A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

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1.
#33302

A. Stanley Higgins and the History of STC's Journal   (PDF)

A profile of Stan Higgins, one of the first editors of STC's journal. Based on archival research and an interview with Higgins. Includes a table of journal titles (e.g., TWE Journal, STWE Review) and names of editors.

Malone, Edward A. IEEE PCS (2008). Articles>TC>Publishing>History

2.
#15088

April 15, 2002, through August 15, 2002   (PDF)

This report covers specifications, standards, and amendments received from April 15, 2002, through August 15, 2002.

Bach, Claudia. Intercom (2002). Articles>History>TC

3.
#14665

Arthur Levitt and the SEC: Promoting Plain English   (PDF)

Intercom's assistant editor profiles a recent recipient of STC's President's Award. The Securities and Exchange Commission was honored for requiring plain English in all disclosure statements filed with the SEC.

Nielan, Cate. Intercom (2000). Articles>TC>History>Minimalism

4.
#37442

The Association of Teachers of Technical Writing: The Emergence of Professional Identity   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article attempts to summarize the history of ATTW. It focuses on issues that led to the need for an organization devoted to technical writing, and the individuals who were leaders in ATTW, as well as in NCTE and CCCC, whose efforts provided the foundation for the presence of technical writing as a legitimate teaching and research discipline. We draw on existing historical pieces and the contributions provided by many of the first ATTW members to capture the history of ATTW. We describe the major changes in ATTW from 1973-2007 and conclude with our reflections, as well as important questions we believe to be critical to the future of ATTW.

Kynell, Teresa and Elizabeth Tebeaux. Technical Communication Quarterly (2009). Articles>TC>History>Case Studies

5.
#19386

A Brief History of STC   (PDF)

Nielan summarizes fifty years of Society history and identifies key events that influenced the development of technical communication.

Nielan, Cate. Intercom (2003). Articles>TC>History

6.
#13525

A Brief History of Technical Communication  (link broken)   (PDF)

Civilization is a cumulative enterprise, and communication has always been a vital component of that cumulation process. From the fourteenth century on, the social system of science has depended on technical communication to describe, disseminate , criticize, use, and improve innovations and advances in science, medicine, and technology. Rapid change in technical communication has been obvious during the past few decades with the advent of computers, laser printers, the Internet, and other developments. Viewed from a historical perspective, those changes can be seen as but a portion of the evolution that technical communication has undergone. It has undergone vast changes in the means and methods that it employs and in the audience to which it is addressed, the purposes to which it is put, the roles it fulfills, and the social forces that drive and support it.

O'Hara, Frederick M., Jr. STC Proceedings (2001). Articles>History>TC

7.
#29214

The CCCC Outstanding Dissertation Award in Technical Communication: A Retrospective Analysis   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article presents the history, purposes, outcomes, and significance of the CCCC Outstanding Dissertation Award in Technical Communication during its first five years. It analyzes the topical areas and research methods of the 34 dissertations nominated for the award from 1999 to 2003, as well as the evaluations of the judges. Methods of the nominated dissertations are interpretive (41%) and empirical (59%), but many dissertations combine methods. In the empirical category, qualitative methods (17) outnumber quantitative methods (3). The most frequent topical areas are workplace practice (8), rhetoric of the disciplines (7), and information design (6). Topics that are not widely investigated include issues of race and class and international communication.

Selber, Stuart A. Technical Communication Quarterly (2004). Articles>Research>TC>History

8.
#36862

Chrysler's “Most Beautiful Engineer”: Lucille J. Pieti in the Pillory of Fame   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The case of Lucille Pieti, a technical writer at Chrysler, serves as a discipline-specific illustration of some of Rossiter's (1995) generalizations about women scientists and engineers after World War II. Like other women with engineering degrees, Pieti emerged from college with high hopes, only to find herself consigned to one of the traditional ghettos for women scientists and engineers: technical communication. Her case is unusual, however, because she became a national celebrity.

Malone, Edward A. Technical Communication Quarterly (2010). Articles>History>TC>Gender

9.
#35332

The Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication at 35 Years: A Sequel and Perspective   (PDF)

Building on the 1996 retrospective by Pearsall and Warren, the authors examine the decade that followed for the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication (CPTSC). As the world became more closely knitted together through trade agreements and advancements in communication technology, CPTSC took up its mission in response as it helped promote program growth internationally. During this period, the organization added many more members beyond the United States, as it hosted a series of roundtables in Europe and Canada, working to diversify the ethnic make-up of its membership through scholarships.

Maylath, Bruce A.R. and Jeffrey Grabill. Programmatic Perspectives (2009). Articles>Education>TC>History

10.
#15108

December 1, 1999, through February 29, 2000   (PDF)

This report covers specifications, standards, and amendments received from December 1, 1999, through February 29, 2000.

Bach, Claudia. Intercom (2000). Articles>History>TC

11.
#15109

December 1, 2000, through February 28, 2001   (PDF)

This report covers specifications, standards, and amendments received from December 1, 2000, through February 28, 2001.

Bach, Claudia. Intercom (2001). Articles>History>TC

12.
#36649

Does Clio Have a Place in Technical Writing? Considering Patents in a History of Technical Communication   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Technical writers need a historical perspective in order to distinguish between enduring and transitory writing standards, to understand the variety of past styles in building future styles, and to give the profession a better sense of self-identity. To overcome the problems in developing a historical perspective, such as a dearth of artifacts to examine and the peculiarities in rhetorical time and place which undercut attempts to generalize on historical information, the 200 year-old federal collection of patents is offered as a solution. This collection of patents is also very often the only remaining written work of the ordinary mechanic of the nineteenth century, and this collection truly reflects technical not legal, business, or science writing.

Brockmann, R. John. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (1988). Articles>TC>Patents>History

13.
#26682

The Effect of Changes in Publishing Technologies on Labor and Documentation

Online publishing technologies is an ever-changing, morphing animal that cannot necessarily be predicted, but perhaps we can work to harness it. As publishing technologies change, so too will the style in which the readability of those documents change as they are shaped and designed to meet new formulas and needs. Likewise, as the readability and accessibility of documents change, so too must the interaction and intervention of the technical communicator change to ensure readable, articulate, navigable documentation, as well as preserve an author-reader relationship and also to preserve the role of the technical communicator.

Comstock, Jeanie. Orange Journal, The (2004). Articles>TC>Publishing>History

14.
#38724

Emergent Feminist Technical Communication   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The feminist approaches to technical communication that have emerged recently are largely liberal feminist or radical feminist in orientation. Liberal feminism arises out of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment and emphasizes equality and rights. It sees that women's opportunities to develop their intellects and talents and participate freely in the world of men have been thwarted by discriminatory practices. Radical feminism, in contrast, emphasizes differences between women and men, the limitations of patriarchal culture, and the characteristics of women's ways of communicating and knowing. The essays included in this issue, while multidimensional, primarily exhibit characteristics of both liberal and radical feminism.

Flynn, Elizabeth A. Technical Communication Quarterly (1997). Articles>TC>History>Gender

15.
#29031

Ethics and Technical Communication: The Past Quarter Century   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Ethics as a topic in technical communication has grown in interest in the past quarter century as the field itself has matured. We now understand technical communication as involved in communicating not only technical information but also values, ethics, and tacit assumptions represented in goals. It also is involved in accommodating the values and ethics of its many audiences. This understanding is linked to an awareness of the social nature of all discourse and the root interconnectedness of rhetoric and ethics. This article presents an introduction and annotated bibliography of articles from technical writing and communication journals over this period, arranged in categories of professional, academic, and systematic approaches. Ethics is broadly conceived to include not only particular theories but also systems of values and principles.

Dombrowski, Paul M. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (2000). Articles>TC>Ethics>History

16.
#15135

A Firm Foundation   (PDF)

This article presents a brief history of the Association of Technical Writers and Editors, one of STC's parent organizations.

Rutkowski, Ed. Intercom (2001). Articles>History>TC

17.
#23420

From Technical Writing to Technical Communication: Looking to the Future

This paper focuses on the technical communicator’s role as it relates to computer technology.

Fisher, Julie L. TC-FORUM (2000). Articles>TC>Technology>History

18.
#38725

Gender, Technology, and the History of Technical Communication   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)

Considers why women have been absent from the history of technical communication. Discusses research from the history of technology suggesting that notions of "technology,""work," and "workplace" may be gendered terms. Concludes with several suggestions for defining technical communication so that significant works of women will not be excluded from the discipline's history.

Durack, Katherine T. Technical Communication Quarterly (1997). Articles>TC>History>Gender

19.
#22889

Golden Hits of STC Conferences... A Potpourri of Titillating Technical Communication Tidbits   (PDF)

STC's international conferences offer a golden opportunity for professional growth and development. Taking a leaf from the book of Gordon McKenzie, keynote speaker at the 41st STC Conference in Minneapolis in 1994, the presenter has compiled his material from 16 previous presentations and workshops at regional and international STC conferences, as well as notes from many other technical sessions at those conferences, into a simulated 'HyperCard' stack of 32 topics (i.e., signs on the wall) which session participants can 'browse' simply by 'clicking' (read: shouting out a number).

Voss, Daniel W. and Lori A. Allen. STC Proceedings (1997). Articles>TC>History

20.
#19862

A Golden Opportunity-Planning for STC's 50th Anniversary   (PDF)

STC will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2003 and begins a year-long celebration here in Nashville. The STC 50th Anniversary Committee announces its plans, encourages chapters to participate, and asks members to share their ideas with the Committee. The plans include a special 50th anniversary website, an online STC history timeline, and recognition of pioneers. The committee prepared a Chapter Resource Kit, which includes program and speaker suggestions, news release templates, chapter historian guidelines, and chapter recognition recommendations. Members are asked to contribute anecdotes, as well as provide information on chapter pioneers and history resources.

Cantoni, Georgina C., Ernest D. Mazzatenta, William D. Leavitt, Kenneth J. Cook, Elizabeth Babcock and Marguerite Krupp. STC Proceedings (2002). Articles>History>TC

21.
#14743

Growth of the Technical Writing Profession   (PDF)

This article, reprinted from the January 1958 issue of the STWE Review (the quarterly journal of the Society of Technical Writers and Editors, one of STC's parent organizations), examines the state of the technical communication profession in the late 1950s.

Rathbone, Robert R. Intercom (2002). Articles>TC>History

22.
#29114

Herbert Spencer's Philosophy of Style: Conserving Mental Energy   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

My article traces the development, chronicles the impact, and explains the essence of Herbert Spencer's "The Philosophy of Style" (1852). Spencer's essay has had a significant influence on stylistics, especially in scientific and technical communication. Although in our generation Spencer's contribution to stylistics is not widely remembered, it ought to be. His single essay on this subject was seminal to modern theories about effective communication, not because it introduced new knowledge but because it was such a rhetorically astute synthesis of stylistic lore, designed to connect traditional rhetorical theory with 19th-century ideas about science, technology, and evolution. It was also influential because it was part of Spencer's grand "synthetic philosophy," a prodigious body of books and essays that made him one of the most prominent thinkers of his time. Spencer's "Philosophy of Style" carried the day, and many following decades, with its description of the human mind as a symbol-processing machine, with its description of cognitive and affective dimensions of communication, and with its scientifically considered distillation of the fundamental components of effective style. We should read Spencer's essay and understand its impact not so much because we expect it to teach us new things about good style, but precisely because: 1) it's at the root of some very important concepts now familiar to us; 2) it synthesizes these concepts so impressively; 3) we can use it heuristically as we continue thinking about style; and 4) it provides a compact, accessible touchstone for exploring--with students, clients, and colleagues--the techniques of effective style for scientific and technical communication. Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler [1, p. 314]. . . . the fewer the words are, provided neither propriety nor perspicuity be violated, the expression is always the more vivid [2, p. 333]. However influential the precepts thus dogmatically expressed, they would be much more influential if reduced to something like scientific ordination. In this as in other cases, conviction is strengthened when we understand the why [3, pp. 2-3]. The psychology of language reception is still very imperfectly understood [4, p. 77].

Hirst, Russel. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (2004). Articles>TC>Theory>History

23.
#29035

His Master's Voice: Tiro and the Rise of the Roman Secretarial Class   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The foundation for Rome's imperial bureaucracy was laid during the first century B.C., when functional and administrative writing played an increasingly dominant role in the Late Republic. During the First and Second Triumvirates, Roman society, once primarily oral, relied more and more on documentation to get its official business done. By the reign of Augustus, the orator had ceded power to the secretary, usually a slave trained as a scribe or librarian. This cultural and political transformation can be traced in the career of Marcus Tullius Tiro (94 B.C. to 4 A.D.), Cicero's confidant and amanuensis. A freedman credited with the invention of Latin shorthand (the <em>notae Tironianae</em>), Tiro transcribed and edited Cicero's speeches, composed, collected, and eventually published his voluminous correspondence, and organized and managed his archives and library. As his former master s fortune sank with the dying Republic, Tiro s began to rise. After Cicero's assassination, he became the orator's literary executor and biographer. His talents were always in demand under the new bureaucratic regime, and he prospered by producing popular grammars and secretarial manuals. He died a wealthy centenarian and a full Roman citizen.

Di Renzo, Anthony. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (2000). Articles>TC>Government>History

24.
#22729

Historical Patterns in the Scholarship of Technology Transfer   (peer-reviewed)

Offers an historian's view of the development of the scholarship about technology transfer over the past half century, interweaving two primary threads. First, it identifies events and circumstances that have influenced and shaped real-world efforts to move technology in its many guises across boundaries— national, geographic, institutional, organizational, social, or otherwise. These historical situations have had a profound impact on the efforts of American policymakers and leaders in business, government, universities, and nongovernmental organizations who deal with technology transfer. These circumstances have produced significant changes of emphasis in the definition of technology transfer at different points in time.

Seely, Bruce E. Johns Hopkins University (2003). Articles>TC>History>Technology

25.
#22450

History of Technical and Scientific Communication  (link broken)

History is a crucial dimension of any legitimate academic field because it identifies it as having lasting interest and signficance and, like a living organism, as a growing, evolving, coherent entity that progresses over time and advances to more sophisticated forms. History, after all, is scholarship and vice versa.

Dombrowski, Paul M. CPTSC Proceedings (2003). Articles>TC>History

 
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