Introduction To Documentation

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The base presentation for our introductory documentation course

The base presentation for our introductory documentation course

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  • 1. Introduction to documentation 125/1, cross 15, main 5, block 2, r t nagar, bangalore, india 560032 e: training@openspace.org.in
  • 2. The communication loop IDEA? [ABSTRACT] I D E A [ABSTRACT?] ARC OF DISTORTION FEED BACK
  • 3. Experts?
    • Documents fulfil purpose: proposals sanctioned!
    • Instinctive.
    • Science. [Minimise the arc of distortion].
    • Art. [Unity of mind].
    • ‘ He only told us what we already knew.’
  • 4. Why document
    • Because we forget.
    • Reach more people.
    • To
    • Record.
    • Inspire.
    • Inform.
  • 5. Why document
    • Support your work
      • Why is it important?
      • What effort went into it?
    • Raise credibility.
      • Become an information provider on a specific topic.
    • Generate income.
    • Share
      • Ideas
      • Experiences.
      • Knowledge.
      • Innovation.
      • New technologies.
  • 6. Why document
    • Capture indigenous knowledge.
    • Institutional learning.
      • Embed values and wisdom in the institution.
    • For advocacy
      • Policy analysis
      • Part of a campaign
  • 7. Before you start
    • WHY am I documenting this?
      • To inform. [Das Kapital]
      • To persuade. [The communist manifesto]
      • A call to action. [‘Workers of the world unite!’]
  • 8. Before you start
    • WHAT do I want to say?
    • WHO is the intended reader?
      • A real person.
      • Gender.
      • Age.
      • Education.
      • Rural or urban.
      • Interests.
      • Income.
      • ...and what else she reads.
  • 9. Before you start
    • WHEN is the document needed?
    • WHERE is the document going to be used?
      • Internal.
      • In libraries.
      • In the field.
      • How long does it have to last?
  • 10. Before you start: How?
    • Language.
      • Which language will be used?
      • How specialised or how technical?
      • How formal, emotional or factual?
      • How simple a vocabulary?
    • Which units to use? [This is specially so for translations].
    • Medium [Which is best: print, audio visual?].
    • Format [book, brochure...].
    • Formality of design.
    • Length.
    • How much information should be given?
      • As much as necessary, as little as possible.
      • Simplify and reduce.
      • Do not leave out facts.
  • 11. The ABCs
    • All documents should be:
    • Accurate.
      • Facts are sacred, but comment is free.
    • Brief.
      • Be short, be sweet, be gone.
    • Clear.
      • Songs that `people can hum on the way back from the movie, and whistle during work the next day.'
      • Short sentences.
      • Simple words.
  • 12. ABCDs of documentation Dignity Desired Behaviour Deadline D Chosen Charming Clear C Benefit Basic Brief B Authority Appropriate Accurate A Best Better Basic
  • 13. A brief KISS
    • ‘ All documents must have three eyes to see.’
      • Intelligent.
      • Intelligible.
      • Interesting.
      • Coherent.
      • Charming.
    • ‘ KISS MII.’
  • 14. ‘Rules’
    • Proximity.
    • Pegging: intellectual judo.
    • Humour.
    • Contrasts.
    • Human interest.
    • Explain.
      • Illustrations.
      • Photographs.
      • Tables.
      • Data.
  • 15. The 3 R’s
    • Responsible.
    • Right information.
    • Read.
  • 16. Be sensitive
    • Political correctness.
      • ‘ Challenged’ or abilities.
      • Dalit.
    • Keep the different perspectives over time.
      • Lower caste
      • Scheduled caste
      • Harijan
      • Dalit
      • Productive caste
      • Caste name doesn’t matter [?!].
    • Unbiased.
      • Gender.
      • Ethnic.
      • Language.
      • Age.
      • Culture
    • Short–hand codes.
      • Merit.
      • Uniform civil code.
      • No dowry.
      • Conversions.
      • Dharma.
  • 17. Credit and responsibility
    • Respect, but not romanticise the people. Value their contribution, but do not undervalue yours.
    • ‘ As much as necessary, as little as possible.’
    • Or
    • ‘ As brief as possible, as comprehensive as necessary.’
  • 18. Statistics
    • Add authenticity to your position.
    • Are useful only if you have complete data.
    • Put what is important into tables.
    • Give a self–explanatory title to the table.
    • Give from where you got the figures. [Source.]
    • Explain figures in the text.
    • Figures are words. They need to be arranged into sentences and paragraphs.
    • What do the figures actually mean?
    • People can relate only to figures between 1–100.
  • 19. Statistics If you did your own research
    • Be careful of the methodology.
    • Recheck and explain any abnormality.
    • Mention the limitations and strengths of the data.
    • Why is your data more authentic?
    • Have complete data.
  • 20. Case study
    • Case studies are:
    • To tell of the impact in the lives of ordinary people.
    • To illustrate a point in 20 to 30 words.
    • A person affected in about 100 to 200 words.
    • A composite [or fictional] case study.
    • A quotation from an affected person.
  • 21. Case study
    • The story should cover
    • The situation before the intervention.
    • The person and her:
      • Struggles.
      • Triumphs.
      • Emotions.
      • Support and hostility.
      • Who, when, where, why...
      • Feelings.
    • The changes that the intervention made.
    • In the life of the one person and family.
    • The number ‘replicated’ in the community.
    • The tasks ahead.
  • 22. Make documents attractive
    • Vary the styles to
      • Highlight.
      • Emphasise.
      • Keep reader interest.
    • Use.
      • Bold.
      • Underline .
      • Italics.
      • ... just a little bit only .
  • 23. Text design
    • Headings and subheads
    • Indicate the transition of ideas.
    • Use of white space.
    • Balance pictures and text.
      • Too much text: intimidating.
      • Too little margins make the book difficult to open and read.
      • Too much white space is a waste of
        • Paper
        • Postage.
  • 24. Illustrations and photographs
    • The `movement' should be towards the reader.
    • Book: From left to right on the left page, and right to left on the right page.
    • Be in the idiom the audience understands.
    • Have a single message.
      • Have a clear message.
      • Give solid information.
      • Create emotion.
      • Be technically good.
  • 25. Costs involved
    • Organisational resources:
    • 20% Documentation and learning.
    • Documentation needs 10% of
      • Time.
      • People.
      • Material or infrastructure.
      • Money.
    • Everyone can but one person must:
      • Collective decision making but individual responsibility.
  • 26. Reducing costs
    • Reduce costs by piggy backing.
    • Monthly reports: keep the larger purpose in mind.
    • Track key indicators continuously.
    • Package the same material differently.
    • Develop formats.
    • Keep adding insights.
  • 27.
    • Nobody gets it right the first time... but where there is nothing, what you have is the best.
    • Small things make perfection...
    • Little drops of water...
    • The longest journey begins with a single step...