Google Season of Docs provides support for open source projects to improve their documentation and gives professional technical writers an opportunity to gain experience in open source. Together we raise awareness of open source, of docs, and of technical writing.
How does GSoD work?Google Season of Docs allows open source organizations to apply for a grant based on their documentation needs. If selected, the open source organizations use their grant to directly hire a technical writer to complete their documentation project. Organizations have up to six months to complete their documentation project. At the end of the program, organizations complete their final case study which outlines the problem the documentation project was intended to solve, what metrics were used to judge the effectiveness of the documentation, and what the organization learned for the future. All project case studies are published on the Season of Docs site at the end of the program.
Organizations: apply to be part of GSoD!The applications for Google Season of Docs open February 15 for the 2023 cycle. We strongly suggest that organizations take the time to complete the steps in the exploration phase before the application process begins, including:
- Creating a project page to gauge community and technical writer participant interest (see our project ideas page for examples).
- Publicizing your interest in participating in GSoD through your project channels and adding your project to our list of interested projects on GitHub.
- Lining up community members who are interested in mentoring or helping onboard technical writers to your project.
- Brainstorming requirements for technical writers to work on your project (Will they need to be able to test code, work with video, or have prior experience with your project or related technologies?).
- Reading through the case studies from previous Season of Docs participants.
Organizations: create your project pageEvery Google Season of Docs project begins with a project page, which is a publicly visible page that serves as an overview of your documentation project. A good project page includes:
- A statement of the problem your project needs to solve (“users on Windows don’t have clear guidance of how to install our project”).
- The documentation that might solve this problem (“We want to create a quickstart doc and installation guide for Windows users”).
- How you’ll measure the success of your documentation (“With a good quickstart, we expect to see 50% fewer issues opened about Windows installation problems.”).
- What skills your technical writer would need (break down into “must have” and “nice to have” categories. “Must have: access Windows machine to test instructions”).
- What volunteer help is needed from community members (“need help onboarding technical writers to our discussion groups”) and links to where the community can discuss the proposal.
- Most importantly, include a way for interested technical writers to reach you and ask questions!
Technical writers: reach out to organizations early!Technical writers do not submit a formal application through Google Season of Docs but those interested in working with accepted open source organizations can share their contact information now via the Google Season of Docs GitHub repository; or they may submit proposals directly to the organizations using the contact information shared on the organization project page. Check out our technical writer guide for more information. We suggest that interested technical writers read through the case studies from the previous Season of Docs participants to get an idea of the kinds of projects that have been accepted and what organizations have learned from working with technical writers.
Join usExplore the Google Season of Docs website at g.co/seasonofdocs to learn more about participating in the program. Use our logo and other promotional resources to spread the word. Check out the timeline and FAQ, and get ready to apply!
By Romina Vicente and Erin McKean – Google Open Source Programs Office