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Chapter 1. Quality technical information > Writing task, concept, and reference...

Writing task, concept, and reference topics

Writers sometimes duplicate work to supply the same or similar information in different media or in different collections of the information (such as online help and a printed document). Using the same source (single source), with few or no changes, for different outputs can save time and also help ensure that the information is accurate and consistent wherever it appears. Single source also helps reduce the time to review the information, translate it, and maintain it.

Establishing a unit of reuse

How can you develop information once and then get maximum reuse from it? One way is to make the unit of reuse small enough to work in several places and yet large enough to have meaning. One sentence, for example, is probably too small to manage as a reusable element, and one chapter is probably too large to work in more than one place. The unit that is probably most useful is a topic (sometimes also called a module, a chunk, or an article), which reflects a particular content and is neutral with respect to where or how it is presented. Basically, a topic consists of a title and some content.


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