One document per audience

Subject: One document per audience
From: "Smith, Martin" <smithmr -at- encorp -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 1999 18:09:00 -0600

In the 3rd person vs. 2nd person thread Tom Murrell wrote ...But you did
push one of my hot buttons when you wrote that you have manuals that address
more than one audience. I will agree that you can have secondary audiences
who will read a document, but I firmly believe that a document can have only
ONE primary audience...So far--knock on wood--I've been able to win my
fights to keep the focus of
documentation on one audience per document...

I won't quibble with this practice (it certainly seems ideal, assuming you
have the resources) but am curious to know how you manage to synchronize
multiple documents that contain similar content. Without some means to
inventory the redundant information I would expect the various documents to
conflict after several revision cycles. I have seen some whiz-bang/expensive
SGML/database systems for managing these issues on a large scale, but
nothing practical on a smaller scale.

> Martin R. Smith
> Technical Writer / Audiophile
> ENCORP: The Energy Automation Company,
> (970) 686-2017 x 223

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