RE: Technical writing in a higher ed environment

Subject: RE: Technical writing in a higher ed environment
From: "Lisa Wright" <liwright -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 18 Mar 2004 09:30:18 -0800

Use the AP guide (which contains a lot of good guidance that you won't find
in a computer style guide). Supplement with MMoS, or Read-Me-First, or
whatever, for those things that aren't in the AP guide. Maybe flag the pages
that you're likely to use in the non-AP guides so that if anyone does come
and check, you're prepared.

A ton of writers use a combination of *either* AP/Chicago PLUS MMoS, etc.,
to meet their style guide needs. Your situation is no different.

Is this really a situation where you have to get permission before you do
it? Personally, I wouldn't worry about it unless someone is looking over
your shoulder. If someone does ask, you can calmly explain why you have
additional needs. You're a professional. You don't have other writers on
your team you need to negotiate this with. I guarantee you the IT folks do
not care and will look at you like you're weird if you bring it up. Perhaps
as a courtesy you could send a memo back(done neatly in AP style)
*explaining* (not asking for permission) what you plan to do to meet your
additional needs.

Don't spend a ton of time worrying about this.


-----Original Message-----
From: bounce-techwr-l-53104 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
[mailto:bounce-techwr-l-53104 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com] On Behalf Of Wendy
Sent: Wednesday, March 17, 2004 5:30 AM
Subject: Technical writing in a higher ed environment

I spent the last five years within the confines of a small software
development operation. I was the editor and project coordinator over two
other writers. To cover concepts unique to our software, we supplemented
Microsoft's Manual of Style with an internal style guide. We relied on
Chicago for basic grammar and usage standards. So armed, we could find an
answer to almost any writing question.

Now I am the sole technical writer for the IT department at a technical
college. Per an administrative directive, anything written for general
consumption via internal memos, online news, or the college's Web site is to
follow the Associated Press style. Obviously, this "law" came down from
someone in the Communication's office whose material is mostly journalistic
in nature.

Much of my content (quick guides, cheat sheets, basic 'how to' information,
etc.) is distributed electronically via the Web site and is subject to this
"law." But AP doesn't even come close to meeting my needs. In fact, it often
contradicts Chicago and other style guides commonly used in technical

What's a writer to do?


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Technical writing in a higher ed environment: From: Wendy Cunningham

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