Faculty Advisor

deWinter, Jennifer

Faculty Advisor

Higgins, Lorraine D.


The licensing body for open source software (OSI) requires that software "not discriminate against any person or group of people" assuring accessibility for all users. This professional writing study analyzed how access may be influenced by software's documentation. Access is defined as whether an average intelligent user can find, open, understand and use the documentation. Documentation for 18 pieces of software on SourceForge.net was examined to determine if it existed, was easy to locate, was static or dynamic, used technical writing best practices, and if non-technical users viewed it as aiding software usability. This research indicates that documentation may be key to software accessibility and includes suggestions for ensuring accessibility and effectiveness.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

October 2010


Professional Writing

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Humanities and Arts