Tech writing data storage -- follow-up

Subject: Tech writing data storage -- follow-up
From: Beth Kane <Kane -at- VENTANA -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 09:29:35 -0700

Thanks for all the messages!
Here's a follow-up to some of the questions people posed:

1. The main reason I think it's bad that she isn't using the server (and how
it affects me directly) is that her files are not necessarily "findable" by
other tech writers who will need them if she is suddenly sick, injured or
dies. People aren't invulnerable. If we have to take over her projects, I'd
like to be able to find everything easily.

2. Another reason it bothers me is her backup method is probably less
reliable than the server's. Your suggestions to _really_ test the IS dept.'s
backup process are good. But almost any method would be better than saving
to floppy or some other drive that's unknown to the other tech writers. She
might forget to do her nightly backup routine. If her stuff is on the
server, it's going to get backed up every night automatically. If her stuff
isn't on the server and she forgets to back up regularly, several days' (or
weeks') work could be lost and I may be recruited to help make up for the
loss in one way or another. (Might just have to listen to her whine, but I'd
like to avoid that, too!)

3. I guess it would be OK if she works off her hard drive every day then
saves all files to the server when she leaves every night, as long as she
remembers to do that. Several of you mentioned that you use this method. The
files still end up where they belong every day, so other tech writers can
find them. If she did that, I would not be complaining.

But (so far) we haven't had any server problems, so that isn't really
necessary. And no one outside our dept. has write access to that drive on
the server; the server speed and reliability are excellent (seems identical
to our local machines); etc.

4. When I asked both people why they did this, they both said "I don't know"
(really!). Maybe they just didn't want to discuss it.

5. I plan to remind my current coworker of how it would benefit her to at
least save to the server at the end of the day, using as reasons some of the
points in #1 and 2 (above). If that doesn't work, I might ask an IS person
to send out a message about standard procedures, as someone suggested.

6. It's especially wise to work from the server when you're at the stage
where more than one person is getting into the files. For example, you're in
the final stages of the project. Someone is indexing the chapters, but some
copy editing is being done too by someone else. In this case the files have
to stay on the server. Because if the indexer were to save a copy to his
hard drive, add new index markers, then put it back on the server, in the
meantime the author may have opened the file on the server and made changes.
Now you have updates in two separate files -- BAD situation, time-consuming
to resolve. If both people work off the server, one will get a message that
the file is currently in use and there will be no danger of two updated
docs. We had this problem several times at the last company I worked where
someone was always working off her hard drive.

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

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