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My favorite source for grammar questions is:
"Harbrace College Handbook" by Hodges, pub by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
Several other well-liked books include:
"Managing Your Documentation Projects" by JoAnn T. Hackos, pub by John Wiley &
"Designing and Writing Online Documentation" by William Horton, pub by John
Wiley & Sons, 1994
"Procedure Writing Principles and Practices" by Douglas Wieringa, Christopher
Moore, and Valerie Barnes, Battelle Press, 1993
"How to Write a Usable User Manual" by Edmond H. Weiss, pub by iSi Press,
"How to Write Computer Manuals for Users" by Susan J. Grimm, pub by Lifetime
Learning Publications, Belmont, CA, 1982
I've collected recommendations by other tech writers on this list too.
They're attached below.
Ann Mackenzie: TekDocWis -at- aol -dot- com
TekDoc - Technical Documentation, Inc. in Milwaukee, WI, USA
Specializing in software, engineering, and policies & procedures.
*Know of any interesting projects that require online writing without
already having the experience? I want to learn that next.*
Adobe has a good book called:
"From Paper to Web...How to Make Information Instantly Accessible" by Tony
McKinley, Copyright 1997, Adobe Press, ISBN: 1-56830-345-9
It focuses on Indexing, Scanning and overall document management, but
does have good insight into PDF and online documentation in general.
It's probably in some form on the web too, so I'd check Adobe's web
site. Emily Petrick
BY FAR the best book that I have read in the area of technical
communications is STRUCTURED SYSTEMS ANALYSIS AND SPECIFICATION by Tom
DeMarco (Yourdon Press, 1979). I first read this book in conjunction
with a company class that I took in 1982. The book had a big impact on
me then and ahs had significant impact on me each of the several times
that I have reread it since.
The book is about creating software requirements specifications -
probably the most difficult task in software engineering. And yet, it
is so clear and concise that a 10th grader can understand it. It is a
truly remarkable work.
Technically, the book is about systems analysis (not technical writing).
However, at its root, it is about technical communications. The primary
topic is how to create flow chart like diagrams (called data flow
diagrams) that very uniquely focus on capturing the flow of data in a
Its main message is that "only by following the flow of data is it
possible to understand the underlying logic of a system". And, as I
have clearly discovered in the work world, this understanding is THE key
input to any software technical communications project (whether it be
software requirements specs, end user manuals, operational procedures,
or system test procedures). Tony Markatos
> "Making Money in Technical Writing" ISBN 0-02-861883-1 by Peter Kent. The
> edition is just out. This book will answer all of your
> questions and more. At $16.95 US (list price) you just cannot afford to be
Coming soon, "Poor Richard's Web Site: Geek-Free, Commonsense
Advice on Building a Low-Cost Web Site," Top Floor Publishing.
Visit http://www.poorrichard.com/ for sample chapters, Table of
Contents, almost 800 useful links for people setting up Web sites,
examples of free and low-cost Web-site utilities, and more.
Seek out the latest edition of Newton's Telecom Dictionary
from Flatiron Publishing. It's a super resource for
anything even vaguely telecom related--not to mention
being more than a little entertaining to read.
Current edition looks like number 12 or 13--considering that my 9th
edition has a 1995 pub date, you couldn't ask for more current.
It's at Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=1578200083/5526-5414581-494527
with a couple of glowing reviews. Eric
I've also been on the lookout for writing-specific guidelines for the
web. Until more information becomes available, I've found William
Horton's book Designing and Writing Online Documentation to be helpful
for addressing the issues around writing for the screen as opposed to
writing for print. Another book that's helped me is Standards for
Online Communication by JoAnn Hackos and Dawn Stevens.
I use *Science and Technical Writing: A Manual of Style* for a
source for questions like this. (Engineers seem to find it more
acceptable than Chicago.)
Lately, questions regarding font styles, caps vrs lowercase, ragged paragraph
edges, etc. have come up on the list. If some of you are interested in reading
more about these issues you may want to find a copy of R. John Brockman's
book: Writing Better Computer User Documentation, From Paper to Hypertext. He
discusses all of these issues and much more. He also references his sources.
sschionning -at- symvionics -dot- com
As a start - read JoAnn Hackos' "Managing your Documentation Projects"
(John Wiley and Sons, 1994). If you write an Information Plan as she suggests,
you will know exactly what you have to write and be able to make a valid
There is Coming in the fall, the revised Technical Writer's Freelancing
Guide. New Title: Making Money in Technical Writing. 80 percent
more info. See http://www.arundel.com/techwr for more...
Object-oriented Technologies: A Manager's Guide
by David A. Taylor, PhD
Addison Wesley, ISBN: 0-201-56358-4
The book is very well-written, and is definitely geared towards the
non-programmer....It has margin notes that summarize all of the key points,so
if you are really busy, you can read those and still learn something
One source I've found invaluable in writing technical stuff is Thomas J.
Glover's *Pocket Ref* (Sequoia Publications, Inc., Littleton, Colorado,
USA). Besides the information about bytes--kilo, mega, and so
forth--thislittle book has a wealth if information about Air and Gases,
Chemistry and Physics, Electrical (including wire, motors, and frames),
geology,solvents, well, you get the picture.
An excellent source could be:=20
Diana C. Reep's "Technical Writing - principle, strategies, and =
readings" Third edition.=20
A very valuable book:
Standards for Online Communication by JoAnn T. Hackos and Dawn M.
Stevens,publisher Wiley ISBN: 0-471-15695-7
There's a pretty good chapter on testing in it Connie Fabian-Isaacs