Guidelines for presenting a document for discussion

The following guidelines are for presenting a document for discussion. They seem obvious, but it seems they are not in common practice in public policy fields, esp. the South Kingstown School District.

Revision number
What revision number is the document? The number should be (mostly) consecutive -- 1, 2, 3, etc -- but, when not, at least increasing. If an established document is being changed then consider using the software version system. Revision number must be in the footer of every page.
Revision date
When was the revision finalized? Use YYYY-MM-DD date format so as to avoid international date ambiguity. (Is "10/2/12" Oct 2, 2012 or Feb 10, 2012, or Feb 12, 2010.) Revision date must be in the footer of every page.
Revision history
Summarize how the document changed with each revision. The revision history is usually located in the front matter and presented as a table of revision number, revision date, revision authors, and revision summary columns.
Page numbers
What page am I looking at and how many pages are there in total? Page number and page count must be in the footer of every page.
Line numbers
Use line numbers to give the discussants a means to directly reference a portion of the sentence or the paragraph for discussion. Line numbers appear in the left margin of every page. Line numbers are consecutive across the whole document (and not just per page). It is common to only show every 5th or 10th line number. ¶ With online documents there are no fixed lines so use numbered paragraphs.
When content is changed change bars allow the reviewer to focus only on the changed content. With a long document, or one that has had intense discussion, not having to reread the whole document aids in moving along the document to completion. Change bars are usually placed in the left margin, but either is fine.
Table of contents
For a long document a table of contents, especially an annotated table of contents, is a guide to quickly understanding the overall structure of the document's content. A good table of contents can substitute for an executive summary.

Also of interest:

  • The International harmonized stage codes is a rather sophistated encoding of ISO's document development process. I just use WORKING (not yet draft), DRAFT (not yet final), FINAL.

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