Subject: Re: Technical COMMUNICATION
From: Stuart Selber <sselber -at- MTU -dot- EDU>
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 1993 14:13:09 -0400

John Sanders writes:

>I think what everyone has been talking about is something someone realized
>several years ago, when they changed "writing" to "communication". It wasn't
>just to accomadate the illutrators.

>It's because what we do is COMMUNICATION. (Sorry, I shouldn't shout.) That
>covers all sorts of areas, and really has more to do with how to convey
>information than the actual content of the information. Does it matter that
>your manual is about an Accounting Package or a game? In general, no.

I would like to agree with John and extend his comments a bit. It is clear
that most technical communication activities include *conveying*
information and its possible meaning(s), but many would also argue (and
perhaps John would too) that these activities almost always involve
*constructing* information and its possible meanings. Perhaps that may be
one difference between how our field used to define technical writing--look
in many textbooks for the Shannon & Weaver information *transfer*
model--and what many are now trying to do with translation and articulation
models of technical communication, models that locate technical
communicators within the context of both creating/constructing and
conveying situated information/knowledge to particular audiences.


Stuart A. Selber Department of Humanities Michigan Technological
University Houghton, MI 49931 email: sselber -at- mtu -dot- edu phone:
906-487-3252 fax: 906-487-3347

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