If you're interested in working on documentation, we need you!
Primary points of contact and resources: the documentation mailing list, the English documentation pages on the wiki, and the team's documentation production and storage repository at ODFAuthors.
No sophisticated software product such as LibreOffice could be considered complete without documentation. Documentation is an on-going work center in the LibreOffice project, and we are hard at work producing more of it.
We need people to get involved in one, some or all of the following areas:
- Authoring: you need to have reasonable copy-writing skill. Ideally, you'd have previous experience of writing (technical writing, translation, journalism, ...), but you can also do this work if you just have a logical mind and the ability to write clear, grammatical English (for documentation in other languages, please refer to our page on contributing to localization). Ideally, you would also have good experience of using all or some of the modules of LibreOffice (Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math and Base), but it's also possible to write and learn at the same time.
- Indexing: technical documentation contains many cross references to other documents and information resources (Web pages, mailing lists, etc.). These cross references and links need to be maintained on a continual basis as new LibreOffice versions are released and as the project's working resources evolve.
- Screenshot production: LibreOffice documentation includes many screenshots of dialog boxes and windows. These screenshots need to be produced for each manual, and have to be maintained up to date when new software versions are released.
- Proofreading, reviewing and editing: the best way to ensure good quality in documentation is through peer reviewing and checking by a supervising editor. If you have previous experience in fields such as publishing and journalism, you'd be a great addition to our team. But you can also make a valuable contribution to documentation if you just possess the basic qualities of a documenter.
- Work coordination: each work project is generally contributed to by multiple participants. Therefore, things go more smoothly when at least one person has an overview of the work in progress and oversees production. For this, you need the ability to organize and allocate tasks, to arbitrate, and to negotiate.
- Mentoring: team members may already have qualifications and skills in documentation-related fields. But they can also be community members and end users without previous experience but with willingness and motivation to contribute to producing, maintaining and expanding LibreOffice's documentation library. To enable a new contributor to get familiar with the production workflow and methodology, and to improve their skills in their area of contribution, they need mentoring and support.
- Research: we are continually seeking to enhance and expand the ways we make knowledge and information available to our end users. We also seek to refine and improve our working methods, tools and organization. This requires on-going research into user habits and needs and into new software tools for production and publishing.
- Template development: productivity with the LibreOffice suite can be considerably boosted when you use templates for often-generated documents (invoices, standard correspondence, etc.), and for less-frequent tasks that require a lot of preparatory work but in which only the input data changes (budget forecasts, financial plans, etc.). We are looking for people to develop new templates, and to update and check the quality of existing templates.
- Website content development and quality assurance: the LibreOffice website contains a great deal of written content that needs further development, and that needs as much quality assurance as the LibreOffice suite's documentation. We need people to work on technical writing about LibreOffice for website pages, and to check the content provided by other contributors. For this, you'd need the ability to write technical copy that also does good marketing for the suite, while bearing in mind the SEO stakes.
The basic qualities for all the above are attention to detail, precision, patience, logical thinking, cooperativeness and flexibility. Previous experience is not essential, although it is a valuable asset. The prime qualification is some time and work to give, and the desire to make Open Source LibreOffice a better product in the future. To talk to us about documentation, contact us on the documentation mailing list.