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Andreas, all four of the books you single out are great. I've had the most
experience with Carolyn Rude's editing textbook, which I believe is the most
popular text for tech editing courses in North America. The book's strong
enough in information to use also as a reference. The companion Web site
(www.abacon.com/rude) provides downloadable assignment sheets.
BTW, the STC journal _Technical Communication_ has reviewed most of Allyn &
Bacon's tech communication titles. You might check out our reviewers'
comments for more insight into what the books offer. Here's when we've
reviewed the four books you mentioned:
Writing Software Documentation: A Task Oriented Approach: May 1998
Designing Visual Language: Strategies for Technical Communication: August
Technical Writing Style: August 1998
Technical Editing: May 1998
Book Review Editor
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Lacey, WA 98503
avonmu -at- home -dot- com