A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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About Freeloading

Jess McMullin, a Usability Analyst at Cognissa, and a long time reader of WebWord, wrote me a lettera couple of days ago. His basic complaint was that I don't give my readers enough credit. I'm pretty sure that he feels offended that I have called my readers a bunch of 'freeloaders'. What does that mean and what is freeloading?

Rhodes, John S. WebWord (2001). Articles>Publishing>Online


The Added Value Features of Online Scholarly Journals   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Online scholarly journals have become an important tool for the generation of knowledge and the distribution and access to research. The purpose of this article is to analyze the features of online scholarly journals and to determine whether they incorporate new Internet-enabled features and functions which help to meet the needs of the members of the scholarly community more effectively. Drawing on Taylor's concept of added value [1], the features of online scholarly journals were classified into the following types: features which enhance ease of use and facilitate access to data, features that provide selected information and thus reduce noise, features which improve quality, features which address specific user needs, and features which contribute to time or cost savings. The analysis revealed that, although some online journals operate in the same way as print journals, there are others which incorporate innovative features which are transforming the journal to make it a more effective tool for scholarly activity.

Luzón, María José. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (2007). Articles>Research>Publishing>Online


After Launching 300 Content Websites, These Are My Observations

To help those people who are considering going online and to offer some thoughts to those who already have a website here are 10 observations I’ve made over the last few months.

SubHub (2008). Articles>Publishing>Online>E Commerce


Are you Hurting Your Career By Not Blogging or Podcasting?

Talks about myths, rewards, trends, tips, and issues surrounding blogging and podcasting, especially in terms of how it affects your career.

Tech Writer Voices (2007). Articles>Publishing>Online>Podcasts


Bantamweight Publishing in an Easily Plagiarised World

Bantamweight publishing is popular among those who feel brevity is a virtue. But when an entire work of art is bounded in 140 characters, even brevity has its limits. Sometimes, squeezing in a proper attribution through editing content can change the original meaning, when the edits unwillingly shift from cosmetic to substantive.

Drapeau, Mark. O'Reilly and Associates (2009). Articles>Publishing>Online>Plagiarism


A Basic Guide to Power Blogging

Blogs (web logs, online journals) are nearly mandatory now. From presidential candidates and CEOs to avid hobbyists and local clubs, blogs are being used to share ideas and opinions. As the next new communications/community building/marketing tool beyond conventional web sites, blogs offer a more dynamic, timely, and personal interactive experience. Join over 4 million other bloggers by following these easy steps to Power Blogging.

Streight, Steven. Blogger.com (2004). Articles>Publishing>Online>Blogging


Best Practices for Digital Archiving   (peer-reviewed)

The rapid growth in the creation and dissemination of digital objects by authors, publishers, corporations, governments, and even librarians, archivists, and museum curators, has emphasized the speed and ease of short-term dissemination with little regard for the long-term preservation of digital information. However, digital information is fragile in ways that differ from traditional technologies, such as paper or microfilm. It is more easily corrupted or altered without recognition. Digital storage media have shorter life spans, and digital information requires access technologies that are changing at an ever-increasing pace. Some types of information, such as multimedia, are so closely linked to the software and hardware technologies that they cannot be used outside these proprietary environments [Kuny 1998]. Because of the speed of technological advances, the time frame in which we must consider archiving becomes much shorter. The time between manufacture and preservation is shrinking.

Hodge, Gail M. Journal of Electronic Publishing (2000). Articles>Publishing>Online


Blogs on the Side

Blogging as a trend has gained enormous popularity with the simplification of automated self-publishing systems, such as Blogger at www.blogger.com, or MT at www.moveabletype.org. Blogging as a way of life is also gathering adherents at a rapid pace.

Young, Lisa. MetroVoice (2003). Articles>Publishing>Online>Blogging


A Brief History and Technical Overview of the Current State of JAC Online, with a Few Observations About How the Internet is Influencing (or Failing to Influence) Scholarship: or, Who Says You Can’t Find JAC Online?   (peer-reviewed)

This article has two purposes. A number of people have asked me what has been involved in producing the current version of JAC Online, and so the electronic archive’s history and technical development is presented here for them. In the process of working with JAC Online, I have come to some tentative conclusions about the role electronic research plays in scholarship, the significance electronic publications hold for paper publications, the question of e-publication and tenure, and how much technical knowledge is relevant to current and future scholarship in the humanities. I present these tentative conclusions in the context of my experience as an online editor. It is important to emphasize that my experience is limited to a single journal and my role with that journal is limited to that journal’s needs, and thus what I say is local knowledge. But like a lot of people I see all knowledge as local, even in cyberspace. To create the context for what I will suggest about the current state of online scholarship, I will first recount the history of JAC Online.

Pullman, George. Kairos (2002). Articles>Publishing>Online


Building E-Books: A Tool Overview for Technical Writers

As e-books become another option for publishing technical content, writers are faced with more choices among the tools to produce them. In my previous articles on e-book readers and formats, I noted the similarities between e-book formats and the online help formats that technical writers have been using for many years. In this article, I’ll look at some of the tools you can use to create EPUB books, the most common e-book format. I’ll also show how you can convert an EPUB to Amazon’s Kindle format.

Soltys, Keith. TechWhirl.com (2012). Articles>Publishing>Online>eBooks


Business Model Issues in the Development of Digital Cultural Content

This paper examines business model aspects of digitizing cultural content. It is based in large part on a Study conducted by the author and his colleagues for the Department of Canadian Heritage. Based on data collected from several cultural institutions regarding their efforts to digitize content, the study found that implications for the cost side have been significant, leading to explorations of facilities and content sharing programs, formalized budgeting, the need for better copyright expertise and improved mid to long term planning. On the revenue (funding) side, a clear need for more rigorous assessments of user demand emerged. In addition, the possibility of revisiting organizational mandates was identified, as well as various revenue-generating opportunities including sponsorship, user-fees and private/public sector partnerships.

Wall, Gerry. First Monday (2003). Articles>Publishing>Online


The Complete Beginner's Guide to Writing Articles

So how do you get started? What do you write about? What do you actually DO with your articles once you've written them? It seems daunting, I know. I was petrified myself when I first started writing articles, I still get nervous every time I start submitting a new article all over the net.

Stewart, Anna-Marie. DevBay (2005). Articles>Writing>Publishing>Online


Conditions for Viable Scholarly Electronic Journals: The Role of Digital Libraries

Three characteristics of hard-copy scholarly journals--visibility, immutability and longevity--which electronic journals might emulate to gain more acceptance and trust of potential authors and readers, are pointed out. The role of digital libraries in helping electronic journals in the emulation is also discussed.

Yamamoto, Takeo. ISRDP in Digital Libraries (1997). Articles>Publishing>Online


Crossing the Divide   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This essay summarizes the editor's views of publication in the field of human-computer interaction. Digital technologies have begun changing the way journal articles and conference papers are produced, reviewed, published, accessed, and used. This period of profound change presents challenges and opportunities for both new and existing channels of scientific and technical communication.

Grudin, Jonathan. ACM TOCHI (2004). Articles>Research>Publishing>Online


The Deep Niche   (peer-reviewed)

The deep niche--the rolling 'interest tribe' comprised of that day's enthusiastic, new audience--is something that publishers must acknowledge, and accommodate in our business plans, if we are to sustain ourselves. The Web is not merely a threat to publishers--it can also be the means to connect to the people we most want to reach: the interested reader.

Jensen, Michael. Journal of Electronic Publishing (2007). Articles>Publishing>Research>Online


Design, Technology, and Collaboration: A Case Study in Internet Publishing   (PDF)

This case study presents the process and procedures involved in migrating print documents (technical documentation, newsletters, brochures, white papers, etc.) to the Internet. Included is a discussion of how print prototypes were developed, the online 'translation' of information structures ,as well as the selection and training of the business unit’s web team, and the role of the project leader. Issues like 'designing for maintenance,' management support, and technological benefits and constraints are highlighted.

Eiler, Mary Ann. STC Proceedings (2001). Articles>Publishing>Online


Designing Information for the 21st Century   (PDF)

In the past, documentation meant printed books. Then along came online help. Online books soon followed. Now we have the Internet and web pages. Developing a documentation plan today means more than planning how books are going to be structured, reviewed, and printed. It needs to take into account the possibilities that these new media have to offer. Achieve the most effective results by making delivery in these media part of your documentation planning.

Radecki, Steven Lewis. STC Proceedings (1997). Articles>Publishing>Online


The Digital Imprimatur

Over the last two years I have become deeply and increasingly pessimistic about the future of liberty and freedom of speech, particularly in regard to the Internet.

Walker, John. Fourmilab (2003). Articles>Publishing>Online>Micropayments


Digital Libraries and the Need for a Universal Digital Publication Format   (peer-reviewed)

Reports have revealed low uses of e-books and other lengthy texts held in digital libraries. In this article we claim that one of the main reasons for the lack of interest is the current multitude of end-user text formats, some oriented towards print, others proprietary, and few optimized for sustained reading of text-intensive publications. We note IDPF's reluctance to develop a common digital publication format, discuss requirements for a universal, open-standard end-user format, and present the effort to establish such a format by the OpenReader Consortium. The main objective of the article is to examine the pros and cons of a universal, reader-oriented text format for different types of critical text editions and digital libraries.

Hillesund, Terje and Jon E. Noring. Journal of Electronic Publishing (2006). Articles>Publishing>Standards>Online


Digital Libraries, Knowledge Networks, and Human-Centered Information Systems

One of the most dramatic changes in the ongoing information revolution is the rapid convergence of computing, communications and content industries. Digital content, especially in the form of large, distributed, heterogeneous collections of electronic objects - text, voice, images, graphics, video, and others - is fueling the growth of the computing and communications in each other. This paper discusses the role of digital libraries, and knowledge networks in general, in this process, in the context of human-centered information systems.

Chien, Y.T. ISRDP in Digital Libraries (1997). Articles>Publishing>Online>User Centered Design


Digital Object Identifiers for Scientific Data   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)

The Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a system for identifying content objects in the digital environment. DOIs are names assigned to any entity for use on Internet digital networks. Scientific data sets may be identified by DOIs, and several efforts are now underway in this area. This paper outlines the underlying architecture of the DOI system, and two such efforts which are applying DOIs to content objects of scientific data.

Paskin, Norman. Data Science Journal (2005). Articles>Publishing>Standards>Online


Directions for Online Publishing

Online publishing of newspapers, magazines, and books is really a meaningless concept. We have to leave the legacy publications behind as we invent the world of online publishing.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (1995). Articles>Publishing>Online>Web Design


Do Authors Make Good Publishers?

Do authors make good publishers? The answer is No. But it’s fascinating to watch them try. Years ago as the e-book revolution dawned, we said that in order to keep pace with the new digital culture, authors would have to become more like publishers. Unfortunately, in order to master publishing skills, authors face the prospect of abandoning commitment to their muse.

Curtis, Richard. E-Reads (2011). Articles>Publishing>Online


Down By Law

A library's core mission is to provide free and full access to a world of ideas. The most exciting thing to happen in libraries in the last decade has been to see that mission extended to include access to the Internet. New library services, funded by generous federal support, have made more Internet access available to more and more people. Now, those same sources may force public libraries to censor Internet access.

Bickner, Carrie. List Apart, A (2001). Articles>Publishing>Online



E-books are a cost-saving technology for students. Imagine while reading your expensive paper textbook that it suddenly displayed a video that taught you the technique you just read about. Imagine searching through your textbook with the click of a button. Imagine your textbook costing about half of what you used to pay. That’s right—you didn’t read the last line wrong. It was half the amount you used to pay. Imagine all this and more, with e-books. E-books have many advantages over paper textbooks. The best advantage for students would have to be the cost. E-books are sold at very low prices because the whole printing process is out of the picture. This saves money for the publishers and in turn saves money for students.

Nelson, Daniel. Techniques (2003). Articles>Publishing>Online>eBooks



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