Category: May 2012

Off Hours: The Rough Drafts

By Kevin Cuddihy | Assistant Editor The Rough Drafts (2003): (left-to-right) Peter Hartman, Rich Maggiani, Sheila Jones, and Tommy Barker The Rough Drafts is the unofficial band of STC, performing at multiple conferences and reuniting at the 2012 STC Summit. The band was conceptualized in Chicago in 2001, as original (and current) members Rich Maggiani and Tommy Barker made plans to get some other musicians and put on a jam session at the next STC Summit. So it was 2002 in Nashville when the original Rough Drafts first performed. Tommy Barker, Rich Maggiani, and Peter Hartman took to the stage… Read the rest

FYI: Mark Your Calendar

F.Y.I. lists information about nonprofit ventures only. Please send information to 1. 18–21 May The Council of Science Editors (CSE) will hold its annual meeting, “Our Authors, Ourselves: Science Editing and Publishing in a Global Market,” at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel in Seattle, WA. For more information, contact: CSE +1 (703) 437-4377 2. 20–23 May* The Society for Technical Communication (STC) brings its 59th Annual Technical Communication Summit to Chicago-Rosemont, IL, at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare. For information as it’s available: STC +1 (703) 522-4114 3. 22–25 May Join the Association of Proposal Management Professionals for… Read the rest

All Access: Why Should I Care About Accessibility?

By Linda Roberts | Senior Member, and Lisa Pappas | Associate Fellow This column shares information about accessibility requirements and techniques, and introduces standards and policies that might affect your products. If you have feedback, contact Linda Roberts at Over the years, people have asked us why they should care about accessibility. It made us think. Here are a few reasons why you should care about accessibility: People with disabilities are a large user group. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2006) in a survey taken in 2002, around 18% of Americans said that they had a disability. To… Read the rest

Media Matters:<br/>PowerPoint: The Multimedia Engine that “Could”

By Marc Lee | Senior Member This column addresses media subjects for technical communicators. It discusses graphics, audio, animation, video, and interactive media as they relate to technical communication. Please send comments to Some of you may remember a couple of columns I wrote for Intercom on Microsoft Word’s multimedia tools a few years ago (April and July/August 2010). In this column, we’ll continue with the theme of “the untapped multimedia power of everyday tools” in talking about PowerPoint’s multimedia and e-learning features. PowerPoint has been criticized in some circles for fostering sloppy thinking and an overkill of fonts,… Read the rest

Community Awards

The Society for Technical Communication has long recognized the importance of the hard work and commitment of its community members. Without their energy and enthusiasm, the Society would cease to be the largest, most effective, and most prestigious organization of technical communicators in the world. Below are the honorees this year for the Distinguished Chapter Service Award, Distinguished SIG Service Award, and Distinguished Service Award for Students. Congratulations to each of them and thank you for your service to the Society. Distinguished Chapter Service Award In 1988, the Society initiated the Distinguished Chapter Service Award (DCSA) to recognize exemplary dedication… Read the rest

Follow the 2012 Summit on Twitter

Even if you aren’t able to attend the 2012 Summit in Rosemont, you can follow it via Twitter—and even get a little taste of the conference to boot! Username @stcchicago will be tweeting throughout the conference, and both @stc_org and @STC_Summit will issue all the official announcements and information on speakers, preconference courses, and more. For a more in-depth view of the conference, check out the hashtag #stc12 for all tweets during the Summit. Attendees are invited to tweet from the conference using that hashtag, and anyone can view their comments by searching on the hashtag. The conference website (… Read the rest

Community Achievement Awards

The Community Achievement Awards (CAA) program recognizes STC chapters and special interest groups (SIGs) for exceptional accomplishments in meeting Society goals. The awards not only acknowledge that the obligations of a properly functioning community have been met, but that the winning communities have performed well beyond expectations. The awards program recognizes, in a visible and meaningful manner, communities that demonstrate outstanding, innovative, and sustained performance in advancing the goals of the Society. STC recognizes the following communities for their efforts. Communities of Distinction Chicago For your thorough and ongoing commitment to education in all its forms: for students and new… Read the rest

2012 STC Election Results

STC is pleased to announce the results of its 2012 election. (Note that results are not official until the Annual Business Meeting on 21 May at the Summit.) Voting concluded at 5:00 PM EDT (GMT-4) on 30 March. Of 5,015 eligible voters, 787 (15.69%) cast ballots. Congratulations to the winners, and a special thanks to all candidates for their dedication to STC and willingness to devote their time and energy to improving our Society. President Alan Houser (automatically succeeds from Vice President) Vice President Nicky Bleiel* 531 Robert Dianetti 237 Secretary Alyssa Fox* 416 Michael Opsteegh 345 Director (two spots)… Read the rest

Product Data Sustainment With Semantic Web Technologies

By Karl Darr In 2001, the seminal article “The Semantic Web” by Tim Berners-Lee, James Hendler, and Ora Lassila was published. (This article was preceded by a Berners-Lee proposal submitted to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a standards-setting body, on 4 February 2000). This proposal and article set in motion much research and hopes for future technologies that would be able to “bring structure to the meaningful content of web pages” with “software agents roaming from page to page,” where they “can readily carry out sophisticated tasks for users,” and other technologies. The article went on to state, “Like… Read the rest

Blogging as a Multiliteracy Approach to Teaching Visual Communication

By Monica Wesley As the expectations placed upon technical communicators have grown, educators have also realized that there is a pressing need to teach technical communication students visual communication skills. Unfortunately, verbal and visual literacies are too often viewed as dichotomous—skills and abilities that are entirely distinct from one another. Instead of framing verbal and visual literacies as silos of knowledge and ability, this article proposes a multiliteracy approach to the teaching of visual communication. In such an approach, students who already possess verbal skills can use those abilities as a bridge to acquire visual communication skills. Here, I will… Read the rest