A Functional Approach to User Guides

  • Sandro Nielsen
  • Dictionaries Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America, January 2006, Johns Hopkins University Press
  • DOI: 10.1353/dic.2006.0006

User guides explain how dictionaries can best be used.

What is it about?

Valuable user guides accentuate the relevant types of sictuation in which they can provide help and relate the information in the entire dictionary to these functions. In order to guide and instruct users, guides should contain text parts that are directive discourse function, and the functional approach will enable lexicographers to write user guides that can explain how to effectively use the dictionary.

Why is it important?

This paper suggests that lexicographers should adopt a user perspective when writing user guides and focus on explaining how users can best find the information they are looking for when performing activities in which they seek help in dictionaries. This approach is different from that practiced in most dictionaries and by most lexicographers nad at the same time provides users with highly relevant guidance.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Sandro Nielsen