3rd Edition. — Sun Microsystems, 2009. — 464 p.Read Me First! A Style Guide for the Computer Industry provides everything you always wanted to know about documenting computer products, from creating screencasts to documenting web sites, from writing for an international audience to developing a documentation department.How This Book Is Organized This book is organized as described in the following paragraphs. Chapter 1, “Mechanics of Writing,” reviews basic punctuation rules and guidelines, plus other general writing rules and conventions. Chapter 2, “Constructing Text,” provides guidelines for tables, cross-references, headings, lists, and other text elements. Chapter 3, “Writing Style,” provides guidelines for writing in a style that facilitates effective communication. Chapter 4, “Structuring Information,” provides information about organizing and presenting your information so readers can find information quickly. Chapter 5, “Online Writing Style,” provides guidelines for writing documentation that is intended primarily for online presentation. Some of these guidelines also apply to online help and web pages. Chapter 6, “Constructing Links,” provides guidelines for using links effectively in online documents. Chapter 7, “Writing Tasks, Procedures, and Steps,” provides guidelines for writing tasks, procedures, and steps in a procedure. Chapter 8, “Writing for an International Audience,” provides guidelines for writing material that is easily understood by readers whose first language is not English and that can be easily translated into other languages. Chapter 9, “Legal Guidelines,” provides guidelines for the proper use of copyrights, trademarks, confidential information, and other legal guidelines. Chapter 10, “Types of Technical Documents,” describes the various parts that make up a manual and lists the order in which they appear. This chapter also covers the various types of typical technical documents. Chapter 11, “Working With an Editor,” explains how writers and editors work together to produce high-quality documents. Chapter 12, “Working With Illustrations,” describes illustration formats, styles, and types, and explains how to work with an illustrator. This chapter also provides guidelines for writing callouts, arranging callouts, and writing captions. Chapter 13, “Writing Alternative Text for Nontext Elements,” describes how to write text equivalents, referred to as alternative text, for each graphic element in a document to meet one of the key Section 508 accessibility requirements. Chapter 14, “Documenting Graphical User Interfaces,” explains how to document graphical user interfaces (GUIs). Chapter 15, “Creating Screencasts,” explains how to develop and record screencasts. This chapter also includes terminology guidelines and guidelines for writing narration. Chapter 16, “Using Wikis for Documentation,” provides some guidelines related to the documentation aspects of presenting your information in a wiki format. Chapter 17, “Glossary Guidelines,” explains how to create a glossary for a technical manual. Chapter 18, “Indexing,” explains how to prepare an index for a technical manual. This chapter covers issues such as selecting topics to index, style rules for creating an index, and editing the index. Appendix A, “Developing a Publications Department,” provides information about issues related to a documentation department, including topics such as scheduling, roles and responsibilities, technical review, and printing and production. Appendix B, “General Term Usage,” lists proper usage for terms commonly used in technical documentation. This appendix also shows the correct usage for commonly confused words and terms, and lists terms that you should consider avoiding. Appendix C, “Typographic Conventions,” lists common elements mentioned in typical technical documentation for which typographic conventions are recommended. Appendix D, “Checklists and Forms,” contains sample checklists and forms that you can use at various stages of documentation development, including art tracking, print authorization, and a technical review cover letter. Appendix E, “Recommended Reading,” provides an annotated list of reference books related to the field of technical communication.
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