Recruiting Student/Intern Technical Writers (Software Documentation Specialists)
Introduction to Gallery
Gallery is an open-source, web-based photo album organizer. Gallery lets users manage their photos seamlessly into their own web sites, whether they are running a small personal site or a large community site. Thousands of people are using Gallery to create personalized photo albums on their web sites.
Gallery is open-source software licensed under the GPL, and is maintained and developed by a community of users and developers. The development of Gallery is a distributed effort, with collaboration from around the globe. The team is well organized, has weekly meetings, and is in constant communication.
What Gallery is Looking For …
Gallery has quality software, but it is lacking consistent, quality software documentation. Core developers (subject matter experts, or SMEs) have contributed a lot of the software documentation, but their time is at a premium and they are not technical writers. Gallery users are contributing to the documentation, but a professional—or budding professional technical writer, is needed to help out.
To receive college credit in exchange for work, interested applicants will contribute to Gallery’s software documentation. Participants must be self-starters willing to research basic project information, and they must be comfortable working with individuals strictly through digital (on-line) means, both through on-line discussion forums, mail lists, and on-line chat. SMEs have a varying range of expertise, as does the audience, so we are looking for individuals who are very technology minded and versed with the latest in web technologies.
In addition, participants must be familiar and comfortable with wiki authoring and publishing to on-line wikis. You must be comfortable with structuring, categorizing, and linking to related content through wiki-related documentation. The Gallery project cannot provide training to its technical writer—but some guidance will be provided to someone to new to this process.
We will also expect that the technical writer will provide regular status updates through weekly progress reports (via e-mail). You might be asked to coordinate your efforts with other students, usability experts, and the project coordinator.
Specific Documentation Needed
The Gallery project is looking for the following documentation to take place.
1. End-user documentation: End-user guides should be geared toward a novice audience, written in a friendly voice that is easy for your Grandma to be able to read and understand. It should use screen-shots and as much “illustrations” as possible. Should be very basic and straightforward.
2. Site-administration documentation: This type of documentation should be written for a wide-range of audience—from novices to “seasoned” web developers. This documentation begins with instructions for installing, basic configuring, and upgrading Gallery. Gallery has a rich and growing list of features that require varying levels of configuration and administration.
3. Developer documentation: Although a majority of Gallery’s features were developed by a core group of software experts, many enhancements to Gallery were/are added or contributed by the Gallery community. To let users contribute to this process, new features, bug fixes, and enhancements, developers must become familiar with Gallery’s core API (application programming interface). There is quite a bit of developer documentation in place already, but it lacks a consistent voice, tone, and formatting/structure. There are also major gaps in the developer documentation. Gallery needs more of a “quick start” guide to developing for Gallery. Developer documentation not only includes application programming, but also user-interface and template design.