Re: Texts to Simulate "Keeping Up w/ Design" etc. Request.

Subject: Re: Texts to Simulate "Keeping Up w/ Design" etc. Request.
From: "Less is more." <yvonne -at- VENUS -dot- SMARTSTAR -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 1995 09:08:23 -0800

Diana Patterson <DPATTERSON -at- MTROYAL -dot- AB -dot- CA> said:

> I regret if I intrude a teacherly question here, but I want the advice
> of "real" writers. I was a tech. writer for over 20 years. Now I am trying to
> teach the subject. There are really no text books that I can find that deal
>with the realities. In my own class I just add anecdotes such as Glen
> Accardo's description of life in a shifting sand pit of design.

> But now I have been given the responsibility of designing a curriculum
> for a degree in "applied communications" which will be taught by the usual
> teacher who has never done the job. I need good texts or collections of
> articles I can get assembled into texts with appropriate copyright permission.

One book I recommend for "real world" info about tech writing is "The Art of
Technical Documentation" by Katherine Haramundanis. It is published by Digital
Press (part of Digital Equipment Corporation), and really provides info about
how it "really" is out here. It includes sections on "Documentation Management",
"A Typical Writer's Workplan", and "Use of Technical Experts". The tools
sections are slanted toward tools made by DEC, but the rest is quite relevant,
even for writers in smaller companies.

And, Glen Accardo <glen -at- SOFTINT -dot- COM> commented:

> All of the tech writing courses I took concentrated on information which
> stood still -- "go to the library and research xxx and write about it."
> In interviewing tech writers recently, I've noticed that English majors
> believe the world really works that way. Journalism majors seem to know
> more about digging and piecing things together and playing one source
> off another to get down to the real truth.

I agree completely, but then I was a journalism major. ;-)
(Journalism majors also learn to write short instead of long, and learn to
deal with editing and criticism.)

Yvonne DeGraw
Sr. Technical Writer
SmartStar Corporation
yvonne -at- smartstar -dot- com


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