A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Reviews

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1.
#38743

Review: A Review of Microstyle

We live in a world that, in many ways, has become shorter. Shorter messages. Shorter interactions. Shorter attention spans. And the popularity of services like Twitter encourage brevity, for better or for worse. As a writer of any stripe, you need to adapt to this change. And that’s idea underlying the book Microstyle by Christopher Johnson. The book is packed with solid advice on how to write compactly while still passing along useful information.

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

2.
#38742

Review: A Review of Writing for the Web

These days, we can’t escape writing for the online world. Whether you contribute to web-based publications, run your own blog, or are a freelancer or full-time employee doing corporate work, writing for the web has become an essential skill. While online writing shares a number of similarities with writing for print, it also has more than a few nuances that you need to learn. That’s where Writing for the Web by Lynda Felder comes in. It’s easily one of the best books that I’ve read on the subject. Writing for the Web is a thin book, weighing in at 181 pages. But those pages pack a lot of practical information. Whether you’re new to writing online or someone with more than just a little experience, you’ll learn something from this book.

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

3.
#22107

Review: ABCs of E-Learning: Reaping the Benefits and Avoiding the Pitfalls  (link broken)   (members only)

I'm always skeptical when I first read the praise for a book, especially when a full page of testimonials is published just inside the front cover, as well as on the back. However, by the time I finished reading Brooke Broadbent's ABCs of E-Learning, I could've added my blurb of congratulations on a job well done.

Porter, Lynnette R. Technical Communication Online (2002). Articles>Reviews>Education>Online

4.
#14832

Review: ACES Book Reviews  (link broken)

A collection of reviews of recent books in editing (particularly for journalism).

ACES. Articles>Reviews>Editing

5.
#26860

Review: AcosHelp: Context Sensitive Online Help with PDF Files  (link broken)   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

PRC AcosHelp is the World's first 'single source' Windows online help system that allows you to use Adobe Acrobat PDF files for context sensitive online help. AcosHelp is very useful for Document Management systems, where the documents are stored as PDF-files.

Kudesia, Saurabh. International Journal for Technical Communication (2006). Articles>Reviews>Software>Help

6.
#27589

Review: Agile Documentation: A Pattern Guide to Producing Lightweight Documents for Software Projects  (link broken)

In Agile Documentation, Rüping gets to the heart of the documentation dilemma, offering a two-word solution: minimum necessary.

Davis, Donna L. developer.star (2003). Articles>Reviews>Agile>Documentation

7.
#25431

Review: Are Weblogs Changing Our Culture?

As modern as they are in their instantaneity, blogs, like e-mail, seem winningly old-fashioned to me.

Sullivan, Andrew and Kurt Andersen. Slate (2002). Articles>Reviews>Writing>Blogging

8.
#26563

Review: The Art of Project Management

Can project management be an art? Has Berkun truly created a jargon-free guide for the whole project team? Kalbach leads us through the high-level tasks and the major milestones of this new book, while keeping us on task.

Kalbach, James. Boxes and Arrows (2005). Articles>Reviews>Project Management

9.
#22922

Review: Assessing Quality Documents   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

In recent years, an emphasis on quality has emerged in a variety of organizations and in several fields, including technical documentation. Producing Quality Technical Information (PQTI) was one of the first comprehensive discussions of the quality of documentation. An important contribution of the book is in identifying quality as multiple, measurable dimensions that can be defined and measured (previous views of quality identified it more as some elusive thing that could be identified if present but was difficult to articulate and describe). Despite its contributions to the quality discussion, PQTI runs the risk of simplifying the quality process, reducing quality to a simple checklist that information developers can use to develop effective documentation. PQTI fails to address the fluid nature of some aspects of quality: some dimensions that are important in assessing one document may be less important or irrelevant with other documents. Additionally, PQTI falls short of accounting for the larger contextual framing of documents--that the importance of individual dimensions of quality changes depending upon the audience, context, and purpose of the document.This commentary suggests that all quality efforts should be grounded in customer data and user-centered design processes, and that we should learn to better differentiate among quality dimensions, determining those dimensions that are essential to customer satisfaction and those that are merely attractive. Through increased attention to developing the quality of information, organizations can better differentiate their products and services, facilitate greater productivity, and increase customer satisfactions, all significant activities in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Smart, Karl L. Journal of Computer Documentation (2002). Articles>Reviews>Documentation

10.
#31561

Review: Balanced Scorecard Step-by-Step: Maximizing Performance and Maintaining Results

Paul Niven's book is invaluable for communicators whose companies are implementing a Balanced Scorecard, and it can also provide a great deal of useful information on setting measurable goals for a staff function like communication to ensure it aligns with a company's strategy. The book provides easy-to-understand summaries of how various business processes work for communicators who want to better understand their businesses.

Sinickas, Angela D. Communication World Bulletin (2003). Articles>Reviews>Communication>Assessment

11.
#21601

Review: BAM! (Business Activity Monitoring)

BAM es el acrónimo de Business Activity Monitoring (Monitorización de la Actividad de Negocio), un campo emergente que promete incrementar la competitividad y la toma rápida de decisiones bien informadas, en la que la visualización de información tendrá un rol importante.

Dursteler, Juan Carlos. InfoVis (2003). (Spanish) Articles>Reviews>Software

12.
#29757

Review: Beautiful Evidence   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Beautiful Evidence is Edward Tufte's fourth and latest book and both follows and diverges from the directions established with The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (Tufte, 1983), Envisioning Information (Tufte, 1990), and Visual Explanations (Tufte, 1997). Visual Display examined pictures of numbers, Envisioning explored pictures of nouns, and Visual Explanations addressed pictures of verbs. Beautiful Evidence foregoes the 'pictures of' approach and instead establishes the role of evidence as the foundation of reasoning. In some ways, this latest book might have been better positioned as the first book because of its efforts to explain interplays of understanding and reasoning.

Penrose, John M. JBC (2007). Articles>Reviews>Graphic Design>Usability

13.
#36904

Review: Best Practices for Online Review

Marking up paper is still the most common way to review documents, but online review is critical if you work as part of a distributed team. There are advantages to online review even if you sit only a cubicle away from your reviewer. Here are few tips for making your online reviews go smoothly.

Smith, Terry. Carolina Communique (2009). Articles>Reviews>Online

14.
#22344

Review: Best Practices in Policies and Procedures  (link broken)   (members only)

Page's book makes the first attempt to open the door to examples of tables of contents of P&P from a variety of organizations. He also makes an admirable attempt to position and show the P&P analyst/writer as more than a scribe, as a leader who adds value by formulating best P&P practices in collaboration with others for their organization.

Urgo, Raymond E. Technical Communication Online (2003). Articles>Reviews>Documentation>Policies and Procedures

15.
#36074

Review: Beyond Anecdotes: HCI 2009 Tutorial Review

Given the choice, how many people would swap a gloriously sunny Saturday in Cambridge, England, for a 7-hour long tutorial about—wait for it—qualitative user research and analysis methods? Yet thirty odd people did just that, electing to closet themselves in one of the nicer rooms at Churchill College to listen to what UCD researcher David Siegel had to say. This tutorial turned out to be a highly motivating, fast-paced, and anecdote-rich journey through the process of designing and analyzing qualitative field work in a user-centered design (UCD) context.

Muscat, Richard A. UXmatters (2009). Articles>Reviews>Human Computer Interaction

16.
#22185

Review: Beyond Borders: Web Globalization Strategies   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

While the potential return on investment may indeed be worth the effort, globalization and personalization come with substantial cost. To ensure you’re heading down the right path (and that you avoid the expensive mistakes of the trailblazers before you), it’s best to have a roadmap.

Abel, Scott. STC Hoosier (2003). Articles>Reviews>Web Design

17.
#23866

Review: Beyond Borders: Web Globalization Strategies

If your Web site is not designed for or understood by a global audience, you are excluding an estimated 200 million people, according to John Yunker in Beyond Borders: Web Globalization Strategies.

Staples, Jeff. Usability Interface (2004). Resources>Reviews>Web Design>Localization

18.
#28137

Review: The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation  (link broken)   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

If you are still struggling to decode the complex jargon and structure of English grammar with a long list of reference books, relax. The long wait for a reader-friendly book on English grammar is over. With her straightforward and perfectly-logical approach, Jane Straus reveals the mysteries of grammar and punctuations in her book The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation. The book is extremely well-organized, allowing readers to quickly locate the required topics. Concepts are described in clear and simple phrases, backed with examples from everyday language usage.

Kudesia, Saurabh. International Journal for Technical Communication (2006). Articles>Reviews>Style Guides>Grammar

19.
#22058

Review: Book of Probes

Combine the probing thoughts of media culture sage Marshall McLuhan with the visual insights of design guru David Carson and the result is the quintessential coffee table book for anyone that works with technology and design. The Book of Probes is an intentional chocolate-in-my-peanut-butter experiment to combine the ideas of McLuhan with the images of Carson in thought provoking ways.

MacLaughlin, Steve. Boxes and Arrows (2004). Articles>Reviews>Graphic Design

20.
#13644

Review: Book Reviews in Technical Communication

This page provides links to book reviews related to technical communication. I am looking for book reviews to publish. Please email me if you have a review that you would like to see published here. Note that this is a non-commercial site -- I don't pay for reviews.

Soltys, Keith. IRTC. Articles>Reviews>TC

21.
#25568

Review: Bosworth's Web of Data

In a Thursday morning keynote at the MySQL Users Conference 2005, Google's Adam Bosworth advocated an open model for data. Although he was not referring to open source, he expanded upon the example by explaining that customers like open source software because of the transparency.

Steinberg, Daniel H. O'Reilly and Associates (2005). Articles>Reviews>Information Design>SQL

22.
#29917

Review: Bridging the Gap between Cultural Studies Theory and the World of the Working Practitioner  (link broken)   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Cultural studies is an academic field that focuses on understanding the unchallenged assumptions that constrain and shape communication and related interactions among people. Although the field has made considerable progress in the last half-century, many practitioners have either never encountered the field, or have encountered it only through extremist advocates who do the field a great disservice. As a result, they have lost the ability to benefit from the insights provided by cultural studies. In this paper, I review the recent book Critical Power Tools to provide an update on the current thinking in the field, and to demonstrate how the modern form of the field has much to teach technical communications practitioners who are willing to listen to what the theoreticians have to say.

Hart, Geoffrey J.S. International Journal for Technical Communication (2007). Articles>Reviews>Cultural Theory

23.
#30296

Review: Bridging the Gap between Cultural Studies Theory and the World of the Working Practitioner  (link broken)   (members only)

Cultural studies is an academic field that focuses on understanding the unchallenged assumptions that constrain and shape communication and related interactions among people. Although the field has made considerable progress in the last half-century, many practitioners have either never encountered the field, or have encountered it only through extremist advocates who do the field a great disservice. As a result, they have lost the ability to benefit from the insights provided by cultural studies. In this paper, I review the recent book Critical Power Tools to provide an update on the current thinking in the field, and to demonstrate how the modern form of the field has much to teach technical communications practitioners who are willing to listen to what the theoreticians have to say.

Hart, Geoffrey J.S. International Journal for Technical Communication (2007). Articles>Reviews>TC>Cultural Theory

24.
#28247

Review: Build Your Own Standards Compliant Website Using Dreamweaver 8

Rachel Andrew’s book is quite unconventional. Why? It takes Adobe’s Dreamweaver, the most-popular WYSIWYG web page IDE, and takes it on a long, hard-coding drive to create standards-compliant websites. Suffice to say, this book is intended for an intermediate to advanced-skilled audience.

Regnard. Standard Web Standards (2006). Articles>Reviews>Software>Dreamweaver

25.
#31829

Review: Calling in the Big Guns: Review of Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks

What is likely to win the most converts is the joy Wroblewski takes in designing. This impression becomes clear as you page through the book. He isn’t just an ardent evangelizer, following the rituals of going to conferences selling snake oil. He’s been there in the trenches, just like you; he’s done this a hundred, maybe a thousand times. He’s tested these ideas and provides a framework for you to use from day one. Half the battle in good form design is defending your decisions to stakeholders.

Evans, Will. Boxes and Arrows (2008). Articles>Reviews>Web Design>Forms

 
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