Read Me First! Preface

Read Me First! A Style Guide for the Computer Industry provides everything you always wanted to know about documenting computer products - from style pointers to legal guidelines, from writing for an international audience to developing a documentation department.

This Preface describes how the book is organized, and provides information specific to the Web version of the book.

How This Book Is Organized

Read Me First! contains the following:

Table of Contents provides links to the internal sections of the chapters described below.

Chapter 1, "Understanding Style," examines the "personality" of effective writing style that publications professionals have acquired in the computer industry.

Chapter 2, "Working With an Editor," explains how writers and editors can work together to produce high-quality documentation.

Chapter 3, "Writing for an International Audience," provides guidelines for writing material that can be translated easily into other languages.

Chapter 4, "Legal Guidelines," contains information about copyrights and trademarks.

Chapter 5, "Mechanics of Writing," reviews basic punctuation rules and guidelines, capitalization, contractions, and use of numbers and numerals.

Chapter 6, "Technical Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Units of Measurement," gives rules for using abbreviations and acronyms, and contains a table of some common terms used in the computer industry.

Chapter 7, "Constructing Text," offers guidelines for setting up elements in documents, such as section heads; tables; lists; cross-references;
Notes, Cautions, and Warnings; graphical user interfaces; and typographic conventions.

Chapter 8, "Indexing," covers issues such as selecting topics to index, style rules for creating an index, and editing an index.

Appendix A, "Recommended Reading," presents a list of books, divided by subject headings, that you may want to refer to for additional information.

Appendix B, "Developing a Publications Department," provides information about issues related to a documentation department, including topics such as scheduling, roles and responsibilities, technical review, and printing and production.

About the Web Version of Read Me First

The Web version of Read Me First contains a nearly complete version of the book. The only missing elements are Chapter 3, "Illustrations," and Appendix C, "Checklists," due to technical difficulties regarding illustration display in HTML.

Note - This Web version was created by converting FrameMaker files to HTML files and was not natively authored in HTML. Therefore, do not use these HTML files as a model for HTML coding.