Technical writing in a higher ed environment

Subject: Technical writing in a higher ed environment
From: "Wendy Cunningham" <wcunning -at- pct -dot- edu>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2004 08:30:14 -0500

I spent the last five years within the confines of a small software
development operation. I was the editor and project coordinator over two
other writers. To cover concepts unique to our software, we supplemented
Microsoft's Manual of Style with an internal style guide. We relied on
Chicago for basic grammar and usage standards. So armed, we could find
an answer to almost any writing question.

Now I am the sole technical writer for the IT department at a technical
college. Per an administrative directive, anything written for general
consumption via internal memos, online news, or the college's Web site
is to follow the Associated Press style. Obviously, this "law" came down
from someone in the Communication's office whose material is mostly
journalistic in nature.

Much of my content (quick guides, cheat sheets, basic 'how to'
information, etc.) is distributed electronically via the Web site and
is subject to this "law." But AP doesn't even come close to meeting my
needs. In fact, it often contradicts Chicago and other style guides
commonly used in technical documents.

What's a writer to do?


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