Guest post by Elizabeth Bailey, International Summit Awards Committee Entries Manager

The Society for Technical Communication’s International Summit Awards (ISA) competition is accepting chapter or regional entries through 31 January 2015. To qualify, the entry must have been produced or substantially revised within 24 months prior to 1 September 2014 and won an Award of Excellence or Distinguished Technical Communication Award at a local or regional STC competition in 2014–15. All STC ISA entries must be submitted using the online submission form.

We continue to use the same four categories of entries:

  • Informational Materials
  • Instructional Materials
  • Promotional Materials
  • User Support Materials

Information on these categories and rules for all entries can be viewed here.

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The Society for Technical Communication (STC) is soliciting proposals for the editorship of Technical Communication for a three-year, renewable commitment. The first issue for the new editor will be January 2016, but the appointed editor should be available to work with the current editor in 2015. The new editor should be an accomplished scholar, a (preferably) tenured member of the faculty, and a senior member of STC who is conversant with and committed to its goals. A successful proposal must demonstrate both the prospective editor’s credentials and the host institution’s support for publishing the journal. The deadline for submission has been extended to 1 April 2015.

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Doc-To-Help, Microsoft Word-based Multi-Channel Authoring Tool Joins MadCap Software Award-Winning XML-based Suite for Content Creation, Translation, and Multi-Channel Publishing to Serve More Authors

La Jolla, CA – 7 January 2015 – MadCap Software, the leader in multi-channel content authoring and a showcase company for Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Visual Studio and Microsoft XPS, today announced the acquisition of Doc-To-Help from GrapeCity.

Doc-To-Help, which comes from the ComponentOne Division of GrapeCity, is the market’s leading Microsoft Word-based authoring tool for multi-channel publishing. It represents a strategic complement to the award-winning MadCap Suite of XML tools for creating, analyzing, translating, and publishing multimedia content across multiple channels. Together, the offerings enable MadCap to provide the industry a full spectrum of content authoring solutions, regardless of the user’s skillset, industry, or requirements. Additionally, Doc-To-Help customers now will be able to take advantage of the best-in-class support delivered by MadCap’s U.S.-based team of technical communication experts.

Under terms of the agreement, MadCap Software now owns all Doc-To-Help assets, including the Doc-To-Help product, related intellectual property, and customer contracts. As a strategic addition to the company, Doc-To-Help is moving to the MadCap Software headquarters in La Jolla, CA. [click to continue…]

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Discovering Columbus

by Marisa Seitz on 2 December 2014

Today’s blog post about the 2015 Summit location, Columbus, OH, comes to us from Liz Herman.

When STC announced the location of the 2015 Technical Communication Summit, there were mixed reactions. Columbus, Ohio. “What? Where?” people asked. I get it. I only discovered Columbus, Ohio when I traveled to the city for a job interview with Battelle last year. I was hired for the job and, although I am located in Battelle’s Arlington, Virginia office, I have spent a good amount of time traveling to Battelle’s Columbus-based headquarters over the past year. I can tell you that I have been pleasantly surprised by Columbus. I asked some Battelle colleagues working there to share what they find interesting and unique about Columbus.

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Publishing Perspectives: Editing

by Richard Hamilton on 26 November 2014

I knew I needed a break when I looked at a fortune cookie and the first thing I saw was a comma splice. Instead of reading the fortune, I immediately started looking for superstar word wielder Marcia Riefer Johnston to get a second opinion (we were both at Information Development World). Once my assessment was confirmed – she also said comma splice before making any other comment – I started thinking about editing and how to identify good editing.

Over the last month or so, we have been busy producing books in a new series. While the series has several editors, including Marcia, I have also done some editing.

Most of that editing consists of production editing, making minor wording changes to avoid bad line or page breaks in the print edition. We use an XML production process that does not let us do the kinds of detailed tweaking that a tool such as InDesign can do. We can’t squeeze in an extra line on just one page or adjust the letter spacing manually. Therefore, we sometimes need to reword after the copy edit is complete. [click to continue…]

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Member Get a Member – Master Post

by Marisa Seitz on 25 November 2014

Due to technical difficulties with the main STC website, we are posting information about the Member-Get-a-Member program here on the blog. See below for information on the program, as well as links to our Recruiter Toolkit.

Member Get a Member

Recruit a member and be entered to win!

Every time you recruit a new member, you strengthen STC. A vital and growing STC membership means greater recognition of technical communicators, improved educational and networking opportunities for members, and the advancement of the profession. Why not reach out and share the same valuable opportunities with your colleagues? We know that you understand the value of your STC membership and now is the perfect time to reach out to your professional contacts and recruit them to join STC.

 What’s In It for You?

You are the greatest testimony to the benefits of being an STC member. By recruiting others, you will:

  • Expand your network of TC professionals
  • Strengthen STC—A vital and growing membership means greater recognition of the TC profession, improved educational and networking opportunities for members, and the advancement of technical communication worldwide
  • Help others succeed in their careers
  • Receive recognition for your recruitment efforts
  • Be entered into a drawing for prizes

The Prizes

Every Classic, New TC Professional, *Gold and Student member you recruit during this time, you will be entered to win one of the following prizes:

Recruit 1-2 members and be entered to win:

  • One of two live webinar registrations to the 2015 event of your choice
  • One of two $25 Amazon Gift Cards

Recruit 3-4 members and be entered to win a:

  • Kindle Fire HD 7 e-reader

Recruit 5 or more members and be entered to win a:

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STC International Summit Awards 2015 Call for Judges

by Paula Robertson on 19 November 2014

Post image for STC International Summit Awards 2015 Call for Judges

Where can you get a professional development opportunity that is unlike any other and free of charge? From STC, of course! Volunteering your time and expertise to judge in the International Summit Awards gives you valuable experience that you just can’t get anywhere else. Past judges often comment on how rewarding the judging experience was for them, even as it stretched their abilities and introduced them to new ways of thinking about technical communication. But it’s not for everybody. If you think you have what it takes and are ready to take what it gives, I’m pleased to invite you to apply to be a judge.

As the Judge Manager for the 2015 STC International Summit Awards (ISA), I again anticipate what I consider a professional privilege—to work with STC colleagues around the globe, who volunteer their expertise as ISA judges and without whom the ISA competition would not be possible.

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Letter from the UK: Locali(s/z)ing for English

by Ellis Pratt on 17 November 2014

There was a lively discussion recently in LinkedIn’s Documentation and Technical Writing Management group over whether to use English, American English, or a hybrid that would satisfy everyone.

In making such a decision, it’s important to be aware of the differences between English and American English that:

  • Could affect the user’s performance
  • Might annoy a non-American audience
  • Aren’t worth worrying about

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World Usability DayWhen we are determined to do something (such as learn to swing dance, play the guitar, or earn a degree), we will overcome obstacles and challenges to achieve our goal. Persistent setbacks might discourage us, maybe slow us down, but we won’t give up because we are determined to succeed. We rely on instructors and mentors to teach us these skills, and our motivation helps us to press on. We know that the reward for our efforts is the ability to swing dance, play the guitar, or earn a degree, and we are proud of our accomplishment.

When we use a website (for example, to register for a car loan, book travel reservations, or purchase an item) that has confusing navigation and complex design, we do not exert the same determination to overcome obstacles and challenges because it is easier to bail out and try our luck with another website.  Although the vendor offers what we want, there are plenty of competitors that offer the same product at a better price. Suddenly, usability is critical to user satisfaction and profitability. [click to continue…]

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Technical Communication JournalSTC’s Technical Communication Journal is looking for a new Editor-in-Chief. Read the Request for Proposals below, and be sure to submit by 15 January 2015.

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