Engineering Technical Documentation

IETMs – Interactive Electronic Technical Manual

Technical manuals (e.g. maintenance, user, training, operations, etc.) published in electronic format are becoming more and more popular than paper based manuals for their interactivity, convenience and ease of use. For example, the maintenance and operation manuals of a warship, which used to occupy 200-250 sq. feet of prime area with thousands of pages of technical literature, are now replaced by their electronic versions occupying very little space and can be viewed on tablets from any part of the ship. These electronic technical manuals are termed as Interactive Electronic Technical Manuals (IETM).

Conceptia can offer IETM as per S1000D specifications which is making great progress all over the world. Both Military and Commercial Sectors are standardizing their IETMs as per S1000D specifications. All most all major international suppliers of equipment and systems are delivering their Interactive Electronic Technical Manuals compliant to S1000D. Most Supplier Manuals are delivered in CD ROMs which can be directly loaded into On board IETM without any changes is a great advantage.

Why IETM

  • Suitability on various devices like computers, laptops and tablets
  • Screen renditions can include material derived from data stored in textual, graphical, audio or video formats in a relational database which is composed of logically connected but randomly accessible IETM data elements
  • Simple and intuitive user interface with completely hyper-linked table of contents
  • Frame oriented instead of being page oriented
  • Powerful search capabilities with hyperlinks to referenced text and illustrations
  • Interactive intelligent schematics
  • Animated and interactive 3-D interactive graphics to display parts and assemblies
  • Historical record of changes
  • IETP includes conditional branching mechanisms, which can be based on user feedback. The parameters are evaluated at run-time and their values depend on context and specific user input.

Functionality of IETM

The functionality of IETM systems can be broadly broken down into five classes. These classes have evolved over a period of time and represent the technical advancements.

Class I: Electronically Indexed Page Images

This IETM class follows the structure and format of a printed book, with indexes and table of contents that are hyper-linked into the content of the document. This could be composed of scanned raster images of a book with some links added.

Class 2: Electronic Scrolling Documents

This class of manuals have page-oriented live ASCII text with SGML/XML tags. They may use hypertext links to other related areas within the document, and can include multimedia.

Class 3: Linear-Structured IETMs

The technical manual is structured in freely flowing format following the logic of the content. The document can still be printed but it may not necessarily match the presentation on the screen. Hyper linking is done throughout the document and the same is authored in a mark-up language, typically SGML.

Class 4: Hierarchically Structured IETMs

These are hierarchically structured manuals and are specifically authored for interactive electronic presentation. It is “data driven” and the data is stored in a relational database, obtaining benefits of data integrity and removal of data redundancy. Relationships in the content that are presented as hyperlinks are mapped directly to relations in the database schema. The data is commonly tagged using SGML or XML and stored in a relational or object-oriented database Redundancy in the data that existed in earlier classes are removed. There is no longer the concept of a static page. Content can change dynamically based on user’s navigation and input and the content can now be user specific. The result is a more dynamic approach to how technical data is presented and managed on an ongoing basis, with the added benefit of the time and cost savings associated with reusing data rather than recreating it each time.

Class 5: Integrated Electronic Technical Information System (IETIS)

In this class the content is now integrated with expert systems that may influence the display of content while interacting with different processes. The processes may include expert systems, computer based training modules, interactive schematics, test equipment, prime equipment diagnostics, intrusive or remote diagnostics, etc. For example, the IETM system may aggregate data from a large number of users input; feed that to the expert system that analyses it and then the result gets fed back to the user through the IETM system.

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