Re: paradigm for tech comm?

Subject: Re: paradigm for tech comm?
From: Leonard Paul Olszewski <saslpo -at- UNX -dot- SAS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 15 Mar 1993 11:11:51 -0500

> As technical writers, what do you think is the paradigm for technical
> writing?

I don't think there is any one paradigm that forms the basis for modern
technical writing, if I understand your question correctly. If you
study the history of technical commumication, you probably have a better
feel for that than do I.

My *opinion* is that the largest advances in technical communication
probably came about with the advent of computer hardware and software
manuals. Principles such as task orientation, progressive disclosure in
usage information, and dictionary-style reference material were invented
out of necessity. The need to disseminate complex information to a
growing market then led to the premium placed on clarity, conciseness
and accessibility. Compare this with techncial material from the
academic world, or the kind you see from government agencies.

Please, I don't mean to insult anybody here. I apologize if I did. I
know there are some very bad computer manuals (though none from my
company 8-) and probably some very good academic and govenrment text. My
supposition here, though, is that the computer industry inspired a
genesis of many common technical forms that writers today take for
granted. And I think this is continuing, matching the diversity of new

> I realize that this question is not as practical as some
> discussed on this list, but I believe that this questions is important
> in establishing technical communication as a profession and defining
> technical communication.

I think it's more practical than a lot of people realize. If you follow
any form without an awareness of the historical or philosophical
dimension that underlies it, you run the real risk of perpetuating
obsolete methods without knowing it.

By way of introduction, my name is Len Olszewski, and I write computer
manuals for the SAS Institute, a software company in Cary, North
Carolina. I've been doing this for about four years now, and if I told
all the stuff I did before this, you'd be bored to tears, and the
wasted bandwidth would be enourmous. I'm delighted to be a part of this
list, and I encourage everyone to keep up the good work!
|Len Olszewski, Technical Writer |"You can observe a lot by watching."|
|saslpo -at- unx -dot- sas -dot- com|Cary, NC, USA| - Yogi Berra |
| Opinions this ludicrous are mine. Reasonable opinions will cost you.|

Previous by Author: Re: Is ANYONE going to Dallas?
Next by Author: Re: Paradigms
Previous by Thread: paradigm for tech comm?
Next by Thread: Re: paradigm for tech comm?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads