A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Sauer, Geoffrey

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Geoffrey Sauer is an associate professor in the Rhetoric and Professional Communication Program at Iowa State University. He is the director of the EServer, a nonprofit online publishing venture in the arts and humanities (by some estimates, the most visited humanities website in the world). He is also the director of the ISU Studio for New Media, an interdisciplinary research institute.



Advanced Interactive Multimedia

A website from an undergraduate course on designing complex interactive multmedia for technical communicators.

Sauer, Geoffrey. University of Washington-Seattle (2002). Academic>Courses>Undergraduate


As Simple As Possible...And No Simpler   (PDF)

A PowerPoint presentation about the difficulties of categorizing technical communication. It's not an easy thing to do, if the journals and textbooks in our own field don't consistently agree as to the major and minor categories. This PDF version of a PowerPoint presentation outlines the issues confronted by the EServer TC Library as it attempts to create a system of categories for its index of thousands of works in the fields of technical, scientific and professional communication.

Sauer, Geoffrey. ATTW (2005). Presentations>TC>Taxonomy


Bodies of Knowledge for Technical Communication: Paradigms and Possibilities

The presenters summarize and discuss two emerging paradigms for defining a technical communication body of knowledge: the EServer Technical Communication Library and the Society for Technical Communication's TCBOK project. The respondent sums up the alternatives presented, then frame the discussion of possibilities these projects present for advancing the field.

Sauer, Geoffrey, David Dayton and Carolyn D. Rude. EServer (2010). Presentations>TC>Databases>Body of Knowledge


Calls for Papers: Technical Communication

The EServer CFP site is a database-driven collection of calls for papers in several fields, including TC.

Sauer, Geoffrey. EServer. Academic>Calls For Papers


Databases and Textboks (Whether 'Natural Enemies' or Not) Can Become Allies  (link broken)

Textbooks have been a hybrid genre, neither quite narratives or databases, and the longer (700-800 page) textbooks popular in the field of technical communication have therefore faced difficulties integrating online resources to assist students and instructors in tech comm courses. This paper, presented at the 2011 Annual CCCCs, describes one method to use web-based resources to supplement the survey intro to technical communication course.

Sauer, Geoffrey. EServer (2011). Presentations>Publishing>Textbooks>Online


EServer TC Library: The Most Popular Technical Communication Website in the World

The EServer TC Library dwarfs all other tech comm sites. Granted, EServer TC Library is a library, which people primarily use to browse content located elsewhere, so it’s perhaps not in the same category as the other sites. Still, the sheer amount of traffic is impressive. I caught up with Geoffrey Sauer, the creator of the EServer TC Library, and chatted with him over email.

Sauer, Geoffrey and Tom H. Johnson. I'd Rather Be Writing (2008). Articles>Interviews>TC>Body of Knowledge


Expanding the Scope of Technical Communication: Examples from the Department of Technical Communication at the University of Washington   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Argues that the technical communication field is expanding far beyond traditional areas of writing, editing, and production. Describes research at the University of Washington that helps clarify the expanding scope of our field.

Haselkorn, Mark P., Geoffrey Sauer, Jennifer Turns, Deborah L. Illman, Michio Tsutsui, Carolyn Plumb, Tom Williams, Beth E. Kolko and Jan Spyridakis. Technical Communication Online (2003). Articles>TC


Geoff Sauer on tc.eserver.org, the Largest Tech Comm Index Online

Geoff Sauer is one of the founders of tc.eserver.org--the largest online index for all works related to technical communication. The library indexes works by technical communicators in dozens of categories, and allows users to add new works, rank them, and get RSS feeds of specific titles. There are over 25,000 RSS feeds generated on the site and 15,000 visitors each day.

Sauer, Geoffrey and Tom H. Johnson. Tech Writer Voices (2007). Articles>Interviews>TC>Podcasts


Get to Know XML

The XML format was developed in the 1990s in a hope to develop a universal format for documents, replacing proprietary binary formats that couldn’t integrate with one another. And we’re beginning to see the results. In this talk, Dr. Geoffrey Sauer will present an introduction to XML, with an overview that will explain to people who’re not familiar with it why this is a good thing, and how we can begin to use XML formats to our advantage as technical communicators.

Sauer, Geoffrey. EServer (2010). Presentations>Lectures>Information Design>XML


Information Design

This graduate course was taught in the Winter 2001 term in the evening MS program at the University of Washington. The students published five anthologies of papers resulting from their study of information architecture.

Sauer, Geoffrey. University of Washington-Seattle (2001). Academic>Courses>Graduate


Information Design

This graduate course was taught in the Spring 2001 term in the MS program at the University of Washington. The students published four anthologies of papers resulting from their study of information architecture.

Sauer, Geoffrey. University of Washington-Seattle (2001). Academic>Courses>Graduate


Review: Methods for Globally Networked Learning Environments as an Emerging Pedagogy: A First Vision   (PDF)

The editors are working diligently to introduce GNLE as an accepted mode of education. The book appears to be an early attempt to define the scope and nature of GNLE theory and practice.

Sauer, Geoffrey. Programmatic Perspectives (2010). Articles>Reviews>Education>Online


Multimedia Content Management   (members only)

Strategies for developing and delivering multimodal content via digital media. Focus on the principles on database design, interface development, usability testing, and collaborative content management within technical communication settings. Projects include training modules, online documentation, dynamic interfaces, and document management systems.

Sauer, Geoffrey. EServer (2009). Academic>Courses>Content Management>Multimedia


Multimedia Design in Professional Communication

This course will focus on the fundamentals of developing digital multimedia using a range of software, hardware, and electronic equipment. Through readings, class discussion and multimedia projects, you'll learn to apply rhetorical principles (audience analysis, invention, organization, style, design) to multimedia authoring; to learn production techniques for multimedia development (including CD-ROM, streaming video, DVD video and Flash interactivity), from storyboarding to nonlinear editing; to plan and manage collaborative multimedia projects; to master software genres commonly used for multimedia training program in education and industry.

Sauer, Geoffrey. Iowa State University (2004). Academic>Courses>Multimedia


Multimedia Labs as Content Incubators   (members only)

The New Media Consortium, in its 2011 Horizon Report, argues that digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every profession, but that the skills aren’t yet well defined or well taught (3). That claim is certainly supported by my experience as both a digital humanities professor and new media consultant. In this article, I’ll discuss briefly why a multimedia lab can help address the issue, then point out a few of the policies we’ve used and grants we’ve found to support our lab, the Iowa State University Studio for New Media.

Sauer, Geoffrey. Intercom (2011). Articles>Collaboration>Multimedia>Content Management


The Need for Architect/Construction Worker Dichotomies in Information Architecture as a Profession  (link broken)

I would suggest that before we adopt the 'information architect' model and concede the construction worker (role of 'other') to many members of our field in order to negotiate management positions for a few, that we look to other professions to see how they have resisted this dichotomy. It may be argued, perhaps, that professions such as medicine and the law have managed to avoid successfully such hierarchical dichotomies -- at least in part. At the least, we should debate the possible implications of such systems more rigorously than we have to date.

Sauer, Geoffrey. CPTSC Proceedings (2002). Presentations>Information Design>Workplace


The Place of the Internet in the History of Publishing

Discusses some critical methodologies we may wish to use in order to make sense of the changes which have occurred in mass media post-1976. It is rather important to understand this history -- the reasons we think the current Internet is confusing is precisely because of the reorganization it represents in the balance of power between ruling interests in our society. In the end, I argue, the Internet is another step in the increasing influence of media and publishing interests, and it is important to read news in online space as part of that history.

Sauer, Geoffrey. EServer (2000). Presentations>Lectures>Publishing>History


Print Production

A spring 2002 tech comm course on offset printing, paper and graphic design for technical communicators.

Sauer, Geoffrey. University of Washington-Seattle (2002). Academic>Courses>Undergraduate


Publishing and Its Implications, 1688-2005

One definition of rhetoric is the study of relationships between writers and readers. This course will review changes in publishing from 1688 to the present, considering implications for writers (particularly professional communicators), publishing, and reading audiences. The course will learn about, then examine in detail, the social impact of key innovations from this period.

Sauer, Geoffrey. Iowa State University (2005). Academic>Courses>History>Publishing


Publishing Futures Within (or Without) the Humanities

Humanities disciplines have attributed enormous importance to scholarly publishing, but have not yet sufficiently examined the changes of circumstance which have re-formed the nature and interests of the publishing industry in recent decades.

Sauer, Geoffrey. Society for Critical Exchange (1999). Articles>Publishing>Assessment>History


Rendezvous with KnowGenesis: Geoffrey Sauer  (link broken)   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

An interview with Geoffrey Sauer, a professor of Rhetoric and Professional Communication and the director of the EServer TC Library.

Sauer, Geoffrey and Saurabh Kudesia. International Journal for Technical Communication (2007). Articles>Interviews>TC


Technical Communication

In this course we will explore the various forms and media by which working professionals convey technical information to both expert and novice audiences. As a student in this course, you will learn to write a variety of genres used in technical communication -- resumés and cover letters, memos, proposals, progress reports and final reports.

Sauer, Geoffrey. Iowa State University (2003). Academic>Courses>TC>Technical Writing


Technology, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication

This course offers students in various disciplines a critical view of the technologies now shaping workplace communication and our society as a whole. Using rhetorical theories of technology, we will examine the historical roots of communication technology and explore a number of economic and ethical issues spawned by the computer revolution. Students will gain a deep understanding of how technology impacts the decisions of technical communicators in an increasingly electronic workplace.

Sauer, Geoffrey. Iowa State University (2005). Academic>Courses>Technology>Rhetoric


Theoretical Dimensions of Technical Communication

This graduate course studies theoretical constructs and issues that inform all technical communication. Inherently a multi-disciplinary activity, tech comm draws on theories from fields as different as rhetoric and science, psychology and philosophy, sociology and linguistics. This term we will focus specifically on rhetoric, on the relationships between author, text and reader, and on philosophies of science and language. The purpose of this seminar is to explore relevant theories in sufficient depth and detail to do justice to their complexity, and, at the same time to examine their applicability to technical communication. Students will be expected to comprehend and challenge these theories on their own terms as well as to understand their value for the interpretation and transfer of technical information. Such understanding is crucial to intelligent decisions in professional practice; it allows the technical communicator to look beyond surface issues and see the essential problems and possible solutions. Theoretical knowledge of the field distinguishes the professional from the practitioner.

Sauer, Geoffrey. University of Washington-Seattle (2002). Academic>Courses>Graduate>Rhetoric


Theorizing the Borders of Academic Technical Communication   (peer-reviewed)

As technical communication programs come to accept our field's (emergent) status as a profession, we need to discuss more carefully how to judge the boundaries of technical communication as an academic field. Although many writers have recently called for efforts to span traditional borders between workplace practice and academic study of the field (Carver 1998, Sutcliff 2000, Eaton 2001 and Smith 2002 among others), doing so in practice can be quite difficult. From my experience as a member of the editorial board of the EServer Technical Communication Library (http://tc.eserver.org/), a website of resources in the field (originally founded explicitly to support such interdisciplinarity), I would today suggest that there are numerous practical and theoretical issues still remaining to resolve in how the field delimits and judges the diverse forms of work we perform.

Sauer, Geoffrey. CPTSC Proceedings (2003). Articles>TC>Academic



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