A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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Moving Technical Authors from Institutional Thinking to Network Thinking

In this video clip, Ecademy’s Thomas Power talks about how business leaders will have to switch between “institutional thinking” (closed, selective and controlling) and ”network thinking” (open, random and supportive). There’s a similar challenge for technical communicators - between traditional “closed” user documents and collaborative, conversational, “open” online user assistance.

Pratt, Ellis. Cherryleaf (2009). Articles>Writing>Technical Writing>Collaboration


Moving to Single Sourcing: Managing the Effects of Organizational Changes   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Argues that the move to single sourcing often requires changes within teams as new skills are introduced and members' roles shift. Points out that while some changes may threaten the stability of the team, managers can anticipate and prevent problems.

Bottitta, Jeanette, Alexia Prendergast Idoura and Lisa Pappas. Technical Communication Online (2003). Articles>Content Management>Single Sourcing>Collaboration


Multilingual Knowledge Management Empowers Global eBusiness   (members only)

With the penetration of Internet technologies into global business operations, employees at every level are collaborating across multiple geographies.

Sargent, Benjamin B. ZDNet (2001). Articles>Knowledge Management>Collaboration>Online


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


Mutual Mentoring: An Editorial Philosophy for a New Scholarly Journal   (PDF)

Aside from Writing Program Administration, the WPA journal, very little scholarly work about—or interest in—the topic of academic program administration has been manifested in the rhetoric-related disciplines. We believe that a mutual mentoring approach is an effective way to develop our community’s sense of the importance of program administration work as a scholarly endeavor in its own right.

Kitalong, Karla Saari. Programmatic Perspectives (2009). Articles>Education>Mentoring>Collaboration


My Time in Hell, or Why I Fired a Client   (PDF)

Some team members wanted the guide to be extremely prescriptive of format and content. Others insisted that it offer only minimal guidelines. A compromise was unacceptable to either side.

Hayhoe, George F. STC Orange County (1998). Careers>Consulting>Collaboration


My Vision of Agile

Extreme programming showed developers that there was power in self-determination, and in reaction to all that old defensive stuff, many programmers have finally said “Enough is enough”. They emerged from their bunkers to become proactive in *guiding* the development process rather than just doing what they were told (and then getting blamed for the failure that results). And agile is the mechanism they used.

Cooper, Alan. Cooper Journal (2009). Articles>Collaboration>Agile


The Nature of the Interchange Between Editors and Authors

Editors, if allowed to interact with authors on a level above the comma, could often help authors negotiate new meaning as authors struggle to translate their ideas into writing.

Document Design (2001). Articles>Collaboration>Editing


The Need for Technical Communication in IT Departments

Although many would not believe such to be true, there is a vast amount of communication that must be done in the IT world. This is even truer when the IT organization is involved with a regulated industry (e.g., pharmaceutical). In general, procedures and practices that went into the development, installation, and use/maintenance of a system require documentation and the communication of outages to the user community are also important. Among the more specific areas are help documentation, user instructions, code comments, installation instructions, and maintenance procedures/schedules. When a problem arises, it is often necessary for the IT professional to explain exactly what happened and provide the resolution in a coherent, layman-termed method, whether it be verbal or written (or both). Unfortunately, not all IT professionals are capable of doing this.

Mardekian, Beth. MetroVoice (2004). Articles>TC>Technology>Collaboration


Negotiation Techniques

Most of us are involved in negotiating in some form or other on a daily basis. Here is a look at the process of negotiation and tips you can use to improve your technique as you progress through the process.

Harris, Kerri. Writing Assistance (2006). Articles>Business Communication>Collaboration>Workplace


Negotiation Techniques

The average person engages in some form of negotiation on a daily basis. From time-management struggles to managing employees, work/life balances issues and even parenthood, opportunities to hone negotiation skills are everywhere. Improving your negotiation skills can mean greater peace of mind, increased harmony among the team, and the chance to advance personal and business relationships toward future success.

Harris, Kerri. TechCom Manager (2007). Articles>Collaboration


Net Collaboration on the Cheap

Web conferencing without corporate support -- how to take advantage of ways the 'net can facilitate meetings in real life.

Shoemaker, Nancy. Carolina Communique (2008). Articles>Collaboration>Online


Network Your Way to a Seat at the Table

Many IABC members are hungry to get a seat at the corporate boardroom table. They want to be influencers. If you want to pull up a chair with the "C" level folks, networking is key. Networking is not asking, "Do you have work for me?" Networking is building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships.

Susman, Karen. Communication World Bulletin (2007). Articles>Collaboration>Community Building


Networked Exchanges, Identity, Writing   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article argues for a rhetoric of networked exchanges that focuses on the response. Working from Spinuzzi's call for a rhetoric of horizontal learning, it examines two kinds of online writing spaces in order to propose such a rhetoric. After surveying conflicting, academic attitudes regarding networked exchanges, the article proposes the response as a type of professional communication. A specific message board thread and a series of blog carnivals serve as examples of the rhetoric of response, a way that horizontal learning produces a specific type of networked writing identity. The article concludes with a call for response-based communication practices.

Rice, Jeff. Journal of Business and Technical Communication (2009). Articles>Writing>Collaboration>Social Networking


Networking Opportunities

If you have all the work you can handle, your idea of networking might be showing up late to STC meetings, sitting in the back, and leaving before the speaker finishes talking. But, for the rest of us, networking requires a bigger investment of time and energy and a wider circle of contacts. As networking expert Kathy Condon points out, networking begins in our comfort zones-our neighborhoods, our offices, our STC groups. But to be effective, we have to search for other opportunities to meet people-groups and individuals beyond our usual contacts. Condon suggests attending meetings of professional and special interest organizations. Below, we've listed some groups to get you started. We include a Web address for each organization and a quote from their site.

Riley, Erin. STC Williamette Valley (2002). Careers>Collaboration>TC


Networking that Works

Established business owners and new entrepreneurs often have a difference of opinion about networking. The old-timers usually say that networking is one of their most important sources of business, while the newcomers frequently claim to put a lot of effort into networking without seeing much return. What's going on here?

Hayden, C.J. Creative Latitude (2005). Careers>Collaboration>Community Building


Networking With Our Peers   (PDF)

Technical communication is a broad field—its practitioners perform many different tasks in many different industries. Technical communicators may write technical documents, design multimedia presentations, create Web pages, or illustrate mechanical designs. And they may perform these tasks in industries such as aerospace, biotech, computer software, or agribusiness. To effectively network with your peers, you need to find your communities of practice.

Grice, Roger A. Intercom (2004). Articles>Collaboration>Professionalism


Networking Your Way to Success

You don't have to spend hours making cold calls or squander money on invisible advertisements in order to find new clients. In fact, savvy businesspeople--technical writers included--know the best way to expand your client base is by leveraging the resources you already have. You might ask, "What resources?" Well, pull out your personal address book. This database of contacts--friends, relatives, and co-workers--is a gold mine when prospecting for business. By knowing how and who to ask, you can soon have as much business as you can handle!

Chroust Ehmann, Lain. TECHWR-L (2008). Articles>TC>Community Building>Collaboration


Networking: a Key To Career Communication and Management Consulting Success   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Now that job security with one organization is a relic of the past and companies are outsourcing training and other 'nonessential' functions, I suggest in my career communication classes that students develop the same inventive strategies to plan their employ- ment futures that management consultants use to market themselves in the 21st century. The most important of these skills is networking: the use of person-to-person, print, and electronic communication tools to alert potential employers that, as candidates, they are the confident, cooperative, uniquely qualified experts that companies seek.

Clark, Thomas. Business Communication Quarterly (2009). Careers>Workplace>Collaboration


Networking? or NOTworking?   (members only)

Networking expands your resource base and enables you to make useful contacts in other companies, which, in turn, leads to your big break or an exciting new job. The prevailing attitude seems to be that it doesn’t really matter what industry you’re in, or at which level within a company your position is, just go out there and do it, and the results will follow. It does work, doesn’t it? Well, not really.

Hamer, Emma C. Hamer Associates. Careers>Collaboration>Community Building


NetWorks or, How to Make Professional Connections When You Live and Work in the "Sticks"

NetWorks is an association of people involved in public relations, technical/computer documentation, marketing, fund raising, planning and development, training, journalism, editing, video production and publishing. We have a common interest in sharing ideas, information and resources.

Olander, Karen Wise. Boston Broadside (1992). Articles>TC>Collaboration>STC


New Media Labs as Key Technical Communication Instructional Support Spaces   (members only)

Writing centers play very important roles in the academy, supporting writing processes from brainstorming ideas to researching evidence to bolstering claims to presenting final deliverables. Purdue’s Online Writing Lab, for instance, is one of the most well-used support tools available for writing instruction. Similarly, media labs support multimodal, divergent, and iterative design composing processes. And the ever-increasing use of new media and emerging technologies for technical communicators in the workplace suggests that students are underprepared if technical communication instructional programs do not support the creation, design, and delivery of new media content and knowledge in integrated and systematic ways.

Rice, Rich. Intercom (2011). Articles>Education>Multimedia>Collaboration


The New Workforce: Generation Next (Generation Y) in your Organization

Members of Generation X are now at the midpoint of their careers and are increasingly being placed in management and supervisory positions. Xers are realizing that today's newly hired employees are no longer members of their generation but of a different and younger generation. This new generation of employees entering the workforce has been given such labels as Generation Next, Generation Y, Echo Boomers, and Digital Natives. Members of Generation X who not long ago were shaking their heads at the attitudes and viewpoints of the older employees are now finding their own perspectives being questioned by a new and younger generation, Generation Next. Nexters and Xers, like previous generations before them, are finding at times difficulty to work side by side because their experiences, goals, and expectations differ.

Ruby, Bryan E. CMS Report (2007). Careers>Management>Collaboration


The Newest Online Communication Tool: Collaborative Web Pages Anybody Can Edit

A wiki is a web site that anybody can change. You may have already visited a wiki without even knowing it. Wikis are poised to become one of the most important online communication tools we’ve seen in a long time. While blogs are justifiably getting most of the attention paid to the online world these days, wikis are quietly weaving their way into both the external and internal communication world.

Holtz, Shel. Communication World Bulletin (2004). Articles>Web Design>Collaboration>Wikis


Newsletter Co-Registration, and other Partnerships

When someone signs up for my newsletter, I list some other newsletters they might be interested in on my site's thank-you page. People can simply check a box next to the other newsletters they want to receive, click one button, and they're done. The publishers I partner with do the same for me, listing the Excess Voice newsletter on their sign-up thank-you pages.

Usborne, Nick. Excess Voice (2006). Articles>Web Design>Collaboration



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