A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication (and technical writing).


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Some (Slightly) Different Advice for Writers

What to writing and presenting have in common? Quite a bit, as it turns out. This post looks at some lessons that one writer learned from presenting, and which he's applied to his writing.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2013). Articles>Writing>Presentations


Survey Of Computer-Supported Writing Facility Use In Technical Communication Programs   (PDF)

Just as the profession of technical communication is fundamentally linked with the use of computers, so technical communication education and computer labs go hand-in-hand to prepare students for the professional world. Because of the importance of computer instruction, we need to discover how technical communication (TC) programs are managing these expensive yet quickly outdated facilities. Described here are the results of a survey of TC program directors questioned about their computer-supported teaching facilities. A profile of a 'typical' computer lab in a technical communication program is offered.

Wharton, Kim Tresselt. STC Proceedings (1994). Presentations>Writing>Workplace>Macintosh


Teaching Audience in Technical Communication   (PDF)

Teaching technical writing students how to communicate with the different audiences of technical documents requires defining those audiences. Traditional division of audiences by educational level or job function fails to consider the readers’ familiarity with the subject and their interest in it. This paper sets up three categories of audience (lay, middle, and expert) and suggests how to communicate effectively with each, to help students prepare to create documents designed for different audiences.

Samson, Donald C., Jr. STC Proceedings (1993). Presentations>Rhetoric>Writing


Review: A Tech Writer Crosses Over to Marketing and Becomes a   (link broken)   (Word)

Have you ever considered taking on marketing duties at your present job, or even transitioning to a new career as a 'marketeer'? Wistfully, you dream of sipping martinis with your attractive new coworkers under the department’s neon sign, 'Marketing—Two Drink Minimum,' before heading home empty-handed at 5 p.m. Oh, wait a minute—that was a Dilbert cartoon.

Janczy, Amy. STC Four Lakes (2002). Resources>Reviews>Presentations>Technical Writing


Technical Communication Careers: Getting Started and Finding Your Niche

Tomorrow I’m driving up to BYU Idaho to give a presentation titled “Technical Communication Careers: Getting Started and Finding Your Niche.” Below are the “slides” for my presentation.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2010). Presentations>TC>Technical Writing


Technical Writer - Exploding the Myths

Technical Writing explained using photographs of actual technical writers.

SlideShare (2007). Presentations>Writing>Technical Writing


Technical Writing

Plan; know your purpose, audience and scope; leave enough time to write and edit several drafts; don't bore the reader.

Kirk, Elizabeth J. and Mary Wiberg. AAAS. Presentations>Scientific Communication>Writing>Technical Writing


Technical Writing: An Overview   (PDF)

A PDF document intended as a resource for teachers. The overview handout defines technical writing, lists examples, states rationale for teaching technical writing, reviews principles for writing instruction, explains basic technical writing concepts to be taught to students, and outlines methods for evaluating technical writing.

Zuidema, Leah A. Michigan State University (2003). Presentations>Writing>Technical Writing


Tips for Writers and Publishers: Making the Most of Acquisitions Programs   (PDF)

The production of books that suit a publisher’s guidelines and find their appropriate market requires a perfect match of publisher and author. This panel discussion will explore the dynamics of authors and publishing professionals working to achieve that match. Acqui-sitions professionals and a technical book writer and editor will pro-vide information about what publishers expect from manuscripts and how they work with authors, suggest how writers can find the right publishers for their books, and describe how one successful techni-cal book acquisitions program was built. The discussion should be of interest to technical writers and editors hoping to publish and to publishing professionals in the trade or college book market.

Sakson, Donna M., Ted Buchholz, Eric Stroo and Jennifer M. Ginn. STC Proceedings (1993). Presentations>Writing>Publishing


The Ultimate Article Pitch

So you know how to write, do you? You know your industry, you know your topic. You have a great idea for an article that will make people think. But what’s this? The dreaded blank page. Although, it’s not the article – not yet. It’s the pitch to the editor.

Brkan, Ivan Brezak. Freelance Switch (2009). Articles>Presentations>Proposals>Writing


UNIX Man Pages  (link broken)   (PowerPoint)

Experienced programmers find the man pages very useful but a naive user often finds them overwhelming.

Gururaj, B.S. STC India (2003). Presentations>Documentation>Technical Writing>UNIX


The Use Of Computerized Readability Formulas: Bane Or Blessing?   (PDF)

A survey of 39 communicators in high-tech industries reveals low use of computerized readability formulas. Both technical and business communicators find current measures ill suited for the process or product of technical writing.

Shehadeh, Carol M. El. and Judith B. Strother. STC Proceedings (1994). Presentations>Writing>Assessment>Formulas


Using a Problem Focus to Quickly Aid Users in Trouble   (PDF)

Users are encountering more and more situations where task dotumentation separates topics too much for the interconnected nature of the task. These complex processes require an approach that takes into account the effect of strategy on the outcome of the task. Users have to know what factors affect the quality and type of output, and the stages where branching will depend upon these choices. This paper deals with the methodology required to help users in trouble in complex tasks. It also presents the types of situations where this approach is most useful.

Hallgren, Chris. STC Proceedings (1997). Presentations>Writing>Rhetoric


Using Writing to Negotiate Knowledge and Power  (link broken)

In Language and Symbolic Power, Pierre Bourdieu demonstrates how the language practices of institutions can generate symbolic violence and relations of power. At the same time, these language practices make existing power relationships seem natural and thus hide the symbolic violence from both more and less powerful inhabitants of these sites. Research has only recently begun to examine critically these practices as they function in corporate America. This talk will examine textual practices within a large manufacturer of agricultural equipment to show how they require subordinates to document their work in forms determined by management. Such documentation represents work in terms acceptable to managers and prevents subordinates from developing alternative understandings of the possibilities of their labor.

Winsor, Dorothy A. University of Illinois (2001). Presentations>Writing>Streaming>Video


A View from the Crossroads: New Hope for the Technologically Oppressed   (PDF)

Recent advances in technology have brought today’s technical communicators to a crossroads. Writers are faced with the choice of learning a host of new skills not related to traditional writing skills or of becoming dependent on specialists in other fields to complete the technical communication process. By viewing new technologies asopportunities rather than problems, writers can gain control of the media as well as the message, increasing their ability to control the entire communication process.

Weber, Barbara C. and Arthur H. Pike. STC Proceedings (1993). Presentations>Writing>Technology


What Do Technical Writers Do?   (PDF)

Information session, suitable for general audience. (40 slides)

Walsh, Tina K. Read Pen Inc. (2004). Presentations>TC>Writing>Technical Writing


Who is the Author?   (PDF)

Who should be listed as the authors of an article for a journal or conference proceedings? The basic requirement for authorship is that an author should be able to take public responsibility for the content of the paper. People who may have contributed intellectually to the work but whose contributions do not justify authorship may be acknowledged in the appropriate section of the paper.

Burgan, Murrie W. STC Proceedings (1994). Presentations>Rhetoric>Writing


Workshop: English Grammar   (PowerPoint)

A slideshow that presents some often-confused elements of English grammar.

Gururaj, B.S. STC India (2003). Presentations>Writing>Grammar


Writing and Editing Good Sentences   (PDF)

Creating good sentences involves some basic guidelines, including making sure that each sentence states clearly who or what does what, controlling subordination, using familiar subject-verb order, controlling pronoun use, using action verbs and active voice, forgetting silly rules, placing modifiers properly, using punctuation to reveal sentence structure, and using correct grammar and syntax. Editing sentences requires some understanding of grammar and syntax to recognize errors and explain changes. Reading aloud and checking sentence length and pronoun reference can help, and reading well-edited writing can help develop a good 'ear' for sentences.

Samson, Donald C., Jr. STC Proceedings (2000). Presentations>Writing


Writing as a Materials Engineer   (PowerPoint)

How to get lab discoveries and results into a written document.

Hart, Hillary. University of Texas (2008). Presentations>Writing>Technical Writing>Engineering


Writing as an Asynchronous Conversation

Conversation is a theme that flows through all the work we do as technical communicators. Every use of your web site is a conversation started by a busy site visitor.

Redish, Janice C. 'Ginny'. STC Proceedings (2008). Presentations>Web Design>Writing>User Centered Design


Writing for Publication   (PDF)

Make complex technical information understandable. Make it easy for the reader to read and extract information. Achieve clarity, conciseness, and coherence.

Hanson, Kenneth M. Los Alamos National Laboratory. Presentations>Writing>Publishing


Writing for Training   (PDF)

With books and manuals, users decide what information 1. they want and when they will acquire it. With training materials, however the writer/instructional designer controls the flow of information and the way in which it is presented. To write training materials requires careful consideration of adult learning principles, the possibilities and limitations of presentation media and, for classroom training, the difference between written and spoken language. A training writer also needs to distill from complex concepts the main points that participants will remember after the training.

Urbick, Dolores. STC Proceedings (1996). Presentations>Education>Instructional Design>Writing


Writing Numbers in Technical Documents   (PDF)

A slideshow about representing numeric data within technical documents.

Elliott, Celia M. University of Illinois. Presentations>Slideshows>Writing


Writing Processes and Procedures Using Audience Analysis and the ISO 9000 Document Hierarchy   (PDF)

Processes and procedures are part of our everyday lives. When we have a problem following a set of instructions or difficulty understanding when we are supposed to perform a specific task, we realize first-hand the importance of processes and procedures in our lives. In order to develop successful processes and procedures, we must understand the differences between these two document types. Processes describe a sequence of tasks while procedures describe how to perform a specific task. However, knowing the differences between processes and procedures isn’t enough. We must also use audience analysis.

Cunat, Tricia and Mary Craig. STC Proceedings (2000). Presentations>Writing



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