O and M manuals are digital

It always takes a long time for traditional systems to be replaced, but it is becoming increasingly clear that the default requirement for an O&M manual is that it works as a digital document as well as a paper file.

The advantages of the digital manual are:

  • Convenience:  A complete copy of a digital manual can be put on a simple CD or DVD, on a Flash drive on your key ring, or on a computer network.  This is so much easier to manage than carrying around many thick files of paper.
  • Digital files are always complete: Every FM knows the feeling of going to the manuals and finding that the specific drawing that they want is missing. Probably it was used previously and not refiled correctly, so now it is lost for ever! This cannot happen with the digital record because you are just printing a copy of what you need.
  • Easy to search: We have all used Google search to find information on the Internet and understand how liberating it is to be able to find information just by searching for key words. A properly produced digital manual is just that easy to search either through key words and/or through a consistent navigational structure.

O and M manuals are digital

The disadvantages of a digital manual:

  • There are still some people who are uncomfortable with working from a PC screen and that has been the greatest impediment to making all manuals digital.  This is why mostly the digital manuals has to be printed as well.
  • The digital manual uses the conventions that we have all become familiar with when using the internet ie you to link to files by clicking on specific words eg drawings or certificated or manufacturers literature.  These hyper links all have to be changed to Tab references in order to convert the digital manual to a paper version. But once the conversion is done, you have a pristine manual with a an index and page numbering system that works.