IPCC 94 Proceedings. Scaling New Heights in Technical Communication

Sept. 28 1993-Oct. 1 1993

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  • IPCC 94 Proceedings. Scaling New Heights in Technical Communication

    Publication Year: 1994
    Request permission for commercial reuse | PDF file iconPDF (70 KB)
    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Template teams: teamwork in technical communication

    Publication Year: 1994, Page(s):2 - 5
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (264 KB)

    The problem: do you have a client who wants a monthly report on the progress of your project? Are there a dozen or more authors whose input must be compiled, rewritten, reviewed, text processed, duplicated and delivered to the client-all within three weeks every month? How do you create a quality report given the limited time and a set budget? The solution: creating electronic templates and templa... View full abstract»

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  • Version control in collaborative writing

    Publication Year: 1994, Page(s):6 - 10
    Cited by:  Papers (2)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (244 KB)

    An architecture for automatic version control in collaborative writing is described. This system enables authors to operate independently using normal word processing facilities to edit the `same ' document, and supports them in understanding and managing what has happened when the document files are brought together. The paragraph and document level versioning mechanisms are described and illustr... View full abstract»

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  • Design of document structure using an information modelling approach

    Publication Year: 1994, Page(s):11 - 16
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    Designing the structure of multi-author documents and specification of the interaction between a document, its media and its authors are important issues. The paper describes the application of an information modelling approach, NIAM, to address these issues. Document design has been decomposed into specification of the structure, the media and the authors of a document, followed by the relationsh... View full abstract»

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  • Critical factors for starting usability engineering in the workplace

    Publication Year: 1994, Page(s):118 - 123
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (304 KB)

    There is much documented evidence which supports usability engineering, but it is still hard for first-time usability testers to convince management and development staff to invest in usability. Usability testing is still associated with laboratory testing; the expense of building a lab may inhibit smaller, grass-roots movements towards usability. This paper describes practical issues in initiatin... View full abstract»

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  • Technology transfer: a new culture

    Publication Year: 1994, Page(s):18 - 22
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (344 KB)

    Universities and trade associations have had a long history of collaboration with industry to commercialize their research products. In 1989, the US Congress decided that the national laboratories should increase the nation's economic competitiveness by sharing laboratory-developed technologies with US industries. Laboratory scientists working in unclassified areas no longer could freely share the... View full abstract»

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  • Testing online helps with paper and pencil

    Publication Year: 1994, Page(s):124 - 126
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (148 KB)

    Testing online help systems does not have to be limited to the final stages of a project. A paper-and-pencil scenario can help you identify problems in the help text, in the organization of information, and in the underlying design of the software. In addition, such tests can help you determine where to put hypertext links and graphics View full abstract»

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  • The exhilarating, dangerous world of technology transfer communication: success and sanity through teamwork

    Publication Year: 1994, Page(s):23 - 27
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (344 KB)

    A growing interest in technology transfer as a tool for economic development has resulted in a new genre of communication, which must appeal to audiences at several levels of technical expertise while retaining technical accuracy. Technology transfer communication products can be created in many forms, and the preparation is exciting, as is the thrill of being on the “leading edge ” of... View full abstract»

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  • Clear communication-the competitive edge

    Publication Year: 1994, Page(s):168 - 172
    Cited by:  Patents (1)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (276 KB)

    Technical communication in western Canada lags far behind the rest of Canada and the US. As the first major attempt to increase the awareness of the profession in this area, three western Canadian chapters of the Society for Technical Communication (BC, AB and MB) undertook a $132,00 research project aimed at helping businesses become more competitive with effective technical communication. There ... View full abstract»

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  • Shrink-wrapping the formula for better information: end user vs. MIS computer documentation preferences

    Publication Year: 1994, Page(s):366 - 369
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (216 KB)

    Information is typically the lowest rated component when measuring overall satisfaction of a software product. This is particularly disconcerting when you realize that in many software environments, the information is the face of the product, the first exposure most customers have. In 1993, IBM conducted a survey of current users of systems software product documentation-MIS professionals. We init... View full abstract»

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  • Whole-product usability: integrating documentation and rest-of-product usability testing

    Publication Year: 1994, Page(s):127 - 133
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (416 KB)

    Describes a recommended process for implementing a whole-product usability program, in which documentation and rest-of-product testing combine to yield valuable data for both professional communicators and product developers. The paper includes examples from the authors' usability testing experience View full abstract»

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  • The learning organization: the importance of adult education for technical communicators

    Publication Year: 1994, Page(s):30 - 35
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (336 KB)

    The paper suggests that the fields of adult education and technical communication are converging. The birth of the information society has resulted in the development of a new kind of organization: the learning organization. The overriding importance of information is also creating the conditions necessary for the field of technical communication to achieve a new status. The paper discusses these ... View full abstract»

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  • Technical communication at a crossroads: documentation meets multimedia in a software company

    Publication Year: 1994, Page(s):386 - 388
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (204 KB)

    Discusses the impact of multimedia technology on the technical communication profession. The authors maintain that the introduction of this technology necessitates organizational changes in the technical communication environment at the same time that it creates new opportunities for professional development. They emphasize that success in this new environment depends to a large extent on the adop... View full abstract»

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  • Teamwork, technology, and a plan: producing a multivolume proceedings “before” the conference

    Publication Year: 1994, Page(s):317 - 321
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (328 KB)

    Imagine having only 6 weeks to prepare a proceedings 10 times as large as the one you are holding in your hands. A communications team from Battelle publishes such a proceedings every other year for the conferences of the American council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Teamwork cutting-edge publishing technology, and good planning are necessary to prepare 4000 camera-ready pages in such a short ... View full abstract»

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  • Using graphics to support minimalist documentation

    Publication Year: 1994, Page(s):174 - 179
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (380 KB)

    Designing a user interface using minimalist principles can reduce the amount of paper and text necessary to document the system. Graphics in the interface helps the user grasp the concepts of the system, while dialog boxes, status information, and error messages aid in recognizing success and recovering from errors. Online help becomes a backup for users if they get stuck View full abstract»

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  • Quality documentation-ISO 9000 as a process model

    Publication Year: 1994, Page(s):372 - 377
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (308 KB)

    In preparing for ISO 9000 certification, I developed useful techniques which can be used to improve quality in other documentation tasks. Even if you're not involved in ISO 9000, it can serve as a good general model for documentation management. In this case study, I describe the ISO 9000 standard and the process of certification, and explain some of the tools and techniques I used in the process,... View full abstract»

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  • The changing future of technology in work organizations: a late nineteenth century view

    Publication Year: 1994, Page(s):136 - 141
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    In 1988, Shoshanna Zuboff wrote “In The Age Of The Smart Machine: The Future Of Work And Power”, in which she examined a variety of work methodologies. By examining how various work organizations utilize computers, she reiterated the power and potential of computing tools in the workplace. Since Zuboff's book was published, a variety of socioeconomic mechanisms continue to inhibit the ... View full abstract»

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  • Putting service and support documentation online - avoiding the perils and pitfalls: investigation of user requirements

    Publication Year: 1994, Page(s):460 - 463
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (228 KB)

    The study of user requirements for online documentation was handled in three parts. The first part consisted of a series of site visits with customers from a wide variety of company size and geographic location. The interviews focused on customer issues with the current service and support documentation and their future needs. The second part consisted of a benchmark study of the ten publications ... View full abstract»

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  • The usefulness of computerized readability tools: three case studies

    Publication Year: 1994, Page(s):233 - 237
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (324 KB)

    A 1993 survey of 39 communicators in high-tech industries revealed low use of computerized readability formulas among professional technical and business communicators. The current research focuses on case studies of three technical writers who used a variety of computerized readability tools and kept a detailed journal of their writing and editing processes. The study offers a look at real world ... View full abstract»

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  • Training in information technologies for complex problem-solving

    Publication Year: 1994, Page(s):36 - 41
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (400 KB)

    We have developed training for small business managers to help them map complex business problems onto electronic data and turn data into information for strategic decision-making. We call this training the “Seurat system ” because it helps people take distinct points of data and create patterns that are meaningful for a situational problem. Our training rests on findings from a survey... View full abstract»

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  • Technical communicators in product-development teams: what can we really contribute?

    Publication Year: 1994, Page(s):389 - 393
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (304 KB)

    Technical communicators are increasingly offered the opportunity to work as fully participating members of product-development teams. While these opportunities enable them to make contributions to product design and acceptance, they may require additional knowledge and skills to make the best of these opportunities. Those who participate without the necessary qualifications may find that their con... View full abstract»

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  • The scientific personality and the role of the technical supervisor in the enhancement of communication within the university-based research laboratory

    Publication Year: 1994, Page(s):322 - 326
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (340 KB)

    The university-based scientific research laboratory provides interesting and unique challenges to the individual responsible for its technical supervision. The purpose of this presentation is to discuss key characteristics of the “scientific personality” and how these relate to the laboratory communication environment that the technical supervisor should nurture and maintain. When succ... View full abstract»

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  • Scenarios for software products: what, why, and how

    Publication Year: 1994, Page(s):180 - 184
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (248 KB)

    As technical writers, we know about the role of various presentation methods in conveying information about software products, such as ordered lists for presenting procedures, diagrams for presenting processes, and tables for presenting classifications. But where do scenarios fit in and what do they look like? Traditionally, scenarios are not viewed as a necessary part of software product document... View full abstract»

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  • Planning writing projects: lessons from “The Last Place on Earth”

    Publication Year: 1994, Page(s):312 - 316
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    In 1979, Roland Huntford wrote a book about the South Pole expeditions of 1911. Scott and Amundsen (later published as The Last Place on Earth) details the journeys of these antarctic explorers. When I look at the lessons learned from The Last Place on Earth, I see many parallels in the planning and leading of writing projects. This paper describes how planning, or the lack of it, affected the out... View full abstract»

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  • Enhancing electrical engineering students' communication skills-the baseline findings

    Publication Year: 1994, Page(s):412 - 417
    Cited by:  Papers (2)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (336 KB)

    In 1993, we initiated a five-year project to enhance the communication skills of electrical engineering students. For our 1994 presentation, we report selected findings of our initial surveys of electrical engineering students, and then we highlight the communication activities of recent graduates. Finally, we briefly describe the process that we will use in developing the products-hypertext appli... View full abstract»

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