What Does a Documentation Specialist Do?

Maggie Worth
Maggie Worth
Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

A documentation specialist is a professional whose main job is to either create or manage documents, or both. This can include documenting processes, projects and procedures using a number of mediums. It can also include collecting documents from a number of stakeholders and consolidating them into one usable file or document. The purpose of such documentation can range from historical interest to establishment of business practices to governmental requirement.

In many cases, a documentation specialist is the person who actually does the documenting. This might mean writing policy and procedure manuals based on current practices, or it might mean creating a user manual that documents how a product should be used or assembled. It could also mean creating a timeline of actions and communications when a process is dictated by regulatory bodies or if it could potentially involve a dispute or lawsuit. It might also mean documenting events and occurrences for a historical record.

As an example, consider a company that is required to take specific safety steps during a manufacturing process. A documentation specialist could be responsible for watching the process be completed properly and then creating a document that tells workers how to replicate the process step-by-step. This work assists in training and also helps show regulating bodies that the company is attempting to follow correct procedure.

In conjunction with or in place of writing documents, a documentation specialist may be responsible for recording events and processes through still or video photography. This might include taking pictures of a car that has been in an accident for the purpose of documenting the damages for an insurance claim or lawsuit. It might also include filming a special event or procedure so that it can be accurately portrayed without relying on human memory.

Another type of documentation specialist is someone who assembles required documents from others. For example, if a company has been trying to collect money from a client and is considering legal action, a documentation specialist might be asked to assemble the original purchase contract, all applicable invoices and any emails or other communications that have been sent to or exchanged with the client in question. This type of specialist may also create independent documents that provide additional detail or describe how the documents were obtained.

It is important to note that the term should not be confused with the term document specialist. A documentation specialist creates or assembles documents for the specific purpose of tracking information or proving something. A document specialist is someone who works with existing documents and can refer to a large number of jobs ranging from clerks in a copy shop to handwriting experts who authenticate historic documents.

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