Re: TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 56, Issue 11

Subject: Re: TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 56, Issue 11
From: Chris Despopoulos <despopoulos_chriss -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2010 05:51:02 -0700 (PDT)

Somebody said:
**********
When I write something, I am creating a document but I am not creating
the information in it.? That is something I discover and codify.? I
figure I "create" information about as much as an archeologist creates
dinosaur bones.
*********

That was actually an argument against the idea that tech writers create information. By the definition I know of according to information theory, "discover and codify" is the creation of information. An archeologist (well, paleontologist) does much more than discover dinosaur bones. She assembles them into a picture of the species, the food chain, behavior, musculature, environment, etc. The bones, along with a large body of research that has been codified in the scientific literature, are her data. The published paper is her information. People who have internalized the same body of research and have looked at her dinosaur bones can read her paper and recreate the same data set (that's called peer review). If this isn't "creating information", then what is?

More than that, I'm kind of shocked at the turn some of this conversation is taking. Any product we work on is ultimately a package of information. We're information professionals, same as the programmers, tech support, marketing, and even the bean counters. It's up to us to appreciate our contribution along the broad spectrum of information that we call a product. And we have to add value wherever we can.

Well, that's my assertion, anyway...

cud




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