In I’d Rather Be Writing, Tom Johnson explores Using Wikis as Project Documentation Tools. In this posting Johnson chats with technical writer Charles Arnold who explains why he’s thinking wikis might be a good idea for documentation teams.
“The model of one writer or even several writers tackling all of the documentation is a model that will soon be history as Web 2.0 trends take over in technical communication,” Arnold says, “Wouldn’t it be so much cooler if we could have a wiki that I could work off of, and which everyone could read, review, edit, and even contribute towards? I could draw upon the collective intelligence of the entire project team, rather than just my own fiddlings and guesses with the program.”
The article does not show readers how to use a wiki for documentation. Instead, it makes a suggestion – allow tech pubs staffers to use wikis for documentation.
“I’m saying, let the technical writer use a wiki as his or her documentation base,” says Johnson. “Make sure all project members are familiar with the wiki’s location and procedures for editing it. Then, encourage the project team to comment, review, add, edit, and otherwise adjust the documentation through the life of the project. The writer can shape, stylize, make consistent, and organize the content to make it usable. Most likely the writer will write 75% of the content anyway, but it will be more informed and accurate.”
What do you think? Are you using wikis for documentation? If so, let us know.
Tom Johnson will be presenting Twenty Ways to Make Your Blog More Usable: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at WordPress at the upcoming Documentation and Training 2007 West Conference (April 18-21 in Vancouver, BC, Canada).