Electronic Communication
Section 9.
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Document Revision Numbering System

Our current document numbering system assumes we publish paper, and only paper. Meanwhile, 99.99% of what we're publishing is electronic.

By the very nature of the internet, all files are subject to revision, unlike paper editions. Adding a revision letter when we make editorial changes to a given format for a document, and updating the rev number when we make a substantial change in the content appears to be the best approach to organizing inevitable updates.

Let's design this with the mission in mind: Why track revisions to documents?

  1. So someone using a document can determine if this is the latest version.

  2. So the book boss can determine what changes were made for what reason, and go back to old revisions if necessary.

  3. So people contributing information to the document will see what changes others have made, and determine if their work is affected by other changes. That is, page change notices (or perhaps section change notices) highlight changes so that everyone using that information will be notified that a change has occurred.

  4. So we can do an impact assessment. If a change looks like it will affect others' work, we should distribute a proposed change before accepting it. This allows others to determine how the change will affect what they're doing; and then the sundry product teams and managers can decide whether this change is worth implementing.

Previously we considered an elaborate system of change letters to keep track of editorial changes and substantial changes to the content. However, in practice it turned out that it was easier to have our web management system just increment the revision number on each document whenever a new version is published.

The revision number appears next to the document number in the header of each document in the Artemis Data Book. (If you don't see the document number up there, it means the document you are reading has not been updated since the web management system came on line in 1996.)

Electronic Communication

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