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ClickHelp Software Documentation Glossary

What Is Single-Sourcing?

Single-sourcing may have different definitions related to various spheres of activity.

First of all, the ‘single-sourcing’ term is used when people talk about businesses that use only one source to get goods, raw materials, services, and other things necessary for production. It doesn’t mean that other sources are unavailable, but a company uses only one of them.

When we talk about the sphere of digital technology and technical writing, single-sourcing means using one single document or piece of content to create multiple documents. It is a must-have when creating manuals or tutorials for teams and end-users. The term ‘single-sourcing’ can also be extended to the term ‘single-source publishing’.

What Are the Benefits of Using Single-Sourcing?

Single-sourcing allows to make document creation faster as a single document template or piece of content can be used to create documentation of different formats. Single-sourcing helps to avoid duplicated work by allowing multiple reuses of the existing content.

Main Principles of Single-Sourcing

Here are the main principles of single-sourcing:

  • No duplicated work and copy and pasting. Everyone wants to work faster, and single-sourcing is one of the best methods of achieving this goal as it provides multiple reuse of content.
  • Easy and quick document creation. Single-sourcing allows technical writers to create numerous documents using single-sourced content, just like bricks that are used to build a wall.
  • Easy documentation update. Updating the single-sourced content takes seconds and it helps technical writers avoid mistakes. There is no need to update each document manually.

When Is Single-Sourcing Used?

Sometimes, a technical writer needs to create multiple documents that are slightly different and have a lot of content in common. Single-sourcing is the best solution to avoid copy and pasting, and it allows to update of all the manuals simultaneously. A technical writer updates only the single-sourced content, and all the manuals that contain it will be updated automatically.

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