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Not only have historical studies of technical communication increased in quantity and quality over the last 15 years, but they have also entered the mainstream of technical communication research. These studies have focused on practitioners, artifacts, genres, movements, techniques, events, and the profession, as well as relevant methodology and pedagogy. There are still many opportunities for historical research in our discipline, particularly in the areas of chirographic, oral, and nonverbal communication as well as technical communication activities such as illustrating, translating, and editing and the business of technical communication. Researchers now have many online indexes, databases, and archives to assist them in locating and studying primary sources. There is a need, however, for greater coordination among scholars and a better awareness of the areas that have already been studied. Historical studies can serve teachers and practitioners by suggesting ideas, supplying precedents, creating critical distance, and establishing context.
Date of Publication: Dec. 2007