Re: On-Line Document Review and Control

Subject: Re: On-Line Document Review and Control
From: Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 18 Apr 1997 08:18:29 -0700

In general, you don't want the masses mucking up your documents.
Not only is the potential for disaster too great, but untrained
people marking up your actual documentation will break the documents
six ways from Sunday. They'll type in literal page numbers,
put in bogus numbers that they mean to correct some day, delete
great swaths of text that they don't understand the purpose of,
and generally make a horrible mess.

Thus, I don't think that it's important to have a DTP system that
any brain-dead employee can master in twelve seconds. Only trained
people should be able to touch official documents. The liability
involved with having Joe Imbecile make sloppy changes to the
underlying document is enough to make the mind reel.

My suggestion is that you use high-end DTP software that makes it
possible to manage large, complex, bureaucratic documents. The
publishing system of choice for such things is Interleaf. If
you do it right, you can set things up so that you push one
button, and the truckload of paperwork for the FDA prints out. If
you push another button, the truckload of paperwork for the
Canadian FDA equivalent (whose name escapes me) prints out.
The pharmaceutical industry has been using this method for
years. Properly set up, it will increase accuracy and save
an immense amount of time for everyone involved. (People whose
grubby fingers should stay off the documentation will still
be able to view, print, and annotate it with Interleaf's WorldView
product -- they just won't be able to make unauthorized changes.)

Interleaf has some publications that talk about these issues.
One is "The Document Management Guide." Another is "The ISO 9000
Guide." I think they have one that's specific to the pharmaceutical
industry, too, but I don't have it in front of me. (Can you tell
that I'm an Interleaf reseller? But this stuff's outside my
experience, and you should get hold of Interleaf's sales force
instead. They have a lot of experience in this particular application.
Their phone number is 1-800-456-5323.)

-- Robert

Robert Plamondon, High-Tech Technical Writing, Inc.
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (541) 453-5841 * Fax: (541) 453-4139

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