Re: document ownership/plagiarism (kind of long)

Subject: Re: document ownership/plagiarism (kind of long)
From: Stephanie Holland <SLHOLLAND -at- MICRONPC -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 1997 10:48:12 -0600

Thanks to everyone who replied and gave suggestions. Yes, Tracy is
correct -- I'm not concerned about having my ego stroked. I was a
newspaper reporter and editor for a number of years and saw my name in
print every day. And, the only thing that appears on the documents my
group writes is our group name and phone number -- *not* the individual
author's name. We include this information so we can get feedback from
users, not because we like to see the words "Technical Communication
Group" in print. :- )

I also probably shouldn't have included the word "plagiarism" in my
email posting. I realize that what other departments are doing isn't
really plagiarism.

My company is only a few years old but growing rapidly -- we have more
than 3,000 employees (more than 4,000 if you count our subsidiary) and
we hire new people *every* Monday. We're going through a lot of changes
about how our Information Technology Department manages and implements
projects for the company.

The Technical Communication Group I started within our IT Department is
still trying to set policies and get our programmers and the rest of the
company to follow along. So, part of my job is doing public relations to
let people know what my group does and how we can help people. I still
meet people within my own department who don't realize the services we

It's difficult for me to tell my boss that technical writers add value
if I can't prove it. If people start claiming our documents as their
own, it's difficult for me to do usability tests to show that the
documents are effective. It's also difficult for users to provide
feedback if they're given a document with no contact name or phone
number and no clue as to which department in our company wrote it.

I will do as some people suggested -- talk to the people taking the docs
as their own and ask if there's something my group can do to help.

Thanks, everyone for your opinions and suggestions. They've helped a
lot. This list is great!

Stephanie Holland
Micron Electronics
slholland -at- micronpc -dot- com

>From: Tracy Boyington[SMTP:tracy_boyington -at- okvotech -dot- org]
>Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 1997 9:54 AM
>Subject: Re: document ownership/plagiarism (kind of long)
>> If you really want your ego stroked by having your name on publications,
>> I suggest you go talk to major publishers like Prentice Hall, Sybex, and
>> the like. I've heard there's some status associated with having your
>> name on a book.
>> Elna Tymes
>> Los Trancos Systems
>> <who has her name on 31 books about software. Big deal>
>It must be a big deal, or else Elna wouldn't have felt compelled to
>point it out in her sig. :-)
>I'm assuming Stephanie's problem with other divisions removing the
>author's names and other information is something more than an "ego
>stroking" problem. I would ask them why the material doesn't suit their
>needs as is and try to come to a solution together. They may want all
>questions funneled through an internal person, they may want a
>version of the documentation that only includes the most-often-used
>material, etc.
>Tracy Boyington tracy_boyington -at- okvotech -dot- org
>Oklahoma Department of Vocational and Technical Education
>Stillwater, OK, USA

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