TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: PDF v paper From:"Porrello, Leonard" <lcporrel -at- ESSVOTE -dot- COM> Date:Thu, 17 Dec 1998 08:44:00 -0600
I do hope that you merely let your prose get out of control here and that you don't really mean what your words say, that media and form is not important.
If you really think media and form unimportant, you should give Schriver's book, _Dynamics in Document Design_, (mentioned several times on this list) a read. Schriver unequivocally demonstrates that media and form play a critical difference between whether a message is accepted or rejected. And, in her book on writing for international audiences, Nancy Hoft talks about, for example, the aversion the Japanese generally have toward high gloss, flashy publications. And in my recent personal experience, I intuitively feel much more confident about the beautiful IBM Aptiva manual that I received with my new computer than I did with the flimsy, photocopied documentation I got with the bundled, off brand, monitor--and I am a technical writer, and I know that a slick cover and format does not insure technical accuracy.
According to your words, you wouldn't care if _Hamlet_ were acted by, say, me or a world renown actor, and all of the time medieval monks put into making sacred manuscripts ornamentally visually ornate was is vain. I could go on, but I can't imagine that this is really what you mean.
Remember, it's not how you present the words (stone tablets, wood, paper,
bathroom walls) that's important, it's the content of what gets presented
that counts. Online documentation is just another medium for presenting the
information. The next medium might be through holographic-subliminal
processing. Who knows? And when that happens, people will freak out and
object to that too!