A good documentation system is critical to the effective functioning of an organisation. It
provides a repository for procedures and standards, and a reference source for training.
WA’s Department of Water operates a network of over 300 gauging stations with
hydrographic staff located in over a dozen separate offices throughout the state. Whether in
the office or the field, ensuring that all of these people access the same version of the
hydrographic controlled document system presented several logistical issues.
The solution used is the called the Water Information Bookshelf; a collection of Adobe
Acrobat portable document files. These are presented via a single interface with individual
“books” linked seamlessly by a series of direct and indirect hyperlinks. Updates are managed
by transmission over the computer network to each regional office. Field access to the system
is provided by configuring laptops to update their Bookshelf copy automatically when
A single master copy of source documents in Word, Excel, etc. is maintained in a restricted
area of network storage. This restriction ensures the integrity of the system. When additions
or changes are completed they are “published” to Acrobat and integrated into the Bookshelf.
Bookshelf contents include equipment set-up and operation, field work such as surveying,
water quality and discharge measurement, data management in the office, such as time
series data verification and rating development, and guides for data reporting. In fact, any
information that hydrographic staff need to access can potentially by provided.
Environmentally friendly (no hard copies to print or manage) and in a completely indexed
electronic format, Bookshelf has now provided over a decade of support to hydrography in the