A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Communication Circle, The

16 found.

About this Site | Advanced Search | Localization | Site Maps



Adding Semantics to SGML Databases

Technical writers who must maintain complex, delicately interconnected information often look to object-oriented SGML databases as a way of storing, retrieving, reusing, and reassembling the constituent objects of new documents, created on the fly to respond to a particular customer’s needs. The SGML tags help identify structural packages such as procedures, illustrations, or glossary items; in a large database, then, writers can filter out unwanted material, locating only the structural pieces they need for the job in hand. For instance, to produce a quick reference, a writer might pull up the names of procedures and their steps, but not the introductions or explanations. Similarly, a user could search for illustrations only. But illustrations of what? With no subject matter defined, such searches result in hundreds, even tens of thousands of hits. To speed up access to the precise passages wanted, end users and writers need a way to narrow their searches by defining the precise subject matter (the meaning, or semantics) as well as the structural elements they seek.

Mazumdar, Subhasish, Weifeng Bao, Zhengang Yuan and Jonathan R. Price. Communication Circle, The (1998). Design>Information Design>SGML>Semantic


The Communication Circle: Articles on Complex Documentation

For professional writers and managers, these articles deal with current and emerging challenges such as pattern languages, outlining, Website editing and management, complexity, SGML databases, Help systems, and collaboration among members of a writing team.

Communication Circle, The. Resources>TC


Complexity Theory as a Way of Understanding our Role in the World-Wide Web

Complexity theory offers a way of understanding our role within the World Wide Web. Postulating a rhetorical object based on object-oriented analysis and design, we can harness a number of ideas from complexity theory to gain a new perspective on the Web. This paper reviews a number of complexity ideas that may help technical communicators grapple with the exponential growth in the volume of inter-related and interacting rhetorical objects on the Web, viewing the rhetorical situation as the result of the law of increasing returns, which has brought us through a phase transition to a new environment, with its own emergent properties, creating new roles for writers, and new work for managers.

Price, Jonathan R. Communication Circle, The (1999). Articles>Information Design>Theory>Web Design


The Dangers of Personalization

Personalization is coming to technical communication, and the results may not be pretty. n offering the individual an opportunity to pick and choose among XML content objects, we risk causing confusion when the organization of the site appears to shift, and familiar landmarks disappear. Critical content may become invisible to the user. The very process of creating preferences, custom options, or an entire personal profile adds a complex distraction that many users may resent, because it takes them away from their original task for so long that they forget what they were doing. Even advanced search mechanisms, which promise to pinpoint the exact information object the user wants, risk baffling users with their own complexity.

Price, Jonathan R. Communication Circle, The (2001). Presentations>Information Design>Personalization


Electronic Outlining as a Tool for Making Writing Visible

The electronic outlining software found in many commercial programs, when projected on the classroom wall, helps us train students in the main activities involved in creating an outline. Freed from paper, the electronic outline allows continuous revision, encourages multiple iterations of the many interdependent activities involved in research, planning, writing, and revision, and serves as a focal point for discussion of the ways in which the group is developing an ongoing consensus, as part of a larger conversation.

Price, Jonathan R. Communication Circle, The (1997). Articles>Education>Editing>Writing


Going Beyond $1 a Word: Syndication

With the recent downturn in the economy, newsrooms, newspapers, magazine and Web outlets are letting staff writers go, and are looking for cheaper content alternatives. Buying content from syndicates is becoming more popular for these publishers. Watch for this trend to continue.

Price, Lisa. Communication Circle, The (2001). Careers>Freelance>Writing


Going Beyond $1 Per Word: Getting Paid on the Internet

Paying by the word comes from the print publishing world. Web editors have continued this model.

Price, Lisa. Communication Circle, The (2001). Careers>Freelance>Writing


Make Each Paragraph Short

People are more likely to read a short passage of text than a long one, especially if they have to make an extra effort, like scrolling, to do it. Onscreen text is more difficult and time consuming to read than hardcopy text, which makes people even less likely to thoroughly read long sections of text on a computer.

Communication Circle, The (1998). Articles>Web Design>Writing


A Rhetoric of Objects

The Web demands a new rhetoric for communicators, transforming traditional modern and classical ideas of audience, invention, arrangement, style, delivery, memory, and ethos. This paper sketches a rhetoric that analyzes customized, personalized object-oriented content, delivered in many formats and media, as part of a continuous conversation.

Price, Jonathan R. Communication Circle, The (2001). Presentations>Rhetoric>Personalization


So You Want to Freelance as a Webzine Writer?

The Web offers a second universe for writers. Web publications have opened up just as the paper markets have shrunk for journalists, humorists, essayists, fictioneers, and yes, freelancing technical communicators. Webzines appear at a time when pay rates for magazine articles and books have begun to mirror the economy’s split into poor and rich, with fewer lucrative contracts in the middle. But now the opportunity exists for a writer to make a middle-class living on the Web.

Price, Jonathan R. Communication Circle, The (1998). Careers>Freelance>Writing


STOP: Light on the History of Outlining

In 1965, three people at Hughes Aircraft (now Raytheon) published a landmark report called Sequential Thematic Organization of Publications (STOP), How to Achieve Coherence in Proposals and Reports. Their recommendations led the aerospace industry, and many others, to adopt a storyboarding approach to the development of large, complicated proposals such as those for new airplanes or satellite systems. Their report summarizes a practical collaborative method that is still useful, but I am interested in the light their report throws on the history of outlining.

Price, Jonathan R. Communication Circle, The (1999). Articles>Writing


Structuring Complex Interactive Information

To improve the structure of complex information when it is to be presented electronically, technical communicators may turn to ideas taken from object-oriented programming, to clarify and revive the structure of the material in existing documents before mounting them online. But when an organization starts moving information onto the Web, technical communicators may go through a phase transition, as the system becomes so much more complex it exhibits emergent behaviors, and demands new attitudes, concepts, and work from the technical communicator.

Price, Jonathan R. Communication Circle, The (1997). Articles>Information Design>Multimedia


Tools for Creating and Managing Personalized Content

There are several ways to create content tagged correctly in XML, then several tools for managing that content. Here are some types of tools for creating content.

Price, Jonathan R. Communication Circle, The (2001). Resources>Directories>Personalization


Towards a Library of Technical Communication

Technical communication needs its own library, to preserve our work, and to enable other writers, editors, managers, students, teachers, and researchers to study good and bad examples, analyze what works and what does not, and develop a real history of our churning field, in which many good ideas have surfaced, then been dropped, reinvented, turned around, and forgotten. We propose developing a prototype library, soliciting materials of every kind from technical communicators around the country, and opening an ongoing discussion of paths to take toward a resource we could all use.

Price, Jonathan R., Coulombe Leland and Elena Marshall. Communication Circle, The (1998). Articles>TC


What Technical Writers Can Learn from Christopher Alexander's Pattern Language

In a series of books, Christopher Alexander, an urban planner and architect, has inspired object-oriented programmers with his idea of a pattern language-originally, a catalog of solutions to common problems faced by any community or individual creating a livable structure such as a town or a house. His approach might also help technical communicators polish and perfect our own standard rhetorical structures (such as the procedure, user guide, or reference), viewed as common ways of answering frequent, if virtual, questions from our users . Alexander's way of describing age-old patterns such as neighborhoods, streets, paths, and homes may give us a model for creating our own set of patterns in technical communication, whether or not we adopt some of the eager elaborations offered by folks in the object-oriented design world. What's a pattern? For Alexander, a pattern is a practical guide to resolving any problem that occurs over and over, such as how to lay out common ground for a town square, or punch a hole in a wall for a door.

Price, Jonathan R. Communication Circle, The (2001). Articles>Information Design>Rhetoric


You and Me: Making Technical Communication Personal

Text of talk presented at the 48th International Conference of the Society for Technical Communication, Chicago, IL, May 2001. We are moving toward an audience of one. Beyond the great mass. Beyond niches, micromarkets, subgroups, demographic clusters. Communicating with one person at a time.

Price, Jonathan R. Communication Circle, The. Presentations>Information Design>Personalization

Follow us on: TwitterFacebookRSSPost about us on: TwitterFacebookDeliciousRSSStumbleUpon