Category: January 2012

A Note from the Editors

This issue of Intercom is essentially a double issue on information architecture, with print and Web editions (some additional articles have been published online only). I’m thrilled to start off 2012 with such impressive content and an exciting topic. I thank coeditors Andrea Ames and Alyson Riley for their hard work and dedication to this issue. Visit to share your thoughts about the articles. —Liz Pohland We set out to do something new with this special edition of Intercom magazine, something that reflected our passion for information architecture and our desire to help equip information architects (IAs) for… Read the rest

On the Clock

By Jean-luc Doumont | Senior Member 4:30 AM. My iPod lets off its familiar wake-up tone. As I open an eye to reach for it, the furniture's silhouette around me seems utterly unfamiliar. Where am I? I open my other eye and try to focus. Looks like a hotel room—but where on Earth? I shake my head and it comes back to me: the long flights, the rental car, the late arrival. I rub my eyes. 4:31 AM. I'd better get up—there is so much to do. Shave, shower, get some breakfast. Iron my shirt. Pack the material I need… Read the rest

In Memoriam: Suzanna Laurent

Memories of Suzanna and a Reminder of Who She Was By Linda Oestreich | Fellow Suzanna Laurent, Former STC President 28 December 1942–26 December 2011 My first memory of Suzanna dates back to 1999. She was the Director-Sponsor for Region 5 and I was on the admin council for the Houston Chapter. (At one time, STC had eight regions—each region voted for a director to sit on the Society’s Board of Directors.) She would occasionally visit Houston and I would attend her presentations. I was not impressed. In fact, I was put off by her “grandmotherly” demeanor, her heavy Oklahoma… Read the rest

President's Midterm Report

By Hillary Hart | STC President Last year about this time, then-president Mike Hughes started a tradition of providing a midterm report on, as he put it, “where we are and where we still need to go.” I would like to continue that tradition. From where I stand, I see five major accomplishments of 2011. First of all, we can say that Project Phoenix—the big STC project of last year—has been a success. The number of visits to the website has increased about 15% in the period of 1 July 2011–30 November 2011, compared with the same period last year.… Read the rest

STC Academic SIG Hosts Partnership Preconference at CPTSC

By Pam Brewer, Craig Baehr, Thomas Barker, and Sally Henschel On 6 October 2011, the STC Academic Special Interest Group (SIG) hosted a hybrid, one-day Partnership Preconference before the 2011 Annual Conference for the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication (CPTSC). We were invited by Kirk St.Amant, program chair for the 2011 CPTSC conference, to “consider coordinating a preconference event that would further promote collaboration between educators and practitioners.” The purpose of this inaugural event was to facilitate a more active exchange of information between industry and the academy. The preconference theme, “Partnerships for Professionalism,” paralleled that of… Read the rest

STC 2012 Slate of Candidates

By Mark Clifford | Chair, STC Nominating Committee The Nominating Committee is pleased to announce the 2012 slate of candidates for Society office. Please note that the election slate presented below is based on the current Society Bylaws. These are available for review at NOTE: All STC members must have paid their dues by 29 February 2012 to be eligible to vote in the election. Congratulations to all of the candidates, and thanks to everyone who expressed an interest in running for office. For President Alan Houser will automatically succeed from Vice President. Candidates on the slate for the… Read the rest

Getting Support from Your Supervisor

Would your employer be willing to pay at least part of the expenses of attending the Technical Communication Summit in Rosemont, IL, 20–23 May 2012? It couldn't hurt to ask! Consider writing a memo to your supervisor that explains how you and your firm would benefit from your attendance. The following model is based on a memo that worked for its author. Feel free to modify it for use within your company. Dear [your supervisor's name]: To help provide [your company] with the most current professional methods and technological advances in editing/writing and report/publication management, I would like to attend… Read the rest

Discounts Available for Summit Travel

STC has set up discounts on airfare for those attending the 2012 Summit in Rosemont, IL. American Airlines: Attendees will receive a 5% discount off the lowest applicable published air fare. When you make airline reservations, call American Airlines at 1-800-433-1790 from anywhere in the United States or Canada and refer to your Promotion Code 3652BP, or go online to and choose More Flight Search Options and insert the promotion code in the appropriate box. United Airlines: Attendess can receive up to a 10% discount (depending on booking class) on domestic or international travel to/from Chicago between 14–28 May.… Read the rest

Day Trips in the Chicagoland Area

By Donna Templeton | Senior Member The 2012 STC Summit will be held just outside the city of Chicago at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Rosemont, Illinois. I would like to share some gems from my entertainment box of things to do in the Greater Chicago Area, also known as Chicagoland. Most anything you would want to do, see, or buy can be found in the area. You will feel as if you have stepped onto the grounds of a huge resort. The Summit takes place in May, when flowers will be in bloom in the Chicago area. If you… Read the rest

Holistic Interactive Experiences—The Future of Information Architecture

By Samantha Starmer | Guest Columnist This column explores the strategic aspects of information architecture and the tools to equip information architects (IAs) for success. Topics will address the business, strategy, user experience, and implementation of strategic information architecture, including organizational, content management, and tactical considerations. Send your comments, questions, and suggestions for future articles to We can see now that information is what our world runs on: the blood and the fuel, the vital principle. —James Gleick, The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood Recently, I was in a cafe idly flipping through a Sunday newspaper that… Read the rest