Today we bring you another look “Inside the Board,” from members of the STC Board of Directors on various topics of interest. Today, Immediate Past President Mark Clifford discusses the Technical Communication Body of Knowledge and how you can contribute. Note: The thoughts expressed in this post are not the official opinion of the Society for Technical Communication or its Board of Directors, but rather only of the individual.

‘Tis the Season to be Giving …

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… and right now that means a little of your time and a lot of your knowledge, for the good of everyone in STC and our profession! Why do we need your contribution? Well, it’s for our Technical Communication Body of Knowledge (TCBoK), a Wiki-based repository for the collected knowledge and wisdom by and for technical communicators everywhere. The TCBoK project, and the knowledge it contains, will represent our profession to the world. It will define the values and benefits that we can bring to our employers, our companies, and the world at large.  The knowledge it contains will be the foundation on which we build and present our profession in the future. The foundation needs to be deep and strong. To lay that foundation, on which we can truly elevate our profession, will need contributions from many people.  And that includes you.  For those of you who have not participated in the TCBoK process, you have the opportunity to help evolve our TCBoK to the critical-mass level that will make it a viable entity. Whatever your level of technical communication experience, each of us has something to offer and there is something that you can contribute. Whether you’re a first-year student, a 30-year professional, or a renowned specialist in your field, there’s a way for you to contribute. The TCBoK is also a gift that gives back. Like any other social or professional activity, participation in the TCBoK affords you an opportunity to meet and work with colleagues throughout the world.  It is a means of expanding your professional network, and of both teaching and learning nuances about your “flavours of interest” within the umbrella of technical communication-related professions. Participation in building our TCBoK offers something more—something that is perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity—the opportunity to be a part of the ground-floor development of what will become the de-facto industry reference standard for technical communication. And when it is completed, you can stand back and say, “I helped build that.”  It could look good on your résumé too.  Individually, collaboratively, as a class, or community, there is something that you can do to help build the TCBoK. Our TCBoK should cover every aspect of our profession at some level, so there’s something for everybody to contribute. We need help creating content in your respective areas of expertise, providing link recommendations for other content, or even tagging content for more robust search. The first step on that process is to see what’s there. Take a look at the Wiki, study the site map to decide where you can make your contribution, and then click on “Volunteer.” Tell us which areas you wish to contribute to and we’ll sign you up! Or email us directly at Volunteer4BoK@stc.org to volunteer. So, in this season of goodwill, give a little gift—one that will benefit everyone in our profession for years to come—a little of your time and knowledge.
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