A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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AAA Accessibilità Cercasi   (members only)

Fare Accessibilità significa avere delle conoscenze tecniche, avere dimestichezza con Standard e Raccomandazioni del W3C. Ma non solo. Significa conoscere il target dell´Accessibilità, erroneamente ed ingenuamente precluso ai soli disabili. Significa conoscere chi sono le persone disabili, che prima di essere disabili, sono Persone. Sono coloro che vivono sulla propria pelle ogni giorno le conseguenze di scelte strategiche sbagliate di coloro che hanno il potere, con un sì o con un no, di creare o abbattere le barriere tecnologiche che ostacolano il libero accesso alle informazioni ed ai servizi online.

Bertini, Patrizia. Apogeonline (2004). (Italian) Books>Usability>Accessibility>eBooks


Books in the Age of the iPad

As the publishing industry wobbles and Kindle sales jump, book romanticists cry themselves to sleep. But really, what are we shedding tears over? We’re losing the dregs of the publishing world: disposable books. The book printed without consideration of form or sustainability or longevity. The book produced to be consumed once and then tossed. The book you bin when you’re moving and you need to clean out the closet. These are the first books to go. And I say it again, good riddance.

Mod, Craig. CraigMod.com (2010). Articles>Document Design>Online>eBooks


Building a PDF Book   (PDF)

Wilson describes a process for PDF versions of papers manuals by converting Microsoft Word files with Adobe Acrobat.

Wilson, Dennis E. Intercom (2002). Design>Information Design>eBooks>Adobe Acrobat


Building E-Books: A Tool Overview for Technical Writers

As e-books become another option for publishing technical content, writers are faced with more choices among the tools to produce them. In my previous articles on e-book readers and formats, I noted the similarities between e-book formats and the online help formats that technical writers have been using for many years. In this article, I’ll look at some of the tools you can use to create EPUB books, the most common e-book format. I’ll also show how you can convert an EPUB to Amazon’s Kindle format.

Soltys, Keith. TechWhirl.com (2012). Articles>Publishing>Online>eBooks


Continuing eBook Classroom Studies

Acceptance of eBooks improves at Ball State University. Improvement of visual quality and 'no testing' helps a higher percentage of graduate students recommend eBooks for further classroom use. Many students found reading text material "satisfying & easy." More studies planned for the K-12 population.

Wiggenhorn, Susan. Usability Professionals Association (2003). Articles>Education>Online>eBooks


Create Rich-Layout Publications in EPUB 3 with HTML5, CSS3, and MathML

EPUB 3.0, which is the latest revision of the industry-standard XML e-book format, jumps into modern web technology by embracing HTML5 and CSS3. It retains its focus on XML-driven toolkits by requiring XHTML serialization and adding supplementary XML vocabularies, such as MathML and SVG. EPUB 3 offers a variety of options for developing advanced, digital-native publications. In this article, learn to create rich-layout pages using some new features in EPUB 3.

Daly, Liza. IBM (2012). Articles>Publishing>eBooks>XML


CSS ‘Paged Media’ Brings Book Smarts to the Web

What if you could flip through a regular news website like a magazine? Håkon Wium Lie, Opera Software’s CTO and creator of cascading stylesheets, has proposed a new set of CSS tools that transform longer web pages into a more book-like experience, where the reader flips from page to page instead of scrolling down one long screen.

Gilbertson, Scott. Webmonkey (2011). Articles>Web Design>eBooks>CSS


Digital Publishing F5 | Refreshed   (peer-reviewed)

Digital Publishing F5 | Refreshed was produced, designed, and published at an academic conference workshop, Computers and Writing 2003 in West Lafayette, Indiana, by a team of (at least) 30 people. Our goal was to show that scholars and teachers--when they work collaboratively, have the right technology, and diverse experience with digital publishing technologies—can move to the forefront in publishing, not just as writers, but as publishers, production designers, editors, and (even) distributors

Agena, Kate, Karl Stolley and David Blakesley. Parlor Press (2003). Books>Publishing>Online>eBooks


E-Banking: Quando il Servizio non è Accessibile   (members only)

La zona di confine tra normalità e disabilità è una delle più permeabili, soprattutto quando, come oggi, l'invecchiamento crescente della popolazione è messo a dura prova da una continua rincorsa ad apprendere e padroneggiare sempre nuove tecnologie di accesso ai servizi. L'e-book di Patrizia Bertini e Marco Trevisan non arriva per caso nell'Anno del Disabile. È frutto di un interesse di lunga data e di un sistematico lavoro di ricerca per rendere visibili e quindi superabili le barriere più insidiose, quelle dell'informazione. In particolare, quelle barriere che continuano a impedire l'accesso di tutti ai servizi bancari automatizzati (ATM/Bancomat) e ai servizi in rete (e-banking).

Bertini, Patrizia and M. Trevisan. Apogeonline (2003). (Italian) Books>Usability>Accessibility>eBooks


E-Book Formats

Most technical writers understand online help formats and have worked with at least one over the years. Help file format have evolved from man pages (manual pages in UNIX in the early 1970’s) and HLP files through CHM files and the plethora of HTML-based formats that we have now. E-Book formats are similar in many respects to the common online help formats, but with one crucial difference; they’re designed to work on the small screens of today’s e-readers and tablets.

Soltys, Keith. Techwhirl.com (2011). Articles>Documentation>Standards>eBooks


E-Book Technology and Its Potential Applications in Distance Education   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The potential for distance learning students to use e-books is explored. E-books are gaining wider interest since the introduction of portable electronic reading devices and software-based readers that provide users with more realistic book reading experiences. The paper discusses where to acquire e-book technology, and how to create e-books. It also reports an evaluation to test the usability of different types of e-book compiler software. By using one of the compilers, the use of e-books to improve the interaction between educators and distance learning students in terms of access to teaching and learning materials and submission of assignments is also demonstrated.

Shiratuddin, Norshuhada, Monica Landoni, Forbes Gibb and Shahizan Hassan. Journal of Digital Information (2003). Articles>Education>Online>eBooks



E-books are a cost-saving technology for students. Imagine while reading your expensive paper textbook that it suddenly displayed a video that taught you the technique you just read about. Imagine searching through your textbook with the click of a button. Imagine your textbook costing about half of what you used to pay. That’s right—you didn’t read the last line wrong. It was half the amount you used to pay. Imagine all this and more, with e-books. E-books have many advantages over paper textbooks. The best advantage for students would have to be the cost. E-books are sold at very low prices because the whole printing process is out of the picture. This saves money for the publishers and in turn saves money for students.

Nelson, Daniel. Techniques (2003). Articles>Publishing>Online>eBooks


E-Books: Are We Going Paperless?

Will electronic books (e-books) change the experience of reading? Will students soon carry a mobile device in their backpacks instead of a ton of textbooks? Some major university projects at the University of Michigan and at Columbia have already created and distributed electronic versions of textbooks (Epstein, 1999). In addition, Microsoft joined publishing firms and electronic manufacturers to set open technical standards for the electronic book format (Wired News, 1999). So what advantages do e-books offer? Some advantages include convenience and reduced storage space. Anywhere from 10 to 250 textbooks or novels can be held on the device, depending on the e-book model, so you can have a portion of your library with you. In addition, users can annotate, highlight, bookmark, and publish their own content on the e-book. By removing the need for paper, the cost of books should decrease and also decrease environmental damage. Another advantage of the e-book is accessibility. Those with visual impairments can increase the font size to improve readability.

Selvidge, Paula and C. Phillips. Usability News (2000). Articles>Usability>Publishing>eBooks


E-Books: It's About Evolution, Not Revolution

This article is a general update about the state of the art and business of e-books. With the dampening of some of the dot.com hype the e-book picture is actually becoming more sensible. There is still a lot of change happening and no one knows where we might end up, but some solid work is being done both on the technology and on the business side. What isn't quite happening yet, and what I look forward to, is a re-definition of "book" to include things that didn't really fit into the hard copy world, such as the publication of individual essays (of any length), stories, poems, novellas, etc., and even possibly a return to serialized works. Put your thinking caps on, folks, there are great possibilities!

Coyle, Karen. Library Journal (2003). Articles>Publishing>Online>eBooks


The eBook Advantage: Writing and Publishing Electronic Books   (PDF)

Hall, the author of three eBooks, explains how technical writers can earn extra income by writing and publishing their own electronic books.

Hall, Ceil W. Intercom (2002). Articles>Publishing>Online>eBooks


eBook Italia Dossier: Il Libro Elettronico e L'editoria Digitale Umanistica in Italia

Il primo dossier italiano sul libro elettronico, annualmente aggiornato (versione 3, 1 settembre 2003). In parallelo, eBook Italia Forum, convegno virtuale sull'editoria elettronica, in collaborazione con 365 Giorni in Fiera (Fiera Internazionale del Libro di Torino).

Reale, Luigi M. Italianistica Online (2001). (Italian) Articles>Publishing>eBooks>Italy


eBooks: A Battle for Standards

After a decade, however, my initial enthusiasm over eBooks has waned considerably. Rather than looking forward to a new title as it becomes available, I immediately ask which format the title is available in, question how I can best access the title (which operating system, using which eBook reading application), scheme about how best to convert it to a more convenient format, and then eventually give up caring. Certainly, eBooks still hold a great deal of unrealized promise.

Cesarini, Paul. TWI (2003). Articles>Publishing>Online>eBooks


Ebooks: A New Frontier, or a New Headache?

Ebooks are starting to gain traction, thanks in no small part to the popularity of the Kindle. But are ebooks a viable delivery method for documentation?

Nesbitt, Scott. DMN Communications (2009). Articles>TC>eBooks>Technology


ePub: Nouveau Format Pour de la Documentation Technique   (Word)

Le nouveau format ePub destiné à l’origine pour les ebooks est-il adaptable à de la documentation technique ? Nous allons essayer de répondre mais avant cela, voyons à quoi ressemble ce nouveau format!

Docster.info (2010). (French) Articles>Publishing>Online>eBooks


Formats for Electronic Books

In the publishing sector, e-books have been the hottest topic at least since 2009, even if multimedia has now come to be included under the keyword "enhanced e-books". In the USA, sales figures show that electronic books are picking up steadily. Technical documentation, too, is a field that is exploring the possibilities offered by e-books. "Technical" e-books are not sold, to be sure, as they are in the case of the conventional publishing industry, but the "tradition" of online help has been around for quite some time in this domain. E-books and their file formats thus extend the spectrum of the already existing formats.

Welsch, Ursula and Uwe Matrisch. TC World (2011). Articles>Publishing>Online>eBooks


Former Book Designer Says Good Riddance to Print

A recent blog post by Craig Mod, a self-titled computer programmer, book designer and book publisher, offers a thoughtful and distinctive perspective on the move of books from paper to interactive devices like Apple’s iPad. Mr. Mod summarizes his argument in the subtitle of his post: “Print is dying. Digital is surging. Everyone is confused. Good riddance.”

Bilton, Nick. New York Times, The (2010). Articles>Document Design>Online>eBooks


The Fourteen Biggest E-Book Design Mistakes

Roger C. Parker returns with this tutorial to help make your electronic publications attention-getting, attractive, and easy to read... all part of his recent book Design to Sell.

Parker, Roger C. Design, Typography and Graphics (2006). Design>Document Design>eBooks>Usability


How To Create An E-book and Drive Massive Traffic To Your Site By Giving It Away...

E-books can provide the Internet marketer one of the best promotional tools online. With its vast variety of uses, just one quality e-book development and distribution can produce an on going promotional tool that will work 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Lowery, Shelley. Nine Yards (2002). Articles>Web Design>eBooks


How We Publish the Communiqué as an Ebook

There's no doubt that mobile is here is to stay. While having a mobile-pretty (a/k/a adaptive or responsive design) makes the Communiqué easier to read on your phone or other mobile device, there are some advantages to having a self-contained ebook.

Sapir, Rick. Carolina Communique (2014). Articles>Publishing>Online>eBooks


Improving the Usability of E-Book Readers   (peer-reviewed)

The use of e-book readers (e-readers or electronic-readers) has become increasingly widespread. An e-reader should meet two important requirements: adequate legibility and good usability. In our study, we investigated these two requirements of e-reader design. Within the framework of a multifunctional approach, we combined eye tracking with other usability testing methods. We tested five electronic reading devices and one classic paper book. The results suggested that e-readers with e-ink technology provided legibility that was comparable to classic paper books. However, our study also showed that the current e-reader generation has large deficits with respect to usability. Users were unable to use e-readers intuitively and without problems. We found significant differences between the different brands of e-book readers. Interestingly, we found dissociations between objective eye-tracking data and subjective user data, stressing the importance of multi-method approaches.

Siegenthaler, Eva, Pascal Wurtz and Rudolf Groner. Journal of Usability Studies (2010). Articles>Usability>eBooks



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