
number roughly in half over the next year.) Broader categories of
needs work better than very narrow categories in our experience, but
YMMV. Key point: what needs does each of your report types serve, and
is that need still valid?

Works just fine for us, given the caveats above.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

We are a small engineering firm. Everything we produce is numbered with a
part number. Our documentation is part of the same system. Part numbers are
nn-nnnnnn. The first two digits are a broad catagory. Two are for doc--79
for internal docs and 80 for docs that go to customers. The first one or two
digits after the - are sometimes used for subcategories for parts. At one
time, the part numbers were designed so that every number had meaning. E.g.,
capacitor type, voltage, etc. That has fallen by the wayside and is no
longer used. It's really a nuisance when you have to look up old part
because they are not in sequential order. But some people still use a system
of broad subcategories. For instance, 79-55nnnn might be specs. Personally,
I wouldn't bother. No one remembers what those numbers mean so you always
have to look it up when you assign a part number. And sometimes a person
assigning part numbers forgets to check if there are any subcategories so
things get assigned wrong all the time. So, it's useless anyway.

All our part numbers are entered into our integrated manufacturing/inventory
system. We structure the definition of the part that is entered, so that we
can find them easily, such as DOC, Manual, admin guide, productx or DOC,
spec, hardware, producty.

Janet Valade
Technical Writer
Systech Corp, San Diego, CA
mailto:janetv -at- systech -dot- com

When I got this job, one of the things that we didn't have was a
document numbering scheme. We did, however, have a part numbering
system with 8-digit part numbers. I took a block of numbers
(06xxxxxx) and devised a breakdown structure based on digits within
the number scheme.
For example, 06 applied to all documents produced by the publications
group. The next third digit defines product type (0 = manual, 1 =
change package, 2 = procedure, 3 = system diagrams and flow block
diagrams, etc). The fourth digit represents the document type (0 =
overview manual, 2=installation manual, 4=user manual, 6=maintenance
manual, 8=drawings and prints manual). Digits 5-8 are the sequential
number within each group of documents.
As you become familiar with how the number scheme breaks down into
the various groupings, it becomes possible to locate master files or
documents quite easily, knowing where to look in a numbering scheme
becomes easier to identify what type of document you are looking for
by just seeing the number (if someone in my area asks to see an
overview manual for the xxxx product, I can quickly scan the list
looking for an 0600xxxx manual that applies.
YES, we are happy with our system. Not numbering isn't an option. How
can you expect to track changes if you don't know which document they
apply to? You can only make so many titles before you start repeating
terms and phrases.
As a tech writer, I have to know what the configuration of the
equipment is when it is shipped, or I can't write accurate manuals to
reflect it. Because of this, my group is also responsible for
tracking configuration.
I hpe this answers your concerns.
Mr. Jody Lorig
JLorig -at- Kavouras -dot- com

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