Looking for best practices for creating a "living" manual
June 19, 2014 2:13 PM Subscribe
My co-workers and I have created a "living" (continually updated) manual for some processes we do with some associated agencies, but none of us are technical writers or copy editors, so we're looking for assistance in the structure and appearance. Please share your experiences, guides, and tutorials for creating and managing a manual that won't remain in a fixed form.
posted by filthy light thief to Technology (8 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
We hired consultants to help us put together the first draft, but it was a mess, and the contract expired. Since then, we've expanded and updated the manual, but it's still pretty rough, so we're looking to higher a local professional to polish what we have. What questions should we ask, or what requirements should we have in place, beyond the final format needs to be something we can continue to modify in-house? We're mostly working with Microsoft Office 2010, but we've talked about using Publisher or some other software to build and manage the document. At my last place of work, we had one person who had made the most of MS Word and created a number of hyperlinked Word documents, but we're not even there yet with what we have now.
Conversely, or additionally, what are best practices for managing such a document in-house? We're dealing with tracking changes across sections, updating some dates and deadlines that are repeated in a few different places, so some system to track repeated references or deadlines would be key, if nothing else.
Alternatively to all this, I've been thinking of managing this as a website, as cross-linking is a basic feature, and it's fairly straight-forward to make a widely compatible website, versus version management with MS Word. Thanks!