Re: Tracking Modifications

Subject: Re: Tracking Modifications
From: Ed Gregory <edgregory -at- HOME -dot- NET>
Date: Sat, 12 Dec 1998 09:06:07 -0600

We use Microsoft Office on a large corporate software conversion
Our tracking process is elaborate, but necessary. Among the measures taken are

1. Turn tracking on for all documents

2. Make certain every person with edit access has Microsoft Office
set properly. The default setting is the corporation name, which makes edits -
and documents - anonymous.

3. Use the Comment feature when appropriate rather than editing text

4. Use Ed.Notes for inserted text where Comments will not do.

5. Use two levels of Ed.Notes. One isfor internal use by documentation
members. Text is set off in brackets, highlighted, and closes with editor?s
initials and a time-date stamp. Sounds complicated, but a macro makes it easy.
The second Ed. Note is traditional. It remains in the document for our
reviewers and, possibly, end-users.

6. Back up all of our work daily, keeping incremental backups. We also
up our work before it goes into the hands of the Subject Matter Experts for
their review and comment. (You never know who might turn off tracking, or hit
accept changes.)

7. When possible, provide hyperlinks to original source material rather
than editing it

8. Use protected directory structures for Work in Progress

We considered password protecting all of our Work in Progress. However,
in our case, controlling access through Network permissions was more
efficient. We who create and edit have different permissions from people who
review and comment.

9. Subject Matter Experts bestow their formal approval on documents or
sections of documents. We back up our final, approved document before we click
"accept changes" and eliminate editing tracks. From that point, the document
will only show post-signoff edits. The signoff process is evident on each
electronic document, on printed copies of that document, and in a table that
accompanies the entire package.
If content information provided by a Subject Matter Expert changes, we
make edits and track them closely as part of the Signoff process. We document
each change, other than grammar or style, along with the date and authority for
the change.
Another table, in a document called Status, records the history of signoffs and
post-signoff edits.
We use a final table, called Issues. It tracks potential content revisions the
doc team or other participants believe are necessary but which lack final SME

We were using Microsoft Office's Binder to manage all of this, but found it to
be very unstable. We are going to unbind them all and stick with Word.

Stay tuned for my next message re: Binder and How Badly it Sucks.

At 12:16 PM 12/11/98 -0500, you wrote:
>I'm interested in knowing what method Technical Communicators use to track
>modifications made to their documentation.
>From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000==

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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