Other things Technical Communicators Can Do

Subject: Other things Technical Communicators Can Do
From: Ruth Glaser <rglaser -at- DATAWORKSMPLS -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 11:46:27 -0600

Hello List,

In the past there has been discussion about different careers and fields for
technical writers. After about 9 years or so in the technical writing field,
I am moving on to a entirely different position--Client Services Manager.
I've enjoyed being a technical writer and have learned a great deal from
this list. I'd like to share some thoughts about technical communication and
provide a list of resources you may find useful.

It is my firm belief that technical writers, being the analytical creatures
that they are, can change the world! :-) Or at least they can have a
positive impact in a number of businesses as managers, analysts, writers,
and/or promoters and developers of standards and processes.

(One caveat though--writers need to take a step back and look at things
strategically. The anal-retentive nature of a number of posts to this list,
and the minutia with which so many writers concern themselves, cripple these
writers' ability to add value. These writers can do far greater things than
determining whether to use "appears" or "displays". Think about the
difference you can make--I assure you it has nothing to do with issues like
whether or not to use one space or two after a period.)

Some of you are aware of the field of Knowledge Management (KM), but if you
are not, I would like to share a little information with you. This is an
emerging (but not new) field that writers are born for. KM seeks to capture
and distribute information within an organization. Put very simply, it is
providing the right information, to the right people, at the right time,
using the right tools. (Sounds sort of familiar, right?) The difference is
that this is more than simply providing product documentation. It is
imparting knowledge that helps in developing business strategies. The
knowledge/information comes from many sources and can be used by many
different people to accomplish a number of different things.

Businesses are seeing the value of--get this--content! That is why you're
starting to see more and more Chief Information Officers guiding decisions
about gathering and delivering information, both internally and externally.
Here are a number of links if you're looking for more information:

Knowledge Management Theory & Examples
KB Strategies
The Montague Institute
CIO Magazine
Knowledge Management Magazine
Virtual Library of KM Resources
KM & Content Creation
Knowledge Management White Papers
The Knowledge Base Knowledge Base
KB Example

Knowledge Base/Customer Support Tools
There are many, but here are a few:
Clientele Software
Inference Corporation
Primus Corporation
Remedy Software
DK Systems

Finally, thank you Eric and Deb Ray for providing invaluable resources and
tools for the technical writing community. Your efforts are remarkable, and
you deserve many kudos for this often thankless job.

Ruth T. Glaser
(Soon-to-be-former) Information Manager
DataWorks-Platinum Corporation

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