A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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A Newsletter Competition Where Everyone Wins   (PDF)

A competition where everyone wins--is it too good to be true? Not if the Society for Technical Communication (STC) Newsletter Competition Committee (STCNCC) has anything to say about it. This year we implemented the second phase of a three-year plan to increase participation and maximize constructive feedback in the annual STC Newsletter Competition. In this discussion session, the STCNCC would like to see judges and editors meet to discuss the effectiveness of the competition and the committee’s plan to improve it. Participants are invited to consider ways to improve the competition in the future.

Ames, Andrea L. and Cheryl Disch. STC Proceedings (1997). Articles>Collaboration>Community Building>Newsletters


A Newsletter Competition Where Everyone Wins   (PDF)

A competition where everyone wins—is it too good to be true? Not if the STC Newsletter Competition Committee (STCNCC) has anything to say about it.

Ames, Andrea L., Cheryl Disch and Helen T. Hegelheimer. STC Proceedings (1996). Articles>Collaboration>Community Building>STC


The Nine Pillars of Successful Web Teams

Every Web team has its own take on dividing up roles and responsibilities and implementing processes for design and development. Formal titles, job descriptions, and reporting structures can vary widely. But the best teams I’ve encountered have one important thing in common: their team structure and processes cover a full range of distinct competencies necessary for success.

Garrett, Jesse James. Adaptive Path (2003). Design>Collaboration>Web Design


Nipping Client Silliness in the Bud

A significant number of ALA posts talk about unreasonable requests from clients. Either they want a Sony-level website on an AOL user's look at my kitties budget, or else they want so many features added to their sites that they will become as unusuable as the original boo.com.

Miller, Robin. List Apart, A (2000). Articles>Management>Collaboration


No Designer is an Island, or How I Stopped Complaining and Came to Embrace Collaboration

When I suggest collaborative design to some designers, I often hear, “Yuck! Collaboration is just design by committee!” They aren’t wrong. Poorly facilitated collaboration can kill a design project and demoralize a team. But the truth is, you can’t not collaborate. Whether you like it or not, you have to work with other people. You can work at them or with them. It’s your choice.

Nelson, Sarah B. Adaptive Path (2009). Design>Collaboration


No One Nos: Learning to Say No to Bad Ideas

No. One word, a complete sentence. We all learned to say it around our first birthday, so why do we have such a hard time saying it now when it comes to our work? Guilt. Fear. Pressure. Doubt. As we grow up, we begin to learn that not doing what others expect of us can lead to all sorts of negative consequences. It becomes easier to concede to their demands than to stand up for ourselves and for what is right.

Hess, Whitney. List Apart, A (2010). Articles>Project Management>Collaboration


Notes on the Documentation Development Process

Define your audience, and their needs, explicitly and carefully. The definition process may lead you to include additional material such as indexes, system requirements, and contextual notes (e.g., lists of exceptions), as well as the preplanned documentation.

Hart, Geoffrey J.S. Geoff-Hart.com (1996). Articles>Documentation>Collaboration


Nourishing the Bonds: Managing Information to Maximize the Skills of the Dev-Test-ID Team   (PDF)

The IBM TPF group is organized into tightly-coupled teams of developers, testers, and writers. This paper explores that relationship, including our method of managing information, and how it creates an environment conducive to high-quality information products.

Mills, M. Fay and Ellen C. Smyth. STC Proceedings (1994). Articles>Collaboration


Now That You've Got a Double Agent, What Do You Do With 'Em?   (PDF)

Having demonstrated the importance of acquiring a double agent for writing projects, we now want to explain the best ways to successfully indoctrinate a double agent. This paper will help you prepare for, orient, train, and become a mentor for a double agent to help make him or her an effective member of your writing team.

Fisher, Judith R., Karen L. Mobley and Michelle M. Wright. STC Proceedings (1994). Articles>Writing>Technical Editing>Collaboration


Obfuscating the Obvious: Miscommunication Issues in the Interpretation of Common Terms   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

We communicate via many forms every day. When what we say or write is misunderstood, the fault may lie with either party. One source of miscommunication is the different meaning people place on commonly used words and phrases. In this article, the authors report preliminary results from a study on such miscommunication and lay out an agenda for research on improving business communication based on the Integrative Model of Levels of Analysis of 'Miscommunication,' developed by Coupland, Wiemann, and Giles.

Brewer, Edward C. and Terrence L. Holmes. JBC (2009). Articles>Business Communication>Collaboration>Rhetoric


Observations on Entrepreneurship, Instructional Texts, and Personal Interaction   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article explores the complexity in Rohan's observation that "although texts in progress create community, this function hasn't value; in the world of business works in progress must be free" [1, p. 130]. To do so, the article describes the history of the development of the paper sewing pattern, discusses the role personal communications with consumers played as the genre evolved, and offers observations on the kinds of instruction provided by sewing machine and pattern companies. The extent to which gender and authority are connected in communications between consumers and corporate authors is explored. The article concludes by observing that once a genre is sufficiently established to become a standard, two changes occur: industries adopt authority for only certain types of necessary information, and women's authorship becomes anonymous, corporate, and personal exchanges with consumers are curtailed to save the expense.

Durack, Katherine T. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (2003). Articles>Collaboration>Instructional Design>Gender


Obtaining Reprints--The Effects of Self-Addressed Return Labels   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article compares the response rates for obtaining journal reprints from colleagues when the requests are made using postcards with or without a self-addressed return label. Higher response rates were obtained from the cards with the self-addressed return labels, and more women responded than did men, but these differences were not statistically significant.

Hartley, James. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (2002). Articles>Research>Collaboration>Gender


Off Site Reviews: Six Ways to Exchange Edits

Coordinating a document review can be a tedious process. However, the task is even more difficult when reviewers work in another location and can't quickly exchange comments via paper. Fortunately, technology is presenting writers with new options for handling off-site reviews.

HelpScribe (2009). Articles>Collaboration>Editing>Online


On Collaboration

Openness is a faster route to better work. There are lots of ways of doing it, but I do think that as much as they pretend pure openness, successful OS projects all have hierarchy.

Mandiberg, Michael. Mandiberg.com (2009). Articles>Collaboration>Technical Writing>Open Source


On Development Methodology

Give me the smallest, smartest team possible, with the right tools and infrastructure. Work like fiends for two or three months to get infrastructure and applications started right, then grow slowly to maintain and build additional applications on the core technology.

Boynton, J.R. Diamond Lane, The. Articles>Project Management>Collaboration


One-On-One Japanese Business Etiquette

If you are traveling to Japan on business it is very important to have business cards created, or as they are called in Japan, meishi. Not only are they a useful tool to identify you and your company, but they can also provide additional information for your Japanese counterparts, such as any professional memberships or associations you may be involved in.

WTB Language Group (2005). Articles>Collaboration>Regional>Japan


Online Collaboration: Distance Learning and Professional Forums Display Advantages and Disadvantages   (PDF)

Online collaboration has become a major resource for students and professionals alike. Distance learning and other forms of online communication have become established norms for many schools and professional organizations. While online communication has countless benefits, several disadvantages exist and continue to emerge. This paper will explore the authors’ personal experiences as students and professionals, taking an in-depth look at online collaboration forums such as distance learning and professional collaborations as well as the advantages and disadvantages that each of these forums present.

House, Andrea L. and Holly N. Siegelman. STC Proceedings (2000). Articles>Collaboration>Online


Online Communities

A study of how a rhetorical perspective can help to improve the construction of virtual communities. By applying rhetorical theory to environments and communication, my research demonstrates that the relationship between a speaker and audience is in part determined by spatial cues. That means that the architecture of a virtual environment creates interactional expectations that guide activity within the environment. A major component of these expectations is the authority of a participant in relation to others; spatial cues help speakers determine the ethos -- or relational background -- of others. Researching this relationship across a variety of online environments has demonstrated that the structure of public and private spaces within an online community will affect congregating patterns, conversational habits, genres of discourse, community coherence, and social structure. In addition to spatial cues, representational choices also influence participants’ expectations of themselves and others. In my most recent study I have created an online environment that incorporates an @race property into the familiar litany of @gender, @description, and @research found in many educational and social environments.

Kolko, Beth E. ACM SIGCHI (1999). Articles>Collaboration>Online


Online Communities for User Assistance Professionals

Online communities have become a very valuable source of assistance for answering questions unique to our industry. This article provides an introduction to online communities and describes how to access a few of the most useful sites.

Martin, Chuck. WritersUA (2004). Articles>Collaboration>Community Building>Help


Online Education Horror Stories Worthy of Halloween: A Short List of Problems and Solutions in Online Instruction   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)

This article examines many surprising problems that arise in the process of distance education using the Internet and describes ways in which instructors and administrators can solve these problems. The information in the article is based largely on the experience of educators at Utah State University who have been exploring distance education for the past six years by teaching a wide range of online courses via the Internet. As a result of this varied online teaching, we have encountered a broad spectrum of challenges to which we have tried to respond and from which we have tried to learn. The solutions described are generalizable to other programs using online delivery for instruction.

Hailey, David E., Keith Grant-Davie, Christine A. Hult. Computers and Composition (2001). Articles>Education>Online>Collaboration


The Open Company Manifesto

Users can improve information flow. They can create robust markets, and they can help fix the problems that a company faces. This can happen at an astonishing speed. If the gateway is open, and the company allows users access, those users will quickly tell the company what they are doing wrong. When users are invited to wallow in the information flow, they will crack the company into shape.

Rhodes, John S. WebWord (1999). Articles>Management>Collaboration


Open Source For Technical Writing Teams

A presentation introducting how to support technical documentation teams with open-source tools.

SlideShare (2007). Presentations>Collaboration>Technical Writing>Open Source


"Open Source" is not a Marketing Term

Open source software development is not just about providing the source code for your application. It is much more about building a community around a shared project. That takes time. I think the biggest myth about open source software is that you say 'hey, I'm open source now' and suddenly thousands of qualified people give up nights and weekends to work on your code.

Balog, Tarus. Adventures in Open Source (2007). Articles>Collaboration>Open Source>Methods


Open-Source Tech Writing: The Time is Now

We are all going to have to collaborate like never before. Everyone should select at least one area of interest and specialize as best they can. Then we will need to start meeting and sharing information. Immediately. There are several ways to do this, I believe.

Norris, Julie. 2moro Docs (2009). Articles>Collaboration>Technical Writing>Open Source


"Operation Butterfly" and Other Adventures in Cooperation Between Industry and Academe: When Rip Van Winkle and Shirley Temple Join Forces, the Sky's the Limit!   (PDF)

This article, as well as our conference presentation, catalogues a year in the symbiotic relationship between the Orlando Chapter of STC, the University of Central Florida's technical writing program, and the student-run technical communication club, Future Technical Communicators (FTC)--and the ways in which this powerful partnership has helped sustain many of the chapter's varied and successful initiatives that led to its designation as a Chapter of Distinction in 2003. In this article, authors Bonnie Spivey and Dan Voss report on the UCF-STC legacy, the development of the chapter's new mentoring program, their contribution to educational outreach/ fundraising, and the numerous ways in which these institutions are working together.

Spivey, Bonnie and Daniel W. Voss. STC Proceedings (2004). Articles>Collaboration>Industry and Academy>STC



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