Minutes for Amsterdam User-Doc WG

"Ellen S. Hoffman" <ellen@merit.edu> Thu, 29 July 1993 16:09 UTC

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Subject: Minutes for Amsterdam User-Doc WG
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User Documentation Working Group (User-Doc2)
13 July 1993

Co-chairs: Ellen Hoffman, Merit Network
           Lenore Jackson, NASA (not present)

1.   Current WG Activities

The User-Doc2 Working Group has completed two RFC efforts since the last
IETF. The new FYIs are:

--FYI 19: "A Short Bibliography of Introductory Readings for the Internet
Novice" by Ellen Hoffman and Lenore Jackson.

--FYI 20: "What is the Internet?" by Ed Krol and Ellen Hoffman.

The on-line files associated with FYI 19 are archived in "Introducing the
Internet," along with newer materials that are of interest to beginning
users. These archives can be accessed by e-mail, FTP, Gopher, and WAIS, as
well as dial-up for those lacking Internet connectivity. Four sites
currently maintain copies of the archive, and volunteers were requested for
other sites willing to duplicate the files. For additional information on
the archive, send an e-mail message to nis-info@merit.edu with the text: 
send access.guide

2.   Open Forum on Documentation Activities

The discussion began with a presentation by Bert Stals. He described the
work of the User Documentation Task Force, a sub-group of the RARE
Information Services and User Support (ISUS) Working Group. Their goal is
to produce documentation for end users on an introductory and intermediate
level, without duplicating other efforts such as User-Doc.  Their first
project is a set of one-pagers, each on a separate applications topic
(gopher, e-mail, WAIS, WWW, archie, file transfer, Mailbase). Stals noted
user support staff could use the text in their own documentation series
(using their own house-style).  Alternatively, simple formatted versions of
the pamphlet will be available for those who wish to use them directly in
several formats, including ASCII text and Word-perfect files. The working
group maintains a mailing list for those interested. To join,

   send to mailbase@mailbase.ac.uk
with the text
   subscribe rare-userdoc your_firsname your_lastname

Stals also described a cooperative project with EARN to update the first
edition of EARN's "Guide to Network Resource Tools."

Ellen Hoffman asked for comments on whether the IETF should get
documentation translated into other languages. The discussion raised
several points, including concerns that introductory rather than technical
information was the area most in need of translation as most technical
people understand English. David Sitman (EARNInfo Officer) said that in his
experience people were unwilling to translate documents but were more
comfortable creating their own. He also suggested that documentation
written in the States tended to be chatty which made it more difficult for
non-native English speakers. Issues were also raised about when
documentation is effective and the amount of effort required to produce it.
Jill Foster noted that there are various levels of documentation, and that
each has its own requirements.

3.   On-Going Projects

The next project is a revision of RFC 1175, the long bibliography. The goal
is to have a fairly complete draft by the next IETF. A revised charter will
be posted (as currently the file where the charter should be is empty, a
situation the chairs will work on correcting after the meeting). Hoffman
noted that she would like to include non-English introductory texts in the
bibliography. Suggestions for materials to include should be sent to

Ellen S. Hoffman