63.1, February 2016

Books Reviewed in This Issue

Conquering the Content: A Blueprint for Online Course Design and Development

by Robin M. Smith

Type Rules! The Designer’s Guide to Professional Typography

by Ilene Strizver

Managing Chaos: Digital Governance by Design

by Lisa Welchman

Developing Quality Technical Information: A Handbook for Writers and Editors

by Michelle Carey et al.

Guide to Research Projects for Engineering Students: Planning, Writing, and Presenting

by Eng-Choon Leong, Carmel Lee-Hsia Heah, and Kenneth Keng Wee Ong

Get to the Point: Trimming Unnecessary Words (Beyond the Style Manual Book 2)

by Stefanie Spangler Buswell

How to Write Brilliant Business Blogs: The No-bullsh*t Guide to Writing Blogs that Boost Your Brand, Business and Customer Loyalty

by Suzan St Maur

Ethical Issues in Science Communication: A Theory Based Approach (Proceedings of the Iowa State University Summer Symposia on Science Communication)

by Jean Goodwin, Michael F. Dahlstrom, and Susanna Priest, eds.

Sharing Our Intellectual Traces: Narrative Reflections from Administrators of Professional, Technical, and Scientific Communication Programs

by Tracy Bridgeford, Karla Saari Kitalong, and Bill Williamson, eds.

MadCap Flare V11 Developer’s Guide: Learn How to Use Flare like a Pro and Prepare to be Certified MAD for Flare

by Scott DeLoach

The Book In A Box Method: The New Way to Quickly and Easily Write Your Book (Even If You’re Not A Writer)

by Max Tucker and Zach Obront

Technical Writing Process: The Simple, Five-Step Guide that Anyone Can Use to Create Technical Documents such as User Guides, Manuals, and Procedures

by Kieran Morgan

The Sceptical Optimist: Why Technology Isn’t the Answer to Everything

by Nicholas Agar

How to Write Perfect Press Releases: Grow Your Business with Free Media Coverage

by Steven Lewis

Author Experience: Bridging the Gap between People and Technology in Content Management

by Rick Yagodich

The Principles of Beautiful Web Design

by Jason Beaird and James George

Enterprise Content Strategy: A Project Guide

by Kevin P. Nichols

A Companion to Translation Studies

by Sandra Bermann and Catherine Porter, eds.

WordPress for Dummies

by Lisa Sabin-Wilson

The Presentation Lab: Learn the Formula behind Powerful Presentations

by Simon Morton

Language, Cognition, and Human Nature: Selected Articles

by Steven Pinker

Medical Monopoly: Intellectual Property and the Origins of the Modern Pharmaceutical Industry

by Joseph M. Gabriel

Business Matters: A Freelancer’s Guide to Business Success in Any Economy

by Elizabeth Frick

The 27 Challenges Managers Face: Step-by-Step Solutions to (Nearly) All of Your Management Problems

by Bruce Tulgan

Introducing Language in Use: A Coursebook

by Andrew John Merrison, Aileen Bloomer, Patrick Griffiths, and Christopher J. Hall

Twentieth Century Type and Beyond

by Lewis Blackwell

The Evolution of Type: A Graphic Guide to 100 Landmark Typefaces Examining Letters from Metal Type to Open Type

by Tony Seddon

New Information and Communication Technologies for Knowledge Management in Organizations

by Daniel Palacios-Marqués, Domingo Ribeiro Soriano,
and Kun-Huang Huarng, eds.

Conquering the Content: A Blueprint for Online Course Design and Development

Robin M. Smith. 2014. 2nd ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. [ISBN 978-1-118-71708-0. 194 pages, including index. US $30.55 (softcover).]

Smith_Conquering_2014 Everyone knows they’re different. The question is, how different? And in what ways? And what are the effects of those differences on the audience? And what can we learn from those differences—for our own work?

Smith raises these questions in Conquering the Content: A Blueprint for Online Course Design and Development, as she compares face-to-face teaching with online teaching (OLT) and how one can morph slowly into the other. She also teases out implications of OLT for textbooks. So whether we’re involved in teaching, writing textbooks, or both, there are things to be learned.

There usually lurk a few big questions beneath the surface of every book. There are three questions in Smith’s book: How does OLT differ from lecturing? What can we learn from OLT for the textbooks we write? What can the audience get from us that they can’t get from other sources (a book, an article, another teacher, or our books)? She sprinkles her answers throughout the book.

Replies to the first two big questions are often more a matter of degree. OLT (a) allows more ways of presenting the material, especially more multimedia and visuals; (b) requires more feedback along the way; (c) has shorter segments and a greater need for chunking; (d) has a need for stronger transitions; (e) has more student-student interaction and activities; (f) has a greater dependence on links to written sources; and, finally, (g) has repeatability: provisions for repeating and reviewing material without the need to sift through the whole presentation.

Big question 3 is provocative, introspective, and worth thinking about. Our unique contributions include verbalizing our thinking process for students—how we process information, organize things, solve problems in special ways, incorporate relevant personal experiences, and use certain tricks for remembering things.

Other smaller, but no-less-important, topics include discussions on what are the best media for presenting different kinds of information between audio (live lecture, a recording, and music), video (still or motion), and print.

Smith also stresses the importance of navigation tools and the need to keep your navigating system consistent so that learners don’t have to spend their time navigating. One aid is what she calls Content Maps: a diagram at the beginning of each major section that connects the topic to the rest of the course or the book.

As a means of enhancing the relationship between teacher and student, Smith includes her email address in the book. This seems to me an excellent idea, though you might want to use a separate dedicated address for such things. Another useful element is leaving a blank page at the end of major sections with a few at the end of the book for taking notes.

Conquering the Content makes for good reading with lots of useful information.

Steven Darian
Steven Darian is an STC Fellow, having retired from teaching business and technical writing at Rutgers for 33 years and in eight countries. He was a manager for Raytheon in Saudi Arabia. Steven’s next book is “Tools of the Trade: Technique in Nonfiction, 2015.”

Type Rules! The Designer’s Guide to Professional Typography

Ilene Strizver. 2013. 4th ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. [ISBN 978-1-118-45405-3. 308 pages, including index. US$55.00 (softcover).]

Strizver_Type_2014 Type Rules! The Designer’s Guide to Professional Typography is an excellent introduction for using type to create professional-looking documents. It is practical without being academic or pedantic for graphic designers as well as technical communicators. Strizver’s conversational writing style makes learning about type and its nuances appealing.

The first chapter, “A Brief History of Type,” shows examples of historic type designers so we can immediately relate them to currently used types. The exercises at the end of this chapter and all the chapters are created by many people, adding to the book’s breadth and depth. The steps are carefully explained and several examples of solutions to each exercise are shown. Many exercises are to be done in InDesign, Illustrator, and other packages other than Word, yet readers can adapt them and still find them useful.

Discussing font technology in the second chapter, “From Metal to Mac: Understanding Font Technology,” clarifies font formats and management utilities. Arranging it first is more intuitive than arranging it later as added technical information.

The beauty of chapters three and four, “What Makes a Typeface Look the Way It Does?” and “Selecting the Right Type for the Job,” respectively, is the number of examples of good and bad use of type for text. There are also examples in stunning, full-color graphic design posters and announcements. Strizver thoughtfully constructs the pages so examples are in the same eye-view of the text.

Once you are comfortable with basics, you can move to chapters five through ten to learn ways to make type readable. “Formatting Your Type” covers line length and spacing, alignment, and paragraph separators. “Typographic Hierarchy and Emphasis” shows just that. “Fine-Tuning and Tweaking Your Type” shows punctuation, visual alignment, and rags. Chapter 8 is “Spacing Considerations.” “Finessing Your Type” shows special characters, such as small caps and initial caps, and ends with special characters. Chapter 10 is “Figures, Fractions, Signs, Symbols, and Dingbats.” Having these in separate chapters is good for reference.

Chapter 11, “Type of the Web (and Other Digital Formats),” has extensive examples and exercises. Chapter 12, “Type in Motion,” moves into how to animate type, a logical digital type extension.

Finally, Strizver explains in “Designing Your Own Typeface” where to begin in this complex process.

Throughout Type Rules! she includes Tips and “Do’s and Don’ts” that are extremely useful and likely to be bookmarked. The appendices, glossary, and index are valuable and complete. Wiley includes online videos that you can access via an access code included in the book. My only criticism is the publisher’s choice of heavy, clay-based paper that occasionally makes it awkward to hold open comfortably.

Strizver transmits the joy of using type through her text and examples. For those new to the technical aspects of type, she makes it less intimidating and just plain fun.

Beth Lisberg Najberg
Beth Lisberg Najberg has more than 25 years’ experience as an information and instructional design consultant, documenting systems, developing custom training solutions, and creating technical presentations for large corporations and public entities. She is principal of Beginnings (www.Beginnings-Design.com), an information design consulting firm.

Managing Chaos: Digital Governance by Design

Lisa Welchman. 2015. Brooklyn, NY: Rosenfeld Media. [ISBN 978-1-933820-88-0. 232 pages, including index. US$39.00 (softcover).]

Welchman_Managing_2015 Organizations, both for-profit and not-for-profit, are finding themselves inundated with data about the organization, product or service, and customers. They face the problem of the public perception of themselves via Web pages. But, with so much data and so many people claiming responsibility for developing those data on the Web, chaos is a more likely occurrence. That is where Welchman’s Managing Chaos: Digital Governance by Design becomes important.

She offers suggestions on how to get those data under control through a digital governance plan that will produce the best public image on the Web for the organization. As she says, “Digital governance is a framework for establishing accountability, roles, and decision-making authority for an organization’s digital presence” (p. 11). But, how is that done? It sounds relatively simple but is actually far from simple, if for no other reason than competing interests. Is the IT department to establish content or marketing or communications or any of several other departments? Can and, more importantly, how should they all work together?

The governance plan Welchman advocates involves three areas: a digital strategy, a digital policy, and digital standards. The first seven of the eleven chapters describe strategies and methods for achieving the plan. The remaining three chapters are anonymous case studies from three areas: business, government, and higher education. In those early chapters, she provides helpful hints such as how to integrate the players in developing this plan.

But there is more to developing the plan than deciding who will determine content. For example, Welchman addresses the political implications in the organization. In her discussion of the digital design framework, the first item is to identify a sponsor and advocate within the organization. Once getting buy-in at that level, you can move forward to identifying members of the design team, start the design effort, and implement the framework that will become the foundation of the digital operations, all of which depend on the organization’s digital standards.

Each chapter has easy-to-apply tables to help you develop the plan, Do’s and Don’ts, and a comment from someone working in the area. A summary concludes each chapter.

The Case Study section is interesting because there Welchman focuses on a business (Chapter 9), a government agency (Chapter 10), and a higher education institution (Chapter 11). A Coda completes the text.

As I was reading the book, I kept one question in mind: How easy, really, would it be to follow her plan? I thought about situations where I have been involved in developing a Web presence and the often-contentious meetings that would have been more productive if we had had such a governance plan. Welchman succeeds in her suggestions because they can apply to any of the three areas: business, government, and education.

In sum, if you find yourself in a situation where there is digital chaos, then Managing Chaos can prove valuable to you.

Tom Warren
Tom Warren is an STC Fellow, Jay R. Gould Award for Excellence recipient, and professor emeritus of English (technical writing) at Oklahoma State University, where he established the BA, MA, and PhD technical writing programs. Past president of INTECOM, he serves as guest professor at the University of Paderborn, Germany.

Developing Quality Technical Information: A Handbook for Writers and Editors

Michelle Carey, Moira McFadden Lanyi, Deirdre Longo, Eric Radzinski, Shannon Rouiller, and Elizabeth Wilde. 2014. 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: IBM Press. [ISBN 978-0-13-311897-1. 588 pages, including index. US$49.99 (softcover).]

Carey_Developing_2014 If you are a writer, editor, or information architect looking for help to improve the quality of the information you develop, consider reading the third edition of Developing Quality Technical Information: A Handbook for Writers and Editors. It is organized “to show you how to apply quality characteristics that make technical information, including information embedded in user interfaces, easy to use, easy to understand, and easy to find” (p. xvii). After an introduction, “easy to use,” “easy to understand,” and “easy to find” are in fact the titles for the book’s three main parts. Each part is further divided into individual chapters. A chapter takes a topic, for example, visual effectiveness (chapter 11), which the authors explain (“a measure of how the appearance of information and the visual elements within it affect how easily users can use, understand, and find the information they need”) and then offer several guidelines on what to do to make information visually effective (Apply visual design practices to textual elements/Use graphics that are meaningful and appropriate/Apply a consistent visual style/and others).

Each chapter ends with a checklist that can be used in two ways: (a) as a reminder of what to look for to ensure a thorough review, and (b) as an evaluation tool to determine the quality of the information. The appendix contains another kind of “master” checklist, which you can use to pull together ratings made from the chapter checklists to ultimately get “an overall picture of the strengths and weaknesses of the information and make a plan for working on the weaknesses” (p. 545). It is no surprise that it is going to take more time to fill out the checklists; this is clearly no small project. When not worrying about the checklists, I still found the book to include timely technical communication topics that I’d like to learn more about, such as design tips for creating videos. The book also has excellent examples, mostly from software, that are in original/revision format (or sometimes include multiple revisions).

I was happy to see on the IBM Press Web site for Developing Quality Technical Information that IBM encourages readers to submit to errata. But then I was disappointed to not find any link to download the actual errata. I also noticed on the Web site that the eBook bundle from IBM Press, which includes the IBM Style Guide, DITA Best Practices, and “exclusive video walkthroughs help you maximize the value and effectiveness of your technical communications” does not include this third, and most current, edition of Developing Quality Technical Information.

David Kowalsky
David Kowalsky is a senior technical writer for F5 Networks. He received his MA in East Asian studies from Washington University (St. Louis) and a certificate of technical writing and editing from the University of Washington. David is an STC Senior Member of the Puget Sound Chapter.

Guide to Research Projects for Engineering Students: Planning, Writing, and Presenting

Eng-Choon Leong, Carmel Lee-Hsia Heah, and Kenneth Keng Wee Ong. 2016. Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis Group. [ISBN 978-1-4822-3877-8. 300 pages, including index. US$39.95 (softcover)].

Leong_Guide_2015 Guide to Research Projects for Engineering Students: Planning, Writing, and Presenting works well as a supplemental text for capstone courses where engineering and science students are expected to complete a research project and write empirical research reports. Even if these students have taken a technical writing class, this book reinforces project management, writing, and presentation skills that are used in the workplace.

Divided into three sections on planning, writing, and presentation, students will encounter short, easy-to-read chapters on every phase of a research project, such as choosing a topic, planning a project, researching, conducting experiments and collecting data, writing reports, editing and proofreading (including one chapter on grammar), and creating and delivering a professional presentation. One helpful aspect of the book is how the examples are geared toward engineering and science students. For instance, the grammar section is deliberately populated with examples that engineering and science students would encounter in their classes or projects, like the list of irregular nouns and their spellings (algae and alga, antenna and antennae, and nucleus and nuclei).

One distinguishing factor of Guide to Research Projects for Engineering Students from other similar texts is how technology is seamlessly integrated into appropriate chapters. For instance, the authors provide screen shots and directions on how to create a Gantt chart in Microsoft Excel and how to generate a list of tables and figures as well as how to write equations in Microsoft Word. If students are using Microsoft Office, and many schools still do, then they will benefit from these directions; however, the instructions are written for personal computers, not Macintoshes, which limits the applicability of this particular aspect of the book. And while the authors do a good job of including screen shots of the toolbars for various versions of Microsoft Word (e.g., to complete tasks such as writing equations), this feature of the book could easily date the content and its usability, thus making it obsolete if newer versions of Microsoft Office or other operating systems or programs become more mainstream. Further, with the focus on technology throughout the book, it is not clear, then, why there is an appendix of common, hard copy editing symbols.

The benefits of using Guide to Research Projects for Engineering Students as a supplemental text in engineering and science courses is that it is comprehensive and covers every aspect of a research project. Students will also appreciate the concise chapters and easy-to-read text. And even if students do not use Microsoft Office, they will still benefit from the other well-written and informative content.

Diane Martinez
Diane Martinez is an assistant professor of professional and technical communication at Western Carolina University. She previously worked as a technical writer in engineering, an online writing instructor, and an online writing center specialist. She has been with STC since 2005.

Get to the Point: Trimming Unnecessary Words (Beyond the Style Manual Book 2)

Stefanie Spangler Buswell. 2014. Garner, NC: Red Adept Publishing, LLC. [ASIN B00MSUD45S. 102 pages. US$4.99 (e-book).]

Buswell_Get_2014 In 102 brisk pages, Get to the Point: Trimming Unnecessary Words accomplishes exactly what it asks of its readers, providing a wealth of useful tips for tightening one’s prose. Author Stefanie Spangler Buswell sticks to her own formula, exemplifying the advice proffered on the introduction’s opening page: “A short, terrific piece that tells your story can be better than a long, bloated ‘masterpiece’ no one will ever be brave enough to tackle” (p. 5). Tolstoy might be grumbling in the great beyond, but the principles Buswell sets forth will benefit writers and editors of all experience levels.

Get to the Point‘s best advice resides in Chapter 1. Some seem obvious: “ATM” rather than “ATM machine” (p. 19). Others are simple but offer sharp insight: “Her blue eyes were full of fire” instead of the wordy “Her eyes were blue and full of fire” (p. 10). With these and other examples, Buswell demonstrates how redundancy and wordiness can “weigh down” otherwise good writing (p. 9).

Chapter 5 instructs the reader in how to show rather than tell, a skill useful for writers of fiction and journalism. As Buswell notes, a writer need not explicitly state that a man is angry if his description incorporates clues like a red face and shouting (pp. 56–57). Such information is crucial, and by showing rather than telling it, a writer immerses the reader into the story.

Get to the Point‘s greatest strength is that it offers practical, useful information in specific terms. Besides the long list of redundant phrases included in Chapter 1, Buswell provides specific examples of clunky writing throughout the text. In Chapter 2, she advises against starting a sentence with an indirect construction like “there was.” Chapter 6 includes a reminder to consider the reader’s experience and knowledge. Some concepts, Buswell argues, will be familiar to most readers and thus won’t warrant extensive explanation—especially if the details aren’t relevant to the narrative. Chapter 7 warns against unnecessarily long descriptions of food and combat. Buswell also covers helpful topics that are familiar to seasoned writers, such as passive voice, head-hopping, and Chekhov’s gun.

Most helpful is the quiz that follows the final chapter. In prompting the reader to fix 15 dud sentences, Buswell invites her audience into the work and concludes the book in an enjoyably interactive way. Throughout Get to the Point, Buswell presents her points in a snappy, no-nonsense style. The clean layout of the examples and quiz questions complement the lively pace to create an engaging read.

Michael A. Cummings
Michael A. Cummings is a graduate student in technical writing at the University of Alabama-Huntsville. In his day job, he writes about European and international soccer for a major online sports media company.

How to Write Brilliant Business Blogs: The No-bullsh*t Guide to Writing Blogs that Boost Your Brand, Business and Customer Loyalty

Suzan St Maur. 2014. HLS Publishing Solutions. [ISBN 978-1-5003-04061-8. 276 pages. US$22.50 (e-book).]

StMaur_How_2014 Suzan St Maur matter-of-factly eliminates the guesswork and angst that can go hand in hand with starting and sustaining a blog. Although her focus is on business blogging, this practical how-to applies to personal and creative blogging as well. She astutely anticipates the questions you’ve always had about blog frequency, topic selection and content, key word searches, writing style, and much more. While more than sufficient as a stand-alone book on brilliant business blogging, St Maur liberally provides references to additional resources.

Those tasked with writing blogs about their companies or products will find quick relief in the guidance that St Maur provides. She emphasizes early the need to discard the subject matter expert style of writing with complex terminology and tacit knowledge assumptions to something more conversational and relevant to the readers with full knowledge transparency. She doesn’t merely tell you to do that. She shows you. She leads you through a series of questions and exercises that can help you pinpoint the exact voice that you need for your blog.

Once St Maur has helped you establish your voice, she leaves the rest up to you. The remainder of How to Write Brilliant Business Blogs is an A to Z list of topics that you can select based on your own blogging needs. For example, are you starting from zero? St Maur has that section covered. Go to the Z section for “Zero, Starting from.” Are you already blogging for your business but unsure of how to promote your efforts? Go to P for “Promoting your Blog Posts.” For those wanting to get the most out of St Maur’s book, keep reading sequentially when she gets to her A to Z list. Although no list can be exhaustive, readers will take away a multitude of ideas. Would-be book authors will learn how to turn their blogs into books. Those still steaming from that morning’s road rage incident will discover how to approach a rant blog. Best of all, all bloggers will benefit from St Maur’s advice about maintaining their own personality in their writing, which St Maur exemplifies herself.

Don’t let the book’s size (276 pages) discourage you. This is a fast, easy read with St Maur’s no-nonsense voice and sense of humor coming through loud and clear. You will be picking up applicable tips from the very first pages.

Liz Herman
Liz Herman, PhD, is a knowledge management practitioner who is certified in project management and technical communication. She is a senior member of STC and is active in STC’s Washington DC Chapter. She currently works for Battelle in its Health and Analytics business unit.

Ethical Issues in Science Communication: A Theory Based Approach (Proceedings of the Iowa State University Summer Symposia on Science Communication)

Jean Goodwin, Michael F. Dahlstrom, and Susanna Priest, eds. 2013. Seattle, WA: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. [ISBN 978-1-4904-4881-0. 372 pages. US$13.28 (softcover).]

Goodwin_Ethical_2013 Ethical Issues in Science Communication: A Theory Based Approach encompasses papers selected from Iowa State University’s Third Summer Symposium on Science Communication. Its content will resonate among technical communication scholars and teachers and those technical communication practitioners wrangling with weighty ethical implications of their writing that result from science-based discourse.

As Goodwin, Dahlstrom, and Priest point out in their introduction, symposium participants were asked to contribute to the following research areas: underlying goals of science communication, including why communication is necessary; ethical issues around self-promotion or political issues; ethical issues around the ways scientific communication is improved or made more effective; science communication changes and impacts for new communication channels like blogs; ethical issues in communicating science content accurately and to a lay audience; public perception problems related to engagement; and approaches to teaching ethics related to science communication.

The sheer information technical communicators can glean from these proceedings is helpful in many ways. First, the breadth and depth of the research topics ensure a high level of relevance to ongoing scholarly research and to actual on-the-ground or in-the-conference-room issues. That is, something will resonate with the technical communicator whether it is the health communications writer reading about “The Discursive Construction of Risk in Medicine and Health Media” by Carolina Fernandez Branson or the Ph.D. candidate identifying additional resources through the extensive list of references accompanying each paper—see “The Two-Dimensional Values Gap in the GMOf Controversy” by Daniel Hicks. Second, the authors’ email addresses are available for further follow-up and dialogue around these pressing subjects. Although not tested by this reviewer, it is assumed that these researchers would welcome inquiries to discuss their research. Third, comprehensive visual images accompany several articles promoting understanding and supplementing text-based content.

While not intended for the casual reader, technical communicators interested in thinking rhetorically about their role in science-based communication will find the dialogue about ethics, technology, policy, and user engagement highly thought-provoking. Some will even find frameworks and models to apply to suit their particular research interests.

Liz Herman
Liz Herman, PhD, is a knowledge management practitioner who is certified in project management and technical communication. She is a senior member of STC, active in STC’s Washington DC Chapter, and an Iowa State alumna. Liz currently works for Battelle in its Health and Analytics business unit.

Sharing Our Intellectual Traces: Narrative Reflections from Administrators of Professional, Technical, and Scientific Communication Programs

Tracy Bridgeford, Karla Saari Kitalong, and Bill Williamson, eds. 2014. Amityville, NY: Baywood Publishing. [ISBN 978-0-89503-870-8. 236 pages, including index. US$46.95 (softcover).]

Brigdeford_Sharing While scholarly literature covers administration of university writing programs, this research often focuses on composition programs that are several times larger than the most robust technical communication program. This book widens the intellectual conversation by collecting narratives from a wide range of scholars and programs. Sharing Our Intellectual Traces: Narrative Reflections from Administrators of Professional, Technical, and Scientific Communication Programs presents issues unique to running a writing program focused on science, technical, or professional writing that can help us make sense of the work that we do.

Some chapters offer case studies of program development, assessment, dealings with and within university administrative hierarchies, or the nitty-gritty experiences ubiquitous in academe. Topics range from the expected (purchasing computers and software) to surprising (study abroad). If nothing else, these chapters offer sympathetic narratives that speak to the writing director: You are not alone.

The Council of Writing Program Administrators (CWPA), “the” professional organization for writing directors, has invested significant time developing their outcomes statement, a document that essentially outlines the standards for teaching first-year college writing. One chapter discusses the difficulties that arise when technical communicators “categorize, interpret, and explain our work from a standpoint of first-year composition” (p. 53). The authors present an argument for why a TC-WPA statement is needed and then describe the methods they use in creating the outcomes. A detailed outcomes statement follows that emphasizes technology, production, and techne. The authors largely agree that the broad outcomes for writing have the same base values even though they set out to separate from and establish different concerns than the world of first-year writing.

Another chapter, “Expertise in Professional Communication as a Catalyst of WAC/WID Administration Success,” describes efforts at the University of Central Florida to use professional writing experiences in developing a robust Writing Across the Curriculum/Writing in the Disciplines (WAC/WID) program. Yet another chapter presents two “Clinical Moments” examples: the first about commingling of various roles (researcher, administrator, teacher), and the second about service learning.

Sharing Our Intellectual Traces also contains an engaging chapter, “Leaders Becoming Transformed,” that classifies leaders into transactional (“getting the job done”) or transformational (“transforming others into leaders to get the job done”) (p. 99). Morgan defines leadership styles and argues for a leadership style that calls on prosocial power rather than personal power. After a brief case study, the chapter presents a few examples on enabling these leadership skills, yet the examples could be more detailed or instructional. In fact, many chapters are short, and while the case studies are fully developed, some readers might be wanting for a more didactic approach.

The book focuses more on technical writing than professional writing, while science writing gets cursory treatment throughout. Still, this is a much-needed book that “provide[s] a framework for understanding and addressing” the “common themes” (p. vii) experienced by writing program administrators who work in these fields.

Kelly A. Harrison
Kelly A. Harrison, MFA, works as a consultant, speaker, and writing instructor in San José, CA. For over 20 years, she has written print and online content for various high-tech computer companies. Currently, Kelly teaches writing at San José State University and Stanford University.

MadCap Flare V11 Developer’s Guide: Learn How to Use Flare like a Pro and Prepare to be Certified MAD for Flare

Scott DeLoach. 2015. ClickStart, Inc. [ISBN 978-0-578-16074-9. 432 pages, including index. US$32.00 (softcover).]

DeLoach_MadCap_2015 DeLoach’s MadCap Flare V11 Developer’s Guide: Learn How to Use Flare Like a Pro and Prepare to be Certified MAD for Flare is a fantastic user manual for those wanting to learn and master MadCap Flare. MadCap Flare, a leading edge, single-source publishing software, creates polished documents that are ready to publish on multiple platforms if used to its full capabilities. DeLoach streamlines the creation process, allowing for a task-based experience.

This book serves as a sound reference volume for the casual or professional user, although it was written as a Mad certification supplement for the MadCap Flare training class. Aside from the “What’s new in Flare 11” section, a great table that lists eighteen of the major additions to the manual in response to users’ requests, there are over 200 new topics included in this manual to enhance software usability. Besides the table, new additions are also flagged for easy location both in the table of contents and the text. A few new additions include “Inserting a YouTube or Vimeo video,” “Quick Launch Bar”, “Pinning Projects” in the Flare Customization section, and “Binding a Project to Source Control.”

Some helpful features of MadCap Flare V11 Developer’s Guide are the “Converting from Doc-to-Help,” “Converting from RoboHelp,” and “Converting from FrameMaker” sections. These three sections include guidance for when information appears to be dropped or moved. Some personal favorites are the “Top ten . . . ‘gotchas’” subsections included for both RoboHelp and FrameMaker. These sections explain how MadCap Flare is similar enough to RoboHelp or FrameMaker to be troublesome and gives helpful guidance by identifying the top ten trouble spots so users can better navigate within the software when converting files from other programs. DeLoach also answers the “What happens to my . . . ?” questions that are unique to Doc-to-Help, RoboHelp, and FrameMaker conversions with clear, helpful tables.

The book thoroughly explains how to import documents or files originally created in different formats as well as transferring documents from one Flare project to another. At the head of each section, such as “Importing DITA documents” or “Importing HTML and XHTML files,” DeLoach includes a highlighted text box with keyboard shortcuts, where to find the task in the Tool Strip, and where to find the task in the Ribbon. All shortcut information is also located in the Appendices for quick access.

DeLoach’s MadCap Flare V11 Developer’s Guide is a helpful, clear manual for any writer who wants to create effective, beautiful, and single source documents using MadCap Flare. By listening to his readers, DeLoach has added content that will only enhance the user’s experience with the software. This is a book worth adding to any MadCap Flare user’s bookshelf.

Laura McVay
Laura S. McVay is an English and technical communication graduate student at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. She is currently working as the technical writer and editor for a local scientist’s book on professional development.

The Book In A Box Method: The New Way to Quickly and Easily Write Your Book (Even If You’re Not A Writer)

Max Tucker and Zach Obront. 2015. Lioncrest Publishing. [ISBN 978-1-61961-346-8. 130 pages. US$9.99 (softcover).]

Tucker_Book There are dozens of “how to write” guides available to the public; just walk into any bookstore in the country to confirm this. However, most of these fall into the self-help or “how to find your muse” categories. So if you are looking for a book about which quaint wooden cabin to isolate yourself in while you bang away at your keyboard, The Book in a Box Method: The New Way to Quickly and Easily Write Your Book (Even If You’re Not A Writer) is probably not what you’re looking for. But if you’re looking for a practical book for writing methods, well, that’s another story entirely.

The Book in a Box Method provides a unique alternative to traditional authorial practices. While most people would tell you to simply start writing, be it an outline or a rough draft, the authors recommend that absolutely no actual writing be done until the very end of the book writing process. At first blush, this method seems paradoxical. How can you possibly write a book without writing? Quite easily, as it turns out. This book accomplishes this seemingly impossible task by teaching the author-to-be how to organize his or her potential book and then to dictate the content.

The first steps in this process involve determining why you want to create a book, who you want to create it for, and how you want your book to be structured. Once the structure is in place, the authors walk you through the process of dictating and translating your manuscript. That’s not to say that the process outlined in this book is completely effortless; the process outlined in The Book in a Box Method does require several hours of introspection, interviewing, and revision.

There is no contesting the fact that writing is a difficult skill that most people simply don’t have the time to master. The Book in a Box Method provides a way for those who are not authorially inclined to produce a book in a timely manner. If you’re looking to write a book, for whatever reason, but don’t want to spend hours stressing out over a blank page, The Book in a Box Method is definitely worth a look.

Emily Czerniewski
Emily Czerniewski is an undergraduate student in mechanical engineering at the University of Alabama-Huntsville with a focus in technical communication.

Technical Writing Process: The Simple, Five-Step Guide that Anyone Can Use to Create Technical Documents such as User Guides, Manuals, and Procedures

Kieran Morgan. 2015. St Leonards, Australia: Technical Writing Process. [ISBN 978-0-9941693-1-0. 248 pages, including index. US$24.95 (softcover).]

Morgan_Technical_2015 Should technical writing manuals be limited to writing and writers? Kieran Morgan doesn’t think so. In a genre dominated by primers to the field, Technical Writing Process: The Simple, Five-Step Guide that Anyone Can Use to Create Technical Documents such as User Guides, Manuals, and Procedures stands out from other manuals by offering a five-step framework for content creation and management. Morgan offers a useful guide for users of all backgrounds and skill levels by focusing on the project management aspect of technical communication.

As a veteran of the technical communication industry, Morgan understands there is “no such thing as a hard line when it comes to what technical writers do” (p. 21); however, writers can benefit from a process-based approach to writing. “As with any other business and engineering endeavor,” Morgan says, “technical writing is a definable, repeatable, predictable process. It can be planned, scheduled, and executed in a manner that leads to predictable outcomes, quality, and timing” (p. 10). Implementing a predictable process is not only beneficial for projects and project managers but also for defining and exemplifying the importance of technical communicators in the workforce.

Morgan’s methodology for project management makes up the manual’s five-step approach: planning, structuring, writing, reviewing, and publishing. Technical Writing Process addresses common concerns in each step, such as briefings, team relationship building, establishing document control, and design techniques and tools. Case studies, graphic representations, offset definitions, and topical callouts provide insights for Morgan’s concise prose.

The methodology of Technical Writing Process builds thoughtfully and cohesively through the chapters. In fact, the chapter titles and headings alone could be used as a helpful roadmap out of nebulous projects. Morgan’s methodological implementation through project creation ends with an appendix of status-checking templates. This practical end to Technical Writing Process includes matrices, checklists, and worksheets that can be used with the five-step process. The templates can also be downloaded for a fee at http://www.technicalwritingprocess.com.

Morgan’s focus on linear, process-based documentation may seem like a contradiction for technical communicators who regularly reschedule and remake documents for changing objectives and deadlines. However, Morgan acknowledges that the process is meant to be modified to suit teams and projects, and this emphasis on compromise and flexibility is reassuringly repeated throughout the manual.

Morgan is right to look at aspiring technical communicators with fresh eyes. Unlike other manuals, Technical Writing Process is accessible to all users. By eschewing the typical broad industry introduction used by many technical writing manuals, Morgan’s process is accessible to aspiring writers of all backgrounds. Jumping immediately into planning, structuring, writing, reviewing, and publishing, Technical Writing Process can get your very first or one-hundred-and-first project on track.

Molly Kitts
Molly Kitts is a graduate student at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Formerly a writing tutor for students from elementary to graduate school, she is now a freelance consultant, specializing in Web content writing.

The Sceptical Optimist: Why Technology Isn’t the Answer to Everything

Nicholas Agar. 2015. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. [ISBN 978-0-19-871705-8. 206 pages, including index. US$29.95 US (hardcover).]

Agar_Sceptical_2015 Most of us deal so much in technology every day that we are almost like fish in water—technology being the water that we swim in but fail to notice. Australian philosopher Nicholas Agar attempts to examine the underlying beliefs about that technology: “This book is concerned primarily to reject exaggerated claims about the value of technological progress” (p. 84).

This rejection is not based on an attempt to return to some kind of pre-technological state. As he puts it, “The Luddites are wrong. But so are the radical optimists” (p. 167). What is the source of this radical technological optimism, and why does Agar oppose it?

There are two main sources for radical technological optimism. First, there is a deep- seated belief that is based on a need to see the human condition as improving: “The popularity of recent radical optimism results partly from a near universal need to see our belief in human improvement vindicated” (p. 186). We need to believe that things are always getting better, and if technology creates any problems, then technology can solve these problems as well.

The other source of radical technological optimism can be found in two “laws” of technological progress. The first is Moore’s Law, which states that the power of integrated circuits (in computers) doubles approximately every two years. The other is Kryder’s Law, which states that the capacity of hard disks to store data doubles every 13 months. We’re always upgrading our computers because of these laws.

But these laws are inappropriately applied to such things as cancer research and poverty, and obviously these two areas have not been solved by technology. People are still dying from cancer at alarming rates and the poor are still very much with us.

So Agar opposes radical technological optimism because it breeds false hopes. And when we place our faith in it, other issues get ignored, such as social justice, climate change, education, unemployment, and poverty.

Agar hopes that an experimental approach to technological progress will enable us to “decide whether a particular avenue of technological progress can be safely globalized” (p. 100). He believes that democracy will make such progress experiments possible.

The value of The Sceptical Optimist: Why Technology Isn’t the Answer to Everything for technical communicators is that it gives us a chance to think about the water that we swim in every day. Is every new gadget that comes out worth our time and money? Are we critical in our reception of the technological marketing that we are bombarded with constantly? Do we uncritically accept every new thing that comes along?

One thing that made me wonder about Agar’s critique of radical technological optimism is the amount of dystopian literature and movies in our culture. If anything, our young people may be pessimistic about our future, even as they are uncritical about our present.

Charles R. Crawley
Charles R. Crawley is a lead technical writer for Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He does not own a smartphone or have a Facebook account, but he does spend at least eight hours every weekday in front of a computer, which disqualifies him as a Luddite.

How to Write Perfect Press Releases: Grow Your Business with Free Media Coverage

Steven Lewis. 2015. Rozelle NSW, Australia: Taleist. 2nd ed. [ISBN 978-0-9808559-8-5. 104 pages. US$15.99 (softcover).]

Lewis_How_2015 A quick read at 104 total pages, How to Write Perfect Press Releases: Grow Your Business with Free Media Coverage is a little book with a big message. It is a complete manual for any writer hoping to get media coverage.

Lewis guides readers through every imaginable scenario one might encounter on the road to recognition. A past editor, journalist, and public relations professional, he shares many unique examples to describe best and worst writing practices. You’ll meet an arrogant self-publisher who achieved notoriety on a blog by sending a lazy press release, a lawyer intent on cataloguing every minute business transaction, a creative pastry chef enriching her community, and an author who bungled her message to a popular blogger so badly she was forced to write under a pseudonym.

The first three sections; “Developing the Right Mindset,” “Profiling your Targets,” and “Working the Angles;” focus on planning your message and honing that message to your chosen publication and journalist. In Section Two: Profiling Your Targets: How to Pick a Journalist, Lewis writes: “When you find a journalist you think might fit with your story, Google her for more clues . . . imagine this journalist writing your story. Having read some of her other pieces, can you imagine her writing a piece about you?” (pp. 39–40). His questions feel like candid advice from a friend or mentor.

We learn that bloggers and news journalists are vastly different and the relationship is never equal: “Unless you’re Octomom or landing a 747 on the Hudson River, you’re asking journalists for a favour, not doing them one. . . . If you go into this believing that you’re giving a gift rather than receiving one, it’s less likely to go well for you” (p. 30).

The last sections; “Writing your Release,” “Loading the Spoon,” and “Releasing the Release;” concentrate on the craft of writing. Again, the reader receives thorough instruction with useful examples. Lewis uses a TMZ news report about Michael Jackson’s death to teach us the importance of packing our facts into the front of our stories. “Loading the Spoon” discusses current media trends such as the prominence of video and how to format photographs for different platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Jam-packed with information, the pages of How to Write Perfect Press Releases feel crowded. The editor attempted to break up the busy text by inserting dialogue boxes but the font size and type used within them is too similar to the surrounding text to offer any visual relief. It is a small complaint, overridden by the book’s excellent content.

Nonprofit teams, entrepreneurs, and public relations professionals will find this book invaluable in their quest for publicity. Even if you’re not clamoring for attention, How to Write the Perfect Press Release is a good way to sharpen those rusty journalism skills.

Martha Jordan
Martha Jordan is a technical communications student at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She is interested in social media, marketing, and science writing. Martha blogs and tweets for Alabama’s Center for Sustainable Energy. She has a Master’s degree in Education and ten years’ teaching experience.

Author Experience: Bridging the Gap between People and Technology in Content Management

Rick Yagodich. 2015. Laguna Hills, CA: XML Press. [ISBN 978-1-937434-42-7. 166 pages, including index. US$24.95 (softcover).]

Yagodich_Author_2014 Yagodich begins Author Experience: Bridging the Gap between People and Technology in Content Management by defining “author experience” (AX), a term he coined in 2010 (p. vii). He addresses the imbalanced emphasis placed on user experience (UX) versus AX and advocates for effective content management systems (CMSes). He asserts, “If the tools are not fit for the purpose of creating and managing content, how can we ever create that optimal end user experience?” (p. 5). Yagodich argues that UX and AX should be given equal consideration when choosing a CMS. An author is not just a content originator but someone “who interacts with the CMS” (p. 7). Additionally, “Author experience, as a discipline, is the provision of contextually appropriate functionality within a content management environment” (p. 11).

Yagodich makes a valid point—the intended purpose of a CMS needs to be clearly defined before purchase and implementation. This may seem obvious to some, but according to Yagodich, it is an issue that continually plagues the work environment. Yagodich argues that another common issue is IT departments are responsible for CMS purchases, and he asserts that those responsible for managing the content are not usually consulted. Therefore, he provides RFP criteria that should be applied when choosing a CMS: (a) “The content managed through the system fulfills a purpose,” and (b) “The system enables authors to manage that content properly” (p. 18). Yagodich addresses those with the power to purchase CMSes: “If you don’t invest in author experience, the value of the CMS is severely degraded, and the end-user experience is jeopardized” (p. 20).

Yagodich goes on to address people, technical, process, and conceptual challenges, and he places great responsibility on the author to tackle these issues by challenging technologists and developers. The author presents an interesting “Hierarchy of Author Experience Needs,” which “starts with the reduction of pain and moves to enhancing productivity and value” (p. 53). Yagodich provides a five-step process for conducting an AX audit to evaluate a current CMS and determine the requirements for a new one. He includes design patterns in CMSes and groups them into three categories: (a) “Micro-copy management and usage patterns, (b) “Author interface patterns,” and (c) “Technical patterns” (p. 117).

Yagodich admits that the AX field is relatively new, but he argues that it will eventually “become a recognized and expected part of every content system project” (p. 141). His perspective is refreshing, and he continually stresses the importance of AX with UX. Yagodich states that AX should not be an afterthought, and he expertly relays this message by providing a multitude of real-world examples to support his claims, many of which he pulls from his own professional experience.

Britney Ashford
Britney Ashford has two 2 years of technical communication experience. She is a graduate student at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

The Principles of Beautiful Web Design

Jason Beaird and James George. 2014. 3rd ed. Sebastopol, CA: SitePoint. [ISBN 978-0-9922794-4-8. 194 pages. US$39.95 (softcover).]

Beaird_Principles_2014 Have you ever asked the question: What is the influence of the Web on print media? It’s not just the Web, but the little “weblets” it has spawned: e-readers, tablets, and smart phones.

This excellent primer on Web design does not address this question. But we can extrapolate as we go deeper.

What the book does offer is grounding in a genre that affects virtually everyone in the modern world, which for that reason influences how we write and how we perceive language itself.

While the book’s primary audience is Web programmers and developers, it is also addressed to readers “at any level;” and it is this secondary audience that needs more help. Those in the field will know the words and concepts in the book. But many terms will be unfamiliar to nonspecialists and will need clearer defining. For example: “A CSS framework is a CSS system that is set up to handle the grid structure of a website” (p. 13). Or: “Every web page has a container. This could be in the form of the page’s body tag, an all-containing div tag” (p. 8). In both cases, one unknown term is being defined by another.

It would help having a glossary after each chapter, but the book has none. And no index. The lack of a glossary and index, plus a fair number of unclear definitions, make it harder for the nonspecialist to successfully navigate the text.

On the other hand, for the print-oriented, The Principles of Beautiful Web Design expands the very definition of content to include text, images, and video. “Print workers” realize this but don’t take it seriously.

Similarly, when dealing with paragraph divisions, the book stresses that readers may benefit from having a stronger separator than a heading or white space—something with greater visuality, such as a row of icons, especially if you can find one that reflects the information. A yin-yang, say, that ends a paragraph discussing two sides of an issue that both have merit.

The book emphasizes white space more than we tend to on the printed page. It stresses that “empty space on a page is every bit as important as having content. Without carefully designed white space, a design will feel closed in, like a crowded room” (p. 9). Sure, a Web site has a different dynamic than a printed page, but that dynamic is changing.

Similarly, The Principles of Beautiful Web Design expands our more book-oriented meaning of emphasizers, which it defines as whatever draws the reader’s attention. On the Web, these things normally relate to the image, in print, they relate more to words. Page design is usually left to the book designer.

The Web marries two different ways of expression and understanding: the artist’s and the writer’s. The artist’s came first—before there were words, there were images. We seem to be returning to that earlier revelation.

Steven Darian
Steven Darian is an STC Fellow, having retired from teaching business and technical writing at Rutgers for 33 years and in eight countries. He was a manager for Raytheon in Saudi Arabia. Steven’s most recent book is “Tools of the Trade: Technique in Nonfiction, 2015.”

Enterprise Content Strategy: A Project Guide

Kevin P. Nichols. 2015. Laguna Hills, CA: XML Press. [ISBN 978-1-937434-44-1. 150 pages, including index. US$24.95 (softcover).]

Nichols_Enterprise_2015 Enterprise Content Strategy: A Project Guide discusses the enterprise content strategy lifecycle around content experience, delivery, and governance. The enterprise content strategy lifecycle has seven phases: plan, assess, define, design, build, publish, measure, and optimize. Governance plays a large part within the lifecycle phases, while content refers to more than just text; it includes images, videos, PDFs, and metadata.

Content strategy assessment consists of a content (quantitative) inventory and audit (qualitative) analysis. You can do one first, then the other, or both simultaneously. You can use an automated tool like the Content Analysis Tool (CAT) for content discovery or do it manually to discover the content types. From the audit, you can determine if the content should be “migrated as is, reworked, or deleted entirely” (p. 40). Nichols offers a spreadsheet template that you can download from his Web site at <a href=”http://kevinpnichols.com/downloads/kpn_content_audit.xls.

http://kevinpnichols.com/downloads/kpn_content_audit.xls.

In the define phase, you build your content strategy framework: the content findings and implications (audit report), framework and strategic recommendations, and roadmaps. You then review the information and extract the “current issues, gaps, choke points, and redundancies” (p. 50). Nichols starts with a basic content strategy framework outline (pp. 50–52) to help finalize the “strategic intent around the content experience” before entering the design phase (p. 62).

Designing content requires paying attention to the omnichannel experience. Our audiences now expect content delivery in multiple ways to be available on multiple devices with that content being responsive or adaptive. Nichols says, “Use a responsive approach for content shared across devices; use an adaptive approach for content that changes across devices” (p. 88).

Publishing content occurs when that content is pushed out to the intended audience that is then closely followed by measuring the “strengths and weaknesses of the solution design and provide[s] impetus for content and solution optimization” (p. 107).

In optimization you continually review the content to see if it is still “relevant, contextual, and timely” (p. 117). If not, then you may need to remove the content that is no longer valid based upon the collected metrics.

Governance rounds out the enterprise content strategy lifecycle by ensuring that “once a content strategy is implemented, it will be maintained and positioned to evolve and grow by using ‘roles (people), process, and standards’” (p. 123).

Enterprise Content Strategy: A Project Guide is packed full of useful information on setting up an enterprise content strategy project. The tables provided give you a starting point in setting up your enterprise content strategy project. Each chapter concludes with an Additional Reading section where Nichols refers you to other key content strategists’ books and Web sites. Drawbacks to the book are the graphics (the size and color choice) and the copyediting errors. This book is a must-have for content strategists’ personal library as are the other books in the Content Wrangler Content Strategy Series.

Jackie Damrau
Jackie Damrau has more than 25 years of technical communication experience. She is a Fellow and member of the STC North Texas Lone Star chapter and the Instructional Design & Learning SIG. She serves as the book review editor for Technical Communication.

A Companion to Translation Studies

Sandra Bermann and Catherine Porter, eds. 2014. West Sussex, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell. [ISBN 978-0-470-67189-4. 638 pages, including index. US$136.00.]

Bermann_Translation_2014 Written translation has been a part of business, science, and diplomacy since early times; yet, as an academic discipline, it just began to flourish in the mid-20th century.

A Companion to Translation Studies divides the field into two realms: (a) referential, basically nonfiction, and (b) literary, including fiction, canonical works of philosophy, and sacred texts. These genres have their own cultural and historical backgrounds. How much background does a translator need before translating a work authoritatively? How much of the translator’s job is to make the material more interesting, enjoyable, and easier to understand and remember than the original? The question targets both literary and referential writings.

While Bermann and Porter stress the importance of translation in a global world, they focus more on the literary side, which runs counter to the craft’s history. The foremost achievement of the 8th century translation schools was in translating the bulk of Greek secular learning in philosophy and science: in mathematics, astronomy, optics, and medicine into Arabic. From there, the movement spread to Sicily, to Córdoba, and Toledo, where the target language changed from Arabic to Latin, and then into the vernaculars. The translation movement, from its beginnings, focused chiefly on referential works. Yet, our study might place greater emphasis on expository texts.

A Companion to Translation Studies does provide a chapter on The Expository Translator plus two articles on machine translation, a technology that is revolutionizing the field. The essay on Machine Translation (MT) reads like an espionage novel: we witness MT’s enthusiastic birth in the 1930s and 40s in the Soviet Union and the US, further propelled by the World War II advancements in military technology and cryptanalysis. The Cold War ushers in the Golden Age of MT with proponents on both sides convincing their governments to spend more with meager dividends.

After 1968, things changed, as professional translators and computer scientists joined to produce more enduring results. Witness the English-to-French Systran system used by Google Translate until 2007, natural language processing in artificial intelligence, plus the emergence of computational linguistics.

The second essay, on localization, discusses adapting software to different languages and cultures. It provides a short overview of the earlier labor-intensive challenges then shifts to the more efficient present-day practices in software localization, such as internationalization, object- oriented programming, documents-to-content, chunking, and single e-source publishing. Advances in localization for mass marketing have helped make writing and publishing a more global enterprise.

A chapter on text analysis reveals fascinating differences between languages: Writing systems, like Chinese and Japanese, hinder the rich word play common in English. Different languages also have different grammatical resources: English often emphasizes a word by placing it at the end of the sentence (many languages do not) and English has a lack of cases and genders that enables a word from one part of speech to became a word from almost any other.

Tetyana Darian
Tetyana Darian is an STC member and graduate student in computer science with interests in machine translation, localization, and artificial intelligence.

WordPress for Dummies

Lisa Sabin-Wilson. 2015. 7th ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. [ISBN 978-1-119-08857-8. 408 pages, including index. US$26.99 (softcover).]

Sabin-Wilson_WordPress_2015 WordPress for Dummies is a well-organized resource for those wanting to create their own Web page using the WordPress platform. WordPress is a free program that lets you create and maintain a blog or non-blog Web site with minimal technical knowledge. There are two forms of WordPress: WordPress.com where you host your blog and WordPress.org where you use their software on a Web site that you control. WordPress’ real power is realized when you choose the second option, and accordingly, that is the book’s focus. Sabin-Wilson simplifies complex technical issues associated with running your own Web site without sounding pretentious. She takes you through installation to customization and delves deep into powerful functionality, all while suggesting best practices for each.

Starting your own blog or Web site is perhaps one of the most daunting aspects you may face. Creating a Web site from scratch has many complex steps, which this book breaks down into easily understandable, achievable tasks. Even though not all Web pages use WordPress, Sabin-Wilson takes the time to go beyond WordPress and explain Internet concepts such as domain registration and Web hosting, as well as to list some sample companies that offer such services. After underlying Internet needs are covered, the book moves on to blogging, a common WordPress use. Sabin-Wilson discusses basic blogging techniques along with ways that you can use WordPress to enhance your posting experience with images, videos, and plugins—small programs that integrate with WordPress to enhance its usability and functionality. Next, it covers WordPress themes, which control the look and feel of your WordPress output page. The discussion of themes and templates is quite detailed and, while elegantly explained, may prove challenging for non-technical readers due to the sophisticated nature of the topic. Pushing onward, Sabin-Wilson discusses using WordPress as a Web authoring tool beyond blogging. She smoothly moves you across a variety of technical topics without overwhelming you.

Overall, WordPress for Dummies is an excellent reference book for both beginner and advanced WordPress users. Not every WordPress user will take advantage of everything WordPress has to offer, but this book strives to cover every situation possible in great detail. Like other books in the For Dummies series, WordPress for Dummies is organized and styled in a standard, easy-to-follow format that lends itself to either a quick reference check or a comprehensive study of a topic. In the past, I’ve used another WordPress reference book, and I find Sabin-Wilson’s book to be superior. Therefore, I recommend this book for both veteran WordPress users and anyone setting out on their first WordPress adventure.

Timothy Esposito
Timothy Esposito is an STC Senior Member with over 15 years of technical communication experience. He is currently vice president of the STC Philadelphia Metro Chapter. Before becoming VP, Timothy was chapter treasurer, Web master, and scholarship manager. He lives just outside Philadelphia with his wife, son, and two retired greyhounds.

The Presentation Lab: Learn the Formula behind Powerful Presentations

Simon Morton. 2014. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. [ISBN 978-1-118-68700-0. 254 pages, including index. US$30.00 (softcover).]

Morton_Presentation_2014 The graphic design, layout, and content structure of Simon Morton’s The Presentation Lab: Learn the Formula behind Powerful Presentations reflect the title’s laboratory theme, with abundant science-inspired visuals and “elements” standing in for chapter headings. From the introduction in Element A to the conclusion in Element H, Morton guides presenters through audience analysis, message identification, and content creation to final delivery. The first two elements supply background information to situate and inform the methods presented in subsequent elements. Topics discussed include a brief coverage of relevant cognitive science research on communication and learning, along with an overview of business storytelling and how to incorporate it into presentations.

Element C, “The Base Elements of Your Presentation,” covers audience analysis, which Morton considers the key to presentation success. He argues that the presentation audience falls into one of three categories: factual, emotional, and visionary. Knowing how these personality types process information and respond to communication can help presenters use the right rhetorical and visual methods for better audience engagement. Once presenters understand the audience and their own presentation goals, they can begin identifying and crafting an effective message and call to action.

In Element D, “Creating Compelling Content,” Morton presents a clear distinction between the presentation’s message—“Our company has the best solution” —and the content, “ . . . the information you need your audience to know to help drive the message forward” (p. 99). Addressing the common habit of packing a presentation with too much information, he advocates a thorough editing process and presents three criteria for content consideration: compatibility, relevance, and discriminability. Of particular note are Morton’s guidelines for selecting images (with attention to cultural sensitivity) and his advice on avoiding visual clichés (the ubiquitous images of puzzles, dartboards, and handshakes).

Speakers who must deliver the same presentation to different audiences should adapt each presentation to that audience’s needs using Morton’s methods and techniques. He defines this approach as “blended presenting,” when a speaker uses the appropriate visual engagement tool(s) for the particular audience and situation. Morton explains the method in Element E, “Delivering the Final Results,” and follows it with a discussion of five popular presentation tools, such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, and large-scale white boarding. He reviews each tool, noting the good and bad points, when to use them, and what types of audiences with which to use them.

Case studies (Element F) and guidance for presenters working with someone else’s material (Element G) complete the volume. Practitioners assisting SMEs in revising or updating presentations will find this book of special interest. Overall, The Presentation Lab is an entertaining, general guide to creating presentations without limiting itself to one method or software. Readers new to creating presentations will find a sound approach to creating and editing focused presentations adaptable to many different situations. Expert readers will find new advice and ideas to add to their own presentations.

Lee Andrew Hilyer
Lee Andrew Hilyer is the head of Information & Access Services at the University of Houston Libraries. He received his M.Ed. in instructional technology from the University of Houston and is the author of Presentations for Librarians: A Complete Guide to Creating Effective, Learner-Centered Presentations (Chandos, 2008).

Language, Cognition, and Human Nature: Selected Articles

Steven Pinker. 2015. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. [ISBN 978-0-19-025928-0. 378 pages, including index. US$19.95 (softcover).]

Pinker_Language_2015 For more than three decades, Steven Pinker has been making major contributions to the fields of cognitive science, evolutionary psychology, and linguistics. His brilliance and the lucidity of his writing have earned him fans both in and out of academia. Currently at Harvard, Pinker is the author of more than a dozen books, many aimed at an educated lay audience. But many of his most important papers have appeared in technical journals not easily obtained by the general public.

To make this work more accessible, the present volume reprints thirteen classic papers and provides an excellent introduction to the range of Pinker’s thought. Because many of the papers were written as part of a larger academic debate, Pinker provides each with an introduction, placing it in context.

Many of the articles deal with what Pinker calls the language faculty, the unique human ability to learn and understand language. In “Formal Models of Language Learning” and elsewhere, he addresses the intriguing issues involved in understanding how children acquire language. By roughly the age of three, all normal children attain the ability to generate grammatically complex sentences in their communal language. But modeling how they do so is both interesting and difficult. Pinker lays out the conditions of an adequate theory (work for all languages and cultures, work within a limited time frame, comport with what we know of the cognitive abilities of the very young, and so on). He examines a number of models. While each model sheds some interesting light, Pinker argues that each fails in important ways. Other articles deal with how we learn to understand specific language structures. “Rules and Connections in Human Language” and “The Acquisition of Argument Structures” deal with how we master the quirks of verb usage to understand who did what to whom, to what extent, and when they did it.

In several of Pinker’s essays, he covers issues of language in human evolution. In “Natural Language and Natural Selection,” Pinker argues that the human language faculty is adaptive and that it evolved due to evolutionary pressures. In “The Cognitive Niche,” Pinker explores the proposition that in the evolutionary arms race, hominids evolved to specialize in what he calls “the cognitive niche” where survival is achieved by “reasoning about the causal structure of the world, cooperating with individuals, and sharing that knowledge and negotiating those agreements via language” (p. 362).

Other essays cover such issues as how the mind works, rationales for indirect speech—the problem of why so much of human conversation is “filled with innuendo, euphemism, politeness, and other forms of shilly-shallying” (p. 302)—and why the age-old argument over nature versus nurture won’t go away.

Pinker is a stylish writer, and a careful and stimulating thinker, who can be counted on to reward the reader’s attention.

Patrick Lufkin
Patrick Lufkin is an STC Associate Fellow with experience in computer documentation, newsletter production, and public relations. He reads widely in science, history, and current affairs, as well as on writing and editing. He chairs the Gordon Scholarship for technical communication and co-chairs the Northern California technical communication competition.

Medical Monopoly: Intellectual Property and the Origins of the Modern Pharmaceutical Industry

Joseph M. Gabriel. 2014. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press. [ISBN 978-0-226-10818-6. 334 pages, including index. US$35.00.]

Gabriel_Medical_2014 For much of the nineteenth century, physicians and pharmacists took what today would be recognized as an open-source stance toward the manufacture of pharmaceuticals. For both scientific and public health reasons, they argued that medical knowledge and the therapeutic compounds that knowledge made possible should be openly available. Any attempt to place therapeutics behind a protective wall; be it through patents, trademarks, or the use of secret ingredients or formulas; was considered deeply unethical, a form of quackery.

Then, as today, such idealistic thinking ran up against the realities of commerce. To stay in business, and to develop new products, pharmaceutical manufacturers needed to be rewarded for their efforts, which meant some form of intellectual property protection was needed. Arguments about the forms it should take and how long it should last began early and are still ongoing.

Addressing the problems we have today depends on having a good understanding of how we got to where we are. That is where Medical Monopoly: Intellectual Property and the Origins of the Modern Pharmaceutical Industry comes in. Gabriel, an assistant professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine at Florida State University, has done a truly heroic job of digging through dusty medical and legal archives to trace the early history of how these contending impulses—the search for openness and the need for profits—worked themselves out to produce what we have today.

It is a fascinating story, full of hard-fought positions, and gradually changing attitudes. There are also more than a few colorful characters; some hawking dubious, proprietary nostrums; some making important medical breakthroughs; some crafting legal arguments and regulatory strategies; and some founding laboratories and championing putting the industry on a sound research-based footing.

Gabriel traces the contentious arguments that took place over secret formulas and ingredients, attempts at creating a regulatory framework, how drugs should be named (resulting in the parallel chemical, brand, and generic naming systems we use today), patents (both for manufacturing processes and for pharmaceuticals), trademarks, brands, advertising (both to physicians and to the public), attempts to dictate retail prices, the development of anti-trust law, issues of international law, and more.

Unfortunately, the book’s scope ends in the 1920s and only briefly touches on important developments later in the century such as the rise of Big Pharma and the often-troubling relationship between pharmaceutical companies and academic labs and research universities. But that history is the subject for another book. As it stands, Medical Monopoly is an indispensable guide to the origins of intellectual property law and the early development of the modern pharmaceutical industry; it contains a wealth of information, much of it difficult, if not impossible, to find elsewhere.

Patrick Lufkin
Patrick Lufkin is an STC Associate Fellow with experience in computer documentation, newsletter production, and public relations. He reads widely in science, history, and current affairs, as well as on writing and editing. He chairs the Gordon Scholarship for technical communication and co-chairs the Northern California technical communication competition.

Business Matters: A Freelancer’s Guide to Business Success in Any Economy

Elizabeth Frick. 2013. Laguna Hills, CA: XML Press. [ISBN 978-1-937434-22-9. 162 pages, including index. US$24.95 (softcover).]

Frick_Business Frick writes in a refreshing tone with her blatant honesty, showcasing the roller coaster of emotions you deal with in creating and maintaining your own business. She starts off with a soul-searching questionnaire that makes you look hard at your own life to see if being an independent is right for you. And although you don’t get to calculate a score, by the time you think through all of the questions, you know the right answer. You might also be mentally exhausted as you rehash every detail you like and dislike about working in general!

Owning my own business was not something I thought I’d do with my life. But suddenly, after I had my son, I realized corporate America was not fitting into my dreams. I needed something with a work/life balance that kept me involved in my family yet still plugged into the technical communication world.

Business Matters: A Freelancer’s Guide to Business Success in Any Economy is helpful as it provides in-depth details in maintaining client relationships and identifying the right clients for my business.

This book is full of lists! I never knew that I needed to do so much on the back end to keep my own business running long-term as a success. I could probably still be successful without following these lists, but I found Frick’s suggestions of figuring out if I was a generalist or a specialist, and the benefits to both, to be invaluable.

I felt very connected to Frick as she opened up about her personal and professional life’s struggles to show why she recommended doing a task in a certain way. Some of these lessons, unfortunately, must be learned the hard way before you make the right changes (read as: drop the clients that are not a good fit for your business model).

Frick’s most powerful suggestion is the power of belonging to groups. As a freelancer, work life can get lonely and your inner voice can be very confusing, contradictory, and sometimes downright mean! I remember one day, not too long ago, I stared at my screen for what seemed like an eternity. I filled my mind with such doubt on the grammatical correctness of a sentence that I was paralyzed from moving forward. Snapping myself out of that trance took about 5 minutes as I realized I could merely copy and paste the dilemma to a friend within STC and, a few minutes later, I was back on track.

No matter where you are in your freelancer journey, or if you long to become your own island (which, Frick says, there is no such thing), then I suggest you pick up Business Matters. You’ll certainly learn more about yourself and which path is right for you. You will also finish the book feeling that other freelancers out there truly understand your struggles because the struggle is real.

Kristin Kirkham-Broadhead
Kristin Kirkham-Broadhead is an instructional designer and technical writer from Dallas, TX. She previously served the STC North Texas Lone Star Community as President from 2009-2010. When she is not writing, she loves scrapbooking, photography, and chasing her son around the house.

The 27 Challenges Managers Face: Step-by-Step Solutions to (Nearly) All of Your Management Problems

Bruce Tulgan. 2014. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. [ISBN 978-1-118-72559-7. 242 pages, including index. US$28.00.]

Tulgan_27_2014 In The 27 Challenges Managers Face: Step-by-Step Solutions to (Nearly) All of Your Management Problems, Tulgan describes the most common management challenges and how to address each one. He recommends addressing each challenge by applying a straightforward management philosophy: managers must engage in high-quality, ongoing, one-on-one dialogues with their direct reports.

Mere communication is not enough for Tulgan. Managers must engage in high-structure, high-substance communication. Tulgan advises managers to structure their dialogues by setting up times, preparing in advance, and following a consistent format customized to each person. He recommends discussing performance standards, creating plans and checklists, focusing on concrete actions, and following up to create high substance.

Tulgan categorizes the 27 challenges into seven themes, which include the challenges of managing performance, the challenges of managing attitudes, and the challenges of managing despite forces outside your control. He then provides real-world examples from his experience that elucidate his recommendations.

Readers can use the book as a reference guide or read it front to back. New managers or managers unfamiliar with Tulgan’s approach should read the whole book. Experienced managers can also benefit from the book by skipping to the specific challenges they face. As a new manager, I used The 27 Challenges Managers Face both ways. The book’s organization makes it easy for me to find what I needed. Tulgan’s tone—informal, straightforward, and engaging—lends itself to both ways of using the book. Overall, the book combines a management philosophy with detailed advice of how to apply that philosophy to common challenges.

Alex Boren
Alex Boren is an STC member who graduated from the University of Utah in May 2015 with his self-designed, BS interdisciplinary philosophy degree. He works as an assistant manager at Goodwill in Iowa City while volunteering his grant-writing skills to the non-profit Clean Trails and to Descue Medical, a startup.

Introducing Language in Use: A Coursebook

Andrew John Merrison, Aileen Bloomer, Patrick Griffiths, and Christopher J. Hall. 2014. 2nd ed. London, U.K.: Routledge. [ISBN 978-0-415-58338-1. 488 pages, including index. US$57.95 (softcover).]

Merrison_Language_2014 Many books (some reviewed in these pages) offer help in understanding language—especially English. Some approach it from a theoretical point of view; others from a practical; and still others through the academic disciplines such as linguistics. Merrison, Bloomer, Griffiths, and Hall help language learners (first as well as second) understand how English works when used. What all approaches have in common is an attempt to understand how this phenomena works. The authors also include approaches from communication theory: Frege’s principle, speech-act, and Grice’s conversational organization all address how people communicate.

Morrison, Bloomer, Griffins, and Hall’s Introducing Language in Use: A Coursebook , 2nd edition, approaches language as it is found being used. The authors cover many of the approaches used by others to help the reader understand language but with the focus on its actual use. They identify two areas for emphasis: language in actual use and techniques for analyzing that language to promote understanding. In both, the authors succeed by taking a descriptive rather than prescriptive approach.

Each chapter contains an explanation of an approach, “Key Ideas,” “Activities,” “Summary,” “Further Activities,” and further “Readings and References.” This book has a companion Reader as well as a Web site to further enrich the learner’s understanding of language in use. It is, therefore, more than a book for second-language learners. Advanced students in introductory courses will find this book useful.

Merrison, et al. target British English learners, so that American English learners must extrapolate examples and develop new ones based in American English. But that does not mean that Introducing Language in Use should be ignored by American students. Rather, the material has relevance because of the explanations of communication principles.

Chapters 1 and 2 present the context for what will follow: “Language, Communication and Semiotics” (Chapter 1) and “Conversational Analysis” (2). It then covers the complexity of language from words, their parts, and semantic characteristics (5, 6); to syntax (7); to pragmatics (3). Other chapters include power and politeness (4), phonetics (10, 11), language variety (12), socio- and psycholinguistics (13, 14), language acquisition (15), multilingualism (16), history of English (17), and world English (18). An epilogue, glossary, and index complete the book. The effect of the coverage is that Introducing Language in Use is an extensive overview of language as native English speakers use it.

The examples are the main weaknesses for American readers. They (and their accompanying explanations) illustrate British English. But, for the persistent student and the instructor willing to expend the effort, developing American English examples should pose no problem, and the analytical techniques apply to both. Technical communicators with a strong interest in language and how it works as well as academics and their students will find this book useful both as a reference tool and a class textbook.

Tom Warren
Tom Warren is an STC Fellow, Jay R. Gould Award for Excellence recipient, and professor emeritus of English (technical writing) at Oklahoma State University, where he established the BA, MA, and PhD technical writing programs. Past president of INTECOM, he serves as guest professor at the University of Paderborn, Germany.

Twentieth Century Type and Beyond

Lewis Blackwell. 2013. London, England: Laurence King Publishing. [ISBN 978-1-78067115-4. 216 pages, including index. US$19.95 (softcover).]

Blackwell_Twentieth The evolution of graphic design is measured through the development of typographic designs and their use in graphic designs. Across the boundaries of schools and movements in the graphic design of the past 100+ years, fonts provide the visual language that have transformed pictures into lasting visual messages.

Twentieth Century Type and Beyond is a 7” x 9” ‘mini’ revised edition of Blackwell’s 1992 text revised in 2004 as a quarto-sized edition. This well-written book is structured to move decade by decade through the evolution of modern typography, its application to graphic design, and the significant issues that shaped design from 1900 through the early 2000s. The text and image captions often add new information about the fonts and designs shown. It is richly illustrated, displaying a number of key font designs and some seldom seen graphic designs such as Marcel Duchamp’s Janus Gallery DADA exhibition poster (1953).

Twentieth Century Type and Beyond could have been titled “How Twentieth Century Type Works” since there are more images of type used in graphic designs than displayed type alphabets. The book is full of significant graphic designs and advertisements that track the typographic development of the twentieth century in color though not always at a size that commands attention or seems logical in the apparent page grid.

The alphabets displayed include only a few designers’ drawings of fonts, suggesting the author is not as interested in alphabets and their development as he is in their application in design and development. Ink drawings of Edward Johnson’s 1916 font for the London Underground are shown as a complete alphabet of what may be the first modern san serif. Eric Gill’s classic font, Gill Sans (1933), has two hand drawings that summarize key lower case letters. There is an alphabet of Bauhaus designer Paul Renner’s geometric san serif Renner with experimental characters later refined to become Futura (1927) shown as a foundry specimen display page.

The book also shows foundry display pages for fonts such as A. M. Cassandre’s art deco Peignot and legendary painter Josef Albers’ surprising Bauhaus design of a geometric stencil alphabet. Max Mendinger’s Neue Hass Grotesk (1957) designed to compete against Akidenz Grotesk is shown as designed and as the renamed Helvetica (1958).

The text of Twentieth Century Type and Beyond is set in 6-point type with captions set in 5-point type, both of which are a significant challenge to read in the Pentagram-designed book. The text introducing motives of 21st century type states that type must be familiar enough to be highly recognizable. That may not be true of expressive and experimental print and digital designs, but it should be true of the text describing it.

Stephen Goldstein
Stephen Goldstein is an associate professor in the Communication Media Department at Fitchburg State University, a practicing graphic designer, a contributing writer to Meggs’ History of Graphic Design. He is a guest lecturer, and published author writing in Baseline Magazine, Novum, IdN, and other publications.

The Evolution of Type: A Graphic Guide to 100 Landmark Typefaces Examining Letters from Metal Type to Open Type

Tony Seddon. 2015. Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books. [ISBN 978-1-77085-504-5. 256 pages, including index. US$29.95.]

Seddon_Evolution_2015 Seddon’s The Evolution of Type: A Graphic Guide to 100 Landmark Typefaces Examining Letters from Metal Type to Open Type book begins and ends with blackletter type. This book shows how type has evolved since the dawn of the printing press to the digital age through a collection of 100 typefaces. Seddon also examines the contributions of various typographers and type designers throughout history and breaks the book into sections that show major shifts in typography and printing. These shifts include the invention of movable type, the typesetting machine, phototypesetting, and digital typography. Two-page spreads highlight the typefaces that are relevant to each era.

The two-page spread for each typeface contains a font description and the background information about the creator(s), its history, and inspiration of each typeface. This information also includes typefaces that were inspired by the highlighted font and information about the various versions that are available, especially in the instances of types that are digital revivals of historic designs. Each spread includes a few enlarged letters that show the defining characteristics that set the typeface apart. Examples of the type set in dummy text show body and headline weights, largely depending on the appropriate use of the font in question, to give the reader a sense of how these fonts will work. Finally, Seddon helps the reader by providing a recommendation of which version to use when multiple options are available.

The Evolution of Type truly is an evolution of type and is not an exhaustive history of typography. The brief history Seddon includes shows the reader how technology developed and how it has influenced the direction of type through time. This account, despite its brevity, is handled well and helps readers to connect shifts in type design with the major changes in technology. Seddon also explains the classifications of typefaces and how this has been a long point of contention between typographers, graphic designers, and historians because there is no universally accepted method for classifying type. While there are many similarities from one system to the next, there are also some distinct differences.

This is an excellent text for anyone wanting to further their knowledge of how typefaces have evolved in the last 500 years. While it is not a comprehensive history, the selection of 100 types to represent this evolution makes it a manageable text that should not be intimidating to new readers. The most useful part is the inclusion of the variations of each typeface and recommendations of which ones to use and why. It is intriguing that Seddon chose Selva as the 100th typeface, which is a modern interpretation of a blackletter, thereby bringing the text full circle, beginning with Gutenberg’s invention, which began with a blackletter font whose design was based on the popular writing of the scribes of his era.

Amanda Horton
Amanda Horton holds an MFA in design and currently teaches graduate and undergraduate courses at the University of Central Oklahoma in the areas of design technology, design studio and history of graphic design. She serves as a book reviewer for Technical Communication.

New Information and Communication Technologies for Knowledge Management in Organizations

Daniel Palacios-Marqués, Domingo Ribeiro Soriano, and Kun-Huang Huarng, eds. 2015. New York, NY: Springer. [ISBN 978-3-319-22203-5. 138 pages, including author index. US$60.00 (softcover).]

978-3-319-22204-2 Conference proceedings are a special publishing form that have even tighter deadlines than journal articles and books. For them to be useful to the intended readers, they have to appear as soon after the conference as possible. Editors are forced by timelines to make trade-offs between stylistic and textual editing and currency. Problems with style and other matters are exacerbated when the language of the papers is not the author’s native language (in this collection, two papers are from native speakers: one from Australia and one from the US).

Daniel Palacios-Marqués, Domingo Ribeiro Soriano, and Kun-Huang Huarng’s New Information and Communication Technologies for Knowledge Management in Organizations contains 13 papers from the 5th Global Innovation and Knowledge Academy Conference, July 14–16, 2015. Because the conference was held in Valencia, Spain, 19 of the 36 authors/coauthors are from Spain. Most of the others besides the native speakers come from Portugal (3) and Taiwan (6).

As the proceedings’ title suggests, the conference was about new technologies in knowledge management within organizations. The editors state in their Preface that the conference aim is to develop a “solid evidence base concerning new information and communication technologies for knowledge management, measuring the impact and diffusion of new technologies within organizations, as well as the role of new technologies in the relationship between knowledge management and organizational innovation” (p. v). The papers use an academic style, containing footnotes and end notes, as well as being organized using some variety of the Introduction, Methods and Materials, Results, and Conclusion format.

The organizations of the titles are mainly unnamed, but are rather financial institutions, educational institutions, and those that would use, for example, databases and mining. The technologies, on the other hand, are specific. Some technologies the papers cover are linear programming, fuzzy logic, fuzzy set quality comparative analysis, social network analysis, and cyber security. All papers, as might be expected, report results that support conclusions that solve the problems posed by the authors.

The knowledge management part of the papers focuses primarily on the value of employees and other life-cycle asset management items and the implied value of improved access to information. In the case of two papers that focus on education, measuring the improved learning of students constitutes knowledge management.

Technical communicators can find relevant information in these conference papers. With the conference being held in July 2015, and the proceedings copyrighted 2015, the editors did not have much time to get the book through production. That, coupled with English not being the first language for all but two of the authors, means that the text contains idiom problems. Even so, New Information and Communication Technologies for Knowledge Management in Organizations can be a useful addition to a company library.

Tom Warren
Tom Warren is an STC Fellow, Jay R. Gould Award for Excellence recipient, and professor emeritus of English (technical writing) at Oklahoma State University, where he established the BA, MA, and PhD technical writing programs. Past president of INTECOM, he served as guest professor at the University of Paderborn, Germany.