Introduction To Documentation

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The base presentation for our introductory documentation course

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Introduction To Documentation

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

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