Thank you for a very fast reply, and on a Saturday too.
Based on your message, I looked at the Comments facility but it seems less powerful than I need. My ancestors didn’t think much about posterity when they left their records, spelling their names differently on each occasion, etc., so I need a little more space for multiple spellings and multiple entries where more than one family member is in a document like a census page. I’ll continue to use the HTML method.
By the way, in getting to this forum I used the Support page and noticed that it read DOWNLOAD THE DOCUMENTATIONS in one section. That surprised me as, otherwise, the English is impeccable. Or is there a prize for reading closely? Cheers.
Um, it may sound awkward, but there’s nothing incorrect about forming a plural by adding an “s” – “documentation” has a particular meaning in computing, so several forms or sets of documentation could be called documentations. The American Heritage Book of English Usage (1996) gives no special rule for a noun ending in -tion: bartleby.com/64/81.html
A quick look at the Web indicates that you are correct though it may be a case of the two of us being separated by a common language. Our local usage has the word documentation refer to all the written evidence supporting a claim i.e. acting as a collective noun, with the plural being regarded as obsolete though the Oxford English Dictionary does not cite the plural as specifically obsolete. Its examples of common usage, however, refer to “documentations” supporting multiple claims but are only 18th and early 19th century.
The American Heritage Dictionary gives ‘documentation’ the following defintion as its primary definition:
NOUN: 1a. The act or an instance of the supplying of documents or supporting references or records. b. The documents or references so supplied.
IMHO, this implies that, while the rule for -tion nouns may not prohibit using an -s to make it plural, ‘documentation’ is a kind of collective noun, i.e., it already contains the plural within it. In my days of editing (for academic presses), ‘documentations’ in this context would have been a no-no.
But it’s one of those grey areas, I think. Another factor in how information is presented, I think, is common usage and how it reads. I’d take the ‘s’ out myself. But I also doubt that most people, save slightly anal ex-editors like myself, would give it a second thought!