OK, I'd like to work on Chapter 9, Working with Tables. I see that I should put my wiki ID (Dupreyb) in the Checkout column. The existing file already is using the template, so would there still be a need for me to install that anywhere? Where am I supposed to work on the chapter? It would seem that there's a resources development page, but I don't know where or whether that is what is meant to be used as a workspace -- or maybe there's now or soon to be an Alfresco location where I can work in Writer.
Yes. It is already using a version of the LibO template, just not the latest one. Installing the new template will just make sure that all the styles in each document you work on will be consistent and have the latest revisions. If you want to install it, just download the file, open it in LibO and click File, Templates, Save. Type the name of the template file (LibO3_3_chapter_template) in the name box and click ok. Whenever you open a file that uses an older version of that template, you'll be prompted to update it to the latest version. Just click yes when prompted and save the doc.
We're doing the work on our PCs at the moment. Don't know if that will change or not with a CMS. You're workspace is actually the chapter itself. The change tracking feature helps others to see what you've done on it. For the moment, if you have comments about a specific part of the chapter, I would insert comments in the chapter itself unless there is something that you want to discuss on the mailing list. The Getting Started Guide files have a link to a development page for each chapter. This can be for anything you want others to know about what you've done or what needs to be done on the chapter. The dev pages for the Writer Guide haven't been created yet.
Once the chapter .odt file is in the right place, I can turn on change tracking (and versioning?) and make the changes; I've gotten the Getting Started with Writer chapter for reference, and I'm assuming that any screenshots used there that are relevant in the Tables chapter are in the zip file. Might I need any others, and if so, how should I go about acquiring them? (Presumably using Paint on a print-screen image is not sufficient!) Is there some definitive list of the differences between the currently-described features and operation, and new ones LibO has, or is this a matter of trying the capabilities in LibO?
Yes I'd use change tracking, but versioning is not needed. Right now none of the screenshots in chapter 9 are in the zip file. I've been creating them as I went along. There are some in there that can be used for ch. 1 and 2 of the Writer Guide as some of the material in the Getting Started Guide is repeated in those chapters. So for the ones you want to update, you'll have to create them. Keep in mind that you are free to just edit the text if that's all you want to do. I use Greenshot  and Gadwin PrintScreen  on Windows (don't know if there is a Linux version of those) to take the screenshots and GIMP  (there is a Linux version) to do editing if needed. You're right, lol, Paint would not be the best choice. As for keeping up with new features and changes, the developers have been creating a list of changes and post it weekly on the development mailing list .
Eventually, I'll also need to know how to put the file where it can be reviewed (if it doesn't just stay where it is, with the appropriate control table update to show it's ready). And if something is supposed to be done in the control table's Document Development column, and the associated file (which is apparently a kind of note holder for communication with the team), who sets that up, where, and how is it updated?
Sorry if all this is really obvious -- but the first time is always the hardest, right?
Yes it is. It took me a while to get the hang of it too, so learning is allowed
Once you've made changes to a chapter and want to upload it to the wiki, go to the docs dev page , sign in to the wiki and click the upload file link on the left of the page. Click the Browse button and select the file you've been working on. I usually select Documentation and EN for categories and CC, LGPL and MPL for the license. Then click Upload file. You'll see it at the top of the revision list once the upload is complete.
When you download a file and edit it, be sure to leave the filename as is. That way when it's uploaded again the file history can be tracked and reverted if necessary. Other pages link to the filenames as well so it prevents having to update the links every time a new version is uploaded.
 http://www.gadwin.com/printscreen/ (version 4.5 is freeware)