Re: New Term for Tech Writers?

Subject: Re: New Term for Tech Writers?
From: Mark Baker <mbaker -at- OMNIMARK -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 13 May 1998 14:14:01 -0400

Nina L. Panzica wrote:

>Is "information developer" a relatively new term or have I just not been
>paying attention?

I have seen it in use for at least three or four years.

It seems that the word "writer" is just too concrete for many people. There
seems to be an ongoing search for a word that would be the equivalent of
"composer" in music. No one confuses the act of composing music with the act
of inscribing musical notes, but most people associate "writing" primarily
with the act of inscribing words on a page, rather than the act of composing
information. (Hence the typist/secretary problem.)

As the act of composing technical information becomes increasingly
abstracted from the creation of individual pieces of printed output, and
grows to include more and more non-textual forms of expression, "writer"
seems, to many, to be an inadequate or misleading description.

The rise of "technical communicator" and "authoring" seem to be a related

This is clearly a problem of more than mere linguistic curiosity. I have
worked in a company where a person described as a "technical writer" was
assumed to have no competence in graphical presentation of information,
while a "technical communicator" was accepted as a person who could speak
authoritatively on (and in) both text and graphics.

Mark Baker
Manager, Corporate Communications
OmniMark Technologies Corporation
1400 Blair Place
Gloucester, Ontario
Canada, K1J 9B8
Phone: 613-745-4242
Fax: 613-745-5560
Email mbaker -at- omnimark -dot- com

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