Double numeration in single-chapter documents

A reader wrote:
I have a quick question for you about numbered heads in documents.

In general, numbered section heads use the chapter number as the first digit – but that’s only if you have multiple chapters in a book (1.1, 2.1, 3.1…).

What if you have only one chapter in a book? Do the sections become 1, 2, 3…?

I haven’t been able to find anything discussing this, so if you know of any reference material to back this up, I’d be much obliged!

Readability Report for on Windows

I haven’t tried this extension to, because I don’t use Windows, but it sounds interesting (if not misused or abused as often happens with “readability” scores). Would like to hear from someone who has used it.

The Readability Report tool scores your document for readability, cohesion and information density. These scores provide the author with an indication of how well the intended audience will understand the text. The scores use a variety of computational linguistic techniques to determine the reading level of the text.

ASCAP’s Attack on Creative Commons

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) has launched a campaign to raise money from its members to hire lobbyists to protect them against”the dangers of Copyleft, which they claim groups such as Creative Commons are promoting in order to undermine Copyright.

If you are unfamiliar with the licenses promoted by Creative Commons (CC), you might be taken in by these claims, but they are not true. Lawrence Lessig, cofounder and board member of CC (his day job is Harvard Law School professor and director of the Safra Center for Ethics) explains the situation in this article. In brief, what CC promotes is choice for creators of works (writers, musicians, artists), using more flexible variations on copyright license terms.

Engaging readers in documentation

At the AODC 2010 conference, Sarah Maddox, who works for Atlassian, an agile development environment, spoke on engaging readers in the documentation and the concept of documentation as an emotional experience.

Sarah explained the advantages to both the customers and the company of involving readers (users) and discussed some of the techniques that Atlassian has been experimenting with. These include social media (blogs, a forum, and Twitter), a “doc sprint” (an intensive time spent producing documents such as tutorials), encouraging users to update community documentation on a wiki, links to readers’ blogs, and an interactive game that customers can use to help them through the complex installation and configuration of a product.
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AODC 2010

The 13th Australasian Online Documentation and Content Conference (AODC 2010) was held in Darwin, Australia’s Northern Territory, 12-14 May. I found the conference both highly informative (all of the sessions interested me) and a lot of fun; thus it was well worth the cost.

Some highlights for me included the talks on structured content and DITA, engaging your readers with the documentation, an overview of Google Apps, user assistance design and implementation for iPhone apps—and the chance to fondle an iPad several weeks before they became available in Australia. I’m now mulling over the possibilities for putting some of what I’ve learned—about both structured authoring and engaging readers—into use at

For details of the speakers and their topics, see speakers page and the agenda pages on the AODC website. The speakers are regulars at AODC as well as WritersUA and similar conferences, with new material every year, presented in an entertaining manner.

I am not going to attempt to summarise the sessions, though I’ll mention some topics of particular interest to me in subsequent blog posts.