Single sourcing is becoming more common in technical writing these days. The fact is that such an approach has proved to be really effective in simplifying many tasks. By creating one document, you make a base for many others at once. Read more about the specifics and benefits of working with single source documentation tools below.
1. Make Reusable Content
The main essence of this approach is to create a “base” for the documentation, which can then be easily and quickly supplemented and updated depending on specific consumers, their needs, and the characteristics of your current tasks. It greatly simplifies the work of technical writers and allows you to edit manuals immediately after any updates or patches to your products are released. Instead of rewriting key information every time, you can simply reuse it.
2. Get Rid of Links
The key to well-created reusable content is to avoid using any links, dependencies, and bindings to other topics. The base text should be used independently without being tied to any extra information. Otherwise, you will have to include the additional piece that the main material refers to when writing another document. Thus, it is better to avoid it.
3. Choose Simplicity
In technical writing, simplicity is a very important factor for understanding any product and the principles of its work. Therefore, it is vital to simplify information when using a single-sourcing approach as much as possible. In this case, it can be applied to several manuals at once. All content should be well-structured so that it is convenient to reuse it in the future.
4. Descript One Topic
The following fundamental principle, which is vital when writing manuals, is to describe one particular object, issue, or topic. As in the case of getting rid of links and dependencies, it will significantly increase the reusability of your materials. If you need to describe two or more subjects at once, divide the text into two semantic blocks so that they can be used separately in the future.
5. Opt for Universalization
When doing technical writing, it is vital to opt for content universalization and generalization. If you can avoid specific names and metrics without compromising your understanding of how a particular product works, do so. After all, there are themes and items, the description of which can be easily done without mentioning a specific model.
Concluding the article, it is worth saying that despite some complex rules that are important to adhere to when creating a sole source, applying this approach and using modern business solutions, you get many undeniable advantages:
- Saving the time of your specialists;
- Reducing publishing costs;
- Easy managing access rights;
- Comfort for the localization of documents;
- Opportunity to use multiple output formats.
Single sourcing provides excellent features for creating technical documentation in a wide variety of areas. With the expansion of your business and the increase in the client base, it allows you to customize manuals quickly and flexibly depending on the current tasks.
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