Single Source Publishing is a methodto create reusable content in a systematic way. The information is set up in modules and compiled for subsequent use in a variety of formats. Using this method therefore alters the entire documentation compilation procedure used by the Technical Editorial team. Whereas in other contexts, documents are compiled by chapter and the document is produced on a chapter-by-chapter basis, this system is actually based upon modules.
The following aspects are of relevance:
The benefits of Single Source Publishing are as follows:
A pre-requisite for the use of the Single Source Publishing Method is for the content to be compiled in the form of modules. To that end, information classes or information types are developed during the planning stage of the Technical Documentation, as a means of classifying the content. In many cases, for example, operating instructions and descriptive modules are created. All other classes or types are heavily dependent on the Technical Documentation to be compiled or on the output formats involved. Once this initial preparation has been completed, the content is structured and created within the modules of the editing system. In the final stage, the documents are compiled and published.
A Releasenote occurs in the operating manual, in the online help and in the training documentation. Each individual releasenote was created in the Releasenote module and stored in a suitable location within the editing system. When the operating manual is created, the editor links the releasenote from the database. The releasenotes are displayed in the document, but will remain in the database as source material. Training materials also set out to inform participants about new functionalities. Once again, the editor takes a previously prepared module and links it to the document.
The way in which the re-use of modules in the operating manual operates in precise terms will depend on the editing system.