Too much information? Organize it better.

Subject: Too much information? Organize it better.
From: Michael Andrew Uhl <uhl -dot- mike -at- epa -dot- gov>
To: "TECHWR-L, (Tech Writers)" <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999 15:08:45 -0500


In the technical white papers we produce for management here at EPA we
often have appendices that are larger than the body of the document. We
also include a 1-2 page executive summary at the front of the document.
We organize these papers this way because we recognize that different
audiences are going to read and use the document.

The executive summary summarizes, in the plainest language that is
practical, the reason for the paper and the conclusions it draws.

The body of the document, which follows a standard EPA template for such
documents, presents the case. For example, the Visualization Center--the
group in which I work--wrote a paper in 1997 describing the advantages
and disadvantages of EPA using Java and JavaScript. It was extremely
technical. We had to keep the body of the document to 50 pages or less.
Hence, there we very few explanations of terminology or concepts.

The appendices provided references, definitions, and very detailed
examples of code.

The goal with these kinds of papers is to assure the reader(s) that we
have done our homework and are presenting a well-documented, but
accessible, argument or position.


Michael Andrew Uhl (mailto:uhl -dot- mike -at- epa -dot- gov)
Lockheed Martin - U.S. EPA Scientific Visualization Center
Ph. (office) 919.541.4283; 919.541.3716 (lab)
P.O. Box 14365 Research Triangle Park, NC 27709

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