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A Quick Overview of IETM Functionality Matrix

An IETM stands for Interactive Electronic Technical Manual. It is a portal designed to manage technical documentation. It consists of volumes of text into CD-ROMs or online pages that include sound and video. It also allows readers to locate needed details far more rapidly than in paper manuals. Interactive Electronic Technical Manual or IETM came into widespread use in the year 1990 as huge technical documentation projects for the aircraft as well as defense industries.


In 1970, in the United States, the US Military started to look at other methods to deliver technical manuals. With the overview of computer technology, it was theorized that moving technical manuals to an electronic format would get cost savings that allow better integration along with other logistics systems as well as improved usability of the technical material.

In the year 1970 and 1980, research was performed by all branches of the United States military to get information on what the objectives should be for the electronic technical manuals. Initially, research was conducted at the Army Communicative Technology Office at Ft. Eustis, the Air Force Human Resources Laboratory at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, and the David Taylor Research Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Programs created by the Navy, Navy Technical Information Presentation System (NTIPS) as well as the Air Force, Computer-based Maintenance Aid System (CMAS) were used along with user surveys, technologies analysis as well as design studies to come up with the basic concepts for Interactive Electronic Technical Manual (IETM).

On the basis of field tests with technicians maintaining military equipment, it was found that performance was improved and dramatic improvement occurred for inexperienced technicians. One test claims that 90% of the technicians preferred electronic manuals and found them easier to use.

IETM Functionality Matrix

Due to the rough nature of the basic descriptions used in the class as well as a level description of IETMs, Interactive Electronic Technical Manuals are defined using Functionality Matrix. IETMs come with many features as well as the Functionality Matrix can be used as a checklist of which features are needed for a specific IETM. The checklist defines what functionality an IETM has, and allows clearer communication between an IETM as well as the customer.

The IETM functionality matrix was created by the US Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) Product Support Committee. In addition to this, it is used in most US military-technical data specifications as well as S1000D, the international IETM standard.

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Diane SmithDiane Smith
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