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The Parts and the Whole: Publishing Technical Documentation

Today, several centuries after the invention of the printing press, we can legitimately ask ourselves whether there’s any value to preparing technical documentation in book form. Isn’t a printed book — a
whole — antithetical to the notion of component-based authoring, in which each component is a free-standing part? In this article we examine how the book, with its fixed structure, is affecting the way we access and use information. Then we look at some alternative approaches to publishing technical documentation. These reflections stem from our in-house experience and the difficulties we encountered at Antidot upon switching to structured writing.

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