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STC PMC Newsletter 2004-06


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STC PMC Newsletter June/July/August 2004

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STC PMC Newsletter 2004-06

  1. 1. June/July/August 2004 Vol. 39, No. 1 Managing Content from a Single Source by Suzanne Mescan oday, technical writers use a variety of tools to develop their docu- mentation from word processing applica- tions to XML authoring and editing tools. Although these tools allow you to repurpose your XML content from a single source to different print and electronic media channels, they, along with word pro- cessing applications, have limited capabilities when it comes to helping you manage and reuse your content. For example, suppose you produce user manuals for 10 models of digital cameras. Within these manuals, you have an assembly instruction that says, “Plug USB cable into Part A.” Now, the manufacturing department changes the parts on all models, resulting in a new assembly instruction: “Plug USB cable into Part B; if USB cable is plugged into Part A, all of your photos will be automatically deleted.” You must now update all the documentation with this new instruction. If you managed this content in a word processing program, you would have to search through 10 different documents and replace each old instruction with the new one. This would require you to manually read through every user manual to find the instruction that needs to be revised, or you would have to rely on the “search” command and hope that all the occurrences of this instruction are identified. If you miss revising one instruction, it will make your documentation inaccurate and, in this case, result in your customers deleting their photos. Because word processing applications and XML authoring and editing tools only store content as entire documents, they cannot track what the content in other documents is doing or where it has been duplicated or changed. These applications require you to manually go through your documentation and revise it. This manual process could be eliminated, however, if you have a content management system in place. Content management software is great for managing and producing content because it stores your content in a centralized database. However, the market is saturated with hundreds of vendors all claiming that they provide content management solutions, making it hard for potential buyers to know which solution is best suited for their needs. Not all content management systems are created equal; in fact, when evaluating content management systems, it is often comparing apples to oranges. When the content management market exploded several years ago, the majority of the products available only addressed one medium—the Web. Today the market has evolved and it is now comprised of several segments. Web content management continues to be the largest segment, and many people still associate the term “content management” with Web content management. This segment allows you to manage and deliver your content to Websites. Another segment is document management that manages your documents at the file level, providing a low level of content granularity. Document management does not go a step further to actually store the content itself. Digital asset (Continued on page 11) In This Issue… Features 1 Managing Content from a Single Source 4 Conference Quotes from New Jersey 4 Closing Thoughts from the Conference Manager 7 Exploring: A Trolley Tour of Center City's Murals 8 One Technical Communicator’s Experience with Offshoring Columns 2 Editor’s Voice 3 President’s Podium 5 Upcoming STC Phone Seminars 6 Member Spotlight 10 Crossword Puzzle
  2. 2. NEWS & VIEWS 2 June/July/August 2004 Newsletter Staff Managing Editor Lori Corbett Layout Editor Rose Marie Sosnowy (610) 792-4031 Associate Editors Al Brown (856) 222-7427 Rebecca Richardson Mary Shaw Also Contributing to this Issue Submissions and Reprints You may reprint original material appearing in News & Views, as long as you acknowledge the source and author and send us a copy of the publication containing the reprint. ISSN 1078-9952. News & Views, published six times per year, is the official publication of the Philadelphia Metro Chapter of STC. We encourage letters, articles, and other items for publication. Note: By submitting an article, you implicitly grant a license to this newsletter to run the article and for other STC publications to reprint it without permission. Unless otherwise noted, copyrights for all newsletter articles belong to the authors. The design and layout of this newsletter are copyright STC, 2004. Address submissions or comments to Lori Corbett, Managing Editor, News & Views, 834 Westridge Drive, Phoenixville, PA, 19460, phone (610) 382-8683; email Toolbox We produce News & Views with Frame- Maker 6.0 and Acrobat 6.0 on various Pentium computers. News & Views Barrie Byron Zsolt Olah Wayne Kroger Gloria Reisman Julia Margulies Jill Cassidy Rolette Sheila Marshall Mike Sharp Suzanne Mescan Editor’s Voice A New Chapter Year… Inevitable Changes by Lori Corbett t has been quite a busy year for the staff of News & Views. It is almost un- believable that we’re coming to the end of an entire chapter year and be- ginning a new one. I am grateful to our hard- working, dedicated staff: Rose Marie Sos- nowy, Al Brown, Rebecca Richardson, and Mary Shaw. Without their dedica- tion, News & Views would not be the award-winning publication that it is. It is a testament to their work that News & Views received an Excellence award in the STC chapter newsletter competition. (Way to go team!) Print production has been a challenge for us. In order to keep costs down, we used one of our member’s in-house printer. Alas, that printer has gotten too busy, which is the reason you haven’t received a printed copy of the April-May edition. Printing and distribution through a commercial printer is cost-prohibitive. Therefore, we need to change our distribution policy. Important Policy Change Beginning with the September/October issue, only members of STC-PMC who do not have access to the Web or cannot download the PDF version of News & Views will receive a printed copy via snail mail. If you fit this category, please contact me at 610-382-8683 or The good news about getting the newsletter from the STC-PMC Website is that it contains color throughout. Note that if you cannot use Acrobat 6.0, but must use Acrobat 5.0, page 2 might not always display on your printer; however, if you download the file to your PC, and print the newsletter from there, all pages will print. Nope, I don’t understand this aberration, but I’ve tested it and it works. Yes, I’m one of those folks who must use Acrobat 5.0 at work. Topic Ideas for Next Year Some interesting topic ideas for newsletter columns and articles have floated past my desk recently. I’d like to incorporate the following columns in upcoming issues of News & Views: ❏ Software reviews, possibly including reviews of Acrobat, FrameMaker, Flash, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, to name just a few. ❏ Website links to sites you use for your work as a technical communicator (For example, I’ve used http://www.pcwebo- as a source for computer and internet technology definitions.) ❏ Pet Peeves in Grammar, resurrecting the Grammar Gripes column. What grammar errors bug you the most? I think these are all great ideas. What do you think? This brings up another idea. All letters to the editor are appreciated (and might even be published in News & Views). We want our newsletter to be the best it can be and serve the needs of all STC-PMC members. That is you! Introducing Transformation The STC has introduced a new initiative entitled Transformation. The Transformation initiative goal is to meet individual member needs, to flex to their changing professional environments, and to provide different information delivery mechanisms. In other words, STC is undergoing a transformation to provide greater value to its members—you (and me)! To learn more about the Transformation initiative, go to http:// Note that only STC members can access this Website. ■
  3. 3. June/July/August 2004 3 NEWS & VIEWS President’s Podium “Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted.” —Groucho Marx by Steven Lungren hat’s right. You may think that I said what you thought you heard, but are you sure that what you thought you heard was what I really said? “Isn’t language great! ...There is always a better way to say almost everything.” —Attributed to Grunt Gwarnog of Chalons, General to Attila, AD 451 I’m so sure that there are better ways to say what I’m going to tell you in this column that I’m going to use some of them. Right now. “Freedom means the opportunity to be what we never thought we would be.” —Daniel J. Boorstin Our STC-Philadelphia Metro Chapter is about 350 members strong. In the past year it has become more active and more interesting thanks to the leadership of our outgoing President Nad Rosenberg, Vice President Sheila Marshall, Secretary Jill Cassidy, our Programs (Gloria Reisman, Julia Margulies, Larry Angert), Competition (Donn DeBoard, Marc Green, Brian Winter), Membership (Mike Sharp), and Careers (Giacomo DeAnnuntis) committees, plus all of the chapter members who have helped to achieve the goals that Nad described in this column last year. “Time flies like the wind. Fruit flies like bananas.” —Groucho Marx The year went by fast. Time does fly by when you’re busy, and when you’re having fun! This has been a great group to participate with (I can’t call it work because it was a pleasure for me), and their superior efforts have been recognized at the recent STC Annual Conference in Baltimore! The Philadelphia Metro Chapter received the STC Pacesetter award, and this newsletter the STC Newsletter Excellence award . (Congratulations to our Editor, Lori Corbett and the rest of the News & Views staff! Great job!) “Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” —John Wooden It had never crossed my mind that I would become the president of this chapter. But now I am, and I have an excellent predecessor to follow. Doing this job as well as it has been done before, by Nad and by other past Presidents (like Mike Sharp, for example), is quite a challenge. New Jersey’s Jane Phillips is our new Vice President. With her extensive marketing/communications experience, she can help us to promote the chapter beyond our own membership. I like the fact that our members on the east side of the Delaware River will be represented in the chapter leadership. Gary Samartino, who resides in Chester County, PA, has been elected Treasurer for the coming year. Having run his own successful business for many years, he’ll be a valuable asset to the chapter. I’m sure that he’ll have a different perspective and some new ideas for us, too. Continuing (thank goodness!) as chapter Secretary is the multi-talented Jill Cassidy of Delaware County. Jill brings intellect, imagination, and verve to chapter activities, and she does so many things to help the chapter that I can’t imagine the leadership group without her. “The advertisement is one of the most interesting and difficult of modern literary forms.” —Aldous Huxley One of the things that I would like to see the chapter do this year is promote the Chapter Officers President Steve Lungren (267) 620-2421 Vice President Jane Phillips (856) 608-7200 Treasurer Gary Samartino (610) 701-0577 Secretary Jill Cassidy (215) 590-9815 Immediate Past President Nad Rosenberg (856) 484-6598 Region 1 Director/Sponsor Jon Baker (978) 443-3049 Chapter Committee Managers Employment Giacomo DeAnnuntis (215) 482-1255 Programs Julia Margulies (610) 397-2448 Membership Mike Sharp (856) 854-2141 News & Views Lori Corbett Nominating Mike Sharp (856) 854-2141 Website Lois Shank Competition Donn DeBoard (484) 595-6216 Marc Green (610) 358-0631 Address correspondence for the Philadelphia Metro chapter of STC to STC-PMC, P.O. Box 60069, Philadelphia, PA 19102-0069. Mission Statement: Designing the Future of Technical Communication. The Society for Technical Communication (STC) is an organization dedicated to advancing technical communication. Membership is open to those employed in, interested in, or concerned with the profession of technical writing, publishing, or associated disciplines. Contact STC at 901 N. Stuart St., Suite 904, Arlington, VA 22203, (703) 522-4114 or STC-PMC Leadership Society for Technical Communication (Continued on page 13)
  4. 4. NEWS & VIEWS 4 June/July/August 2004 September 23 Using Personas to Connect With Your Audience, Presented by Whitney Quesenbery Good usability starts with understanding the audience for a Website or online service. We can observe users, do usability testing, analyze site logs, and conduct interviews, but how do we analyze all of the information to create a clear, vivid portrait of the site's users? And how do we put that understanding to work? Personas are an increasingly popular way to encapsulate and share user research—a low-cost, high impact way to make users come alive for the entire team. In this interactive presentation, Whitney Quesenbery will present the basics of creating and using personas, and look at what they add to the audience analysis toolkit. About the Speaker Whitney Quesenbery is a highly regarded speaker, user interface designer, and design consultant. She is an expert in developing new concepts that achieve the goal of meeting business, user, and technology needs. As one of the developers of LUCID (Logical User- Centered Interaction Design), she promotes the importance of a user- centered approach and usability in design. As a principal at Cognetics Corporation for 12 years, she was instrumental in building a great design staff, and the design leader for many design and usability projects. Her project credits include work with companies such as Novartis, Deloitte Consulting, Lucent, McGraw-Hill, Siemens, Hewlett- Packard, and Dow Jones. STC-PMC Calendar (Continued on page 14) STC-PMC Annual Conference Conference Quotes from New Jersey by Barrie Byron he 2004 Philadelphia Metro Chapter annual conference theme, “Mor- phing into the Future with STC,” directs our attention to the change and transformation of our jobs and our future career prospects. Keeping our skills sharp is not enough these days; we must also transform our thought processes, redirect our professional attention to learning new skills and tools, and concentrate on the future. In response to an excellent publicity campaign and conference mailing, several New Jersey residents made the drive to Malvern to learn about morphing into the future. Here are some of their thoughts and comments about the day. “There is much concern in our field right now because the offshoring/outsourcing situation puts our job and even our careers in jeopardy. It was great to have a forum to share our concerns and discuss solutions for our futures in technical writing. I found fellow writers very open and willing to share their experiences and knowledge.” Deb Ward, NY Metro chapter Program Designer, Training and Performance Systems ADP “I give the Philly membership a lot of credit for the time and effort spent to pull this conference together. The topics were very current and everyone was so friendly. As a visiting member from NY Metro chapter, I felt right at home. In the past I've found this to be a worthwhile and professionally rejuvenating experience. I was not disappointed this time!” Jeff Van Arsdale, NY Metro chapter Manager, Technical Publications Computer Associates International, Inc. “I was very impressed by the action- oriented proactive approach the Philadelphia Metro Chapter takes in enabling its members to stay current on trends and the future direction of the technical communications field. The information and strategies presented at the session “Communicating Effectively with Subject Matter Experts and Managers” was particularly timely for my current project challenges. I have seen positive results from incorporating several of the suggestions from the session.” Kim Bogden, NY Metro chapter Technical Writer Computer Associates International, Inc. After attending the conference at Penn State University in Great Valley, Pennsylvania, I am inspired to learn about information architecture, partici- pate in chapter activities and help plan future successes, and look at change with open eyes. ■ Closing Thoughts from the Conference Manager by Sheila Marshall The Second Annual STC-PMC annual conference was mid-March. From all ac- counts it was a huge success: we had interesting sessions, a nice crowd of people for networking, and an environ- ment conducive to learning. It was so nice, in fact, the chapter recently received a PaceSetter's award for our achievement. Nice, huh? So with that high-impact start, where is this article going? Well, it's twofold actually: a glimpse behind the scenes of the conference and a chance to create an even more successful event next year! Let's start with the hustle and bustle that occurred behind the curtain… It all began in July 2003, when I started searching for a speaker who could deliver a keynote address of interest. I hit upon
  5. 5. June/July/August 2004 5 NEWS & VIEWS Riding the Bus to the STC Conference! June 20–25. The 2004 Institute in Technical Communication (ITC) will be held at Horry-Georgetown Technical College in Myrtle Beach, SC. ITC is sponsored by the Two-Year College English Association, Southeast Region, of the National Council of Teachers of English (TYCA NCTE). For more information, contact Mike Williams at July 1–3. The Research and Training Institute of the East Aegean (INEAG, Samos Island, Greece) and the University College of the Fraser Valley (British Columbia) will hold the Fifth International Conference on Information Communication Technologies in Education on Samos Island, Greece. The conference will provide an overview of current thinking and practices in applications of technology to education. For more information, contact INEAG at or visit the Website July 23–24. The annual conference of Tri-XML, the XML interest group for the Research Triangle Park, NC area, at the Sheraton Imperial in RTP. An optional “Tools of the Trade Show” (vendor showcase) is scheduled for July 22. For more information, contact Kay Ethier at kethier@travelthepath .com or visit the Website at July 25–27. STC Region 8 Conference at the University of California, Davis. For more information, contact Eric Butow at or visit the Website at September 20–24. The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) will hold its 48th annual meeting at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel. For more information, contact HFES at or visit the Website at STC and Related Events Around the World STC Briefings Upcoming STC Phone Seminars Seminar Costs: $99 USD (STC Members) $149 USD (non-members) For more information about these seminars and to enroll in any of them, go to the STC seminar Website at June 23, 2004 1:00 pm–2:30 pm EDT Are You Ready for Content Management and Structured Authoring: Managing the Change JoAnn Hackos July 21, 2004 1:00 pm–2:30 pm EDT Seven Ideas for Sprucing Up Help Saul Carliner August 4, 2004 1:00 pm–2:30 pm EDT Practical Strategies for Developing Online Courses Ann-Marie Grissino August 18, 2004 1:00 pm–2:30 pm EDT Chapter 1: Writing Effective Introductions and Overviews Leah Guren September 15, 2004 1:00 pm–2:30 pm EDT Cascading Style Sheets: Learning the Basics (Part I) Char James-Tanny September 29, 2004 1:00 pm–2:30 pm EDT Cascading Style Sheets: Creating Layouts without Tables (Part II) Char James-Tanny
  6. 6. NEWS & VIEWS 6 June/July/August 2004 Member Spotlight Zsolt Olah—Blending Technical Communication and Creativity Jill Cassidy Rolette egszentségtelení- thetelenségeskedései tekért. No, I did not just sneeze while typing this (well, ac- tually I DID, but that has nothing to do with this ar- ticle…), but rather that word is actually a part of the Hungarian vocabulary, the country which STC-PMC member and newsletter “Master Puzzler,” Zsolt Olah, calls his first home. To be honest, I was a bit daunted when our newsletter editor, Lori Corbett, suggested I “spotlight” our newest contributor. I knew before our first “virtual” meeting that Zsolt was a unique and interesting member. I had no idea how accurate that initial impression would prove to be! It is my pleasure to introduce Zsolt, officially, to our chapter. Zsolt moved to the United States in 1999 and got married. While his wife holds a research position at the University of Delaware, Zsolt worked as a technical writer for Unica Corporation in Boston, MA. His education is extensive and impressive and includes a B.S./M.S. in Information Technology from “one of the most prestigious colleges in Hungary.” He also holds a certificate in IT teaching as well as an M.A. in English teaching. Did I mention that Zsolt is still quite a young man? Such credentials seem that they would belong to a gentleman twice his age! Zsolt was drawn to the field of technical communication because of its appeal to both sides of the brain, “the analytical left and the creative right.” He feels that it “provides an excellent combination of in-depth analytical skills as well as provides a source for tremendous creative energy. This combination of brain-work and a steep learning curve allow [him] to not only understand complex technical information, but also to transfer that knowledge for people with different levels of understanding.” He has been particularly inspired by Henriette Anne's book Writing on Both Sides of the Brain (I've already ordered a copy!), a work aimed at creative writers, but with significant material for technical communicators. Zsolt has, at the very least, always been a multi-tasker. While studying English at the university, he was also running the computer lab and providing computer support. While he worked for the U.S. Peace Corps as a language trainer, he began creating crossword puzzles. The puzzles have pushed Zsolt's creative buttons, and provided him with challenging mental exercise. Since Zsolt's mind and imagination never take a break, he has also started writing movie scripts. He finished his first feature movie script last year. While he says it's not going to win any Academy Awards, it did provide a great experience and a tremendous amount of learning. As a result, his second script made it into the semi-finals of the Anything but Hollywood contest. (When are the auditions?) While at Unica, one of Zsolt's projects required that he work in different tools (Framemaker and RoboHelp) for different documentation outputs. As he reorganized and copied/pasted, he found himself wishing for a language that would separate document form from document content. Zsolt spent the last two years in Hungary, working to establish a start-up We extend a warm welcome to chapter members who are joining STC for the first time, rejoining, or have transferred from another chapter. New Members ❏ Ellyn Adler ❏ Robert Angeroth ❏ Taneisha Blyden ❏ Kristen Deiter ❏ Christine Dobos ❏ Marteki Dodoo ❏ Michael Drust ❏ Patricia Gage ❏ Alyse S. Halpin ❏ Robin Hausmann ❏ Marita Hurst ❏ Brian D. Keefer ❏ Christopher Laing ❏ Marisa A. Lenci ❏ Nadia M. Moro ❏ William T. Van Oroen ❏ Susann Philbrook ❏ Jennifer M. Radich ❏ Kim Reeder ❏ Gordon T. Rodger ❏ David J. Ruth ❏ Brian D. Schulman ❏ Sheryl L. Slopey ❏ Samantha E. Swanson ❏ Cheryl L. Venit ❏ Mike Walsh ❏ David E. Yelenchic ❏ Ellen Zohil The total number of members as of May 1 is 356. Senior Members Congratulations to the following members who have achieved senior status. ❏ Susan J. Camuso ❏ Deborah DePorter ❏ Richard Feldesman ❏ Patricia Gage ❏ Lois A. Harwood ❏ Jason D. Langkamer-Smit ❏ Julia Webber Membership Update (Continued on page 15)
  7. 7. June/July/August 2004 7 NEWS & VIEWS The tour will have two pickup locations: one at the Philadelphia Visitor’s Center, 8th and Race Streets, and one at the Plymouth Meeting Mall, (Germantown Pike–West/Plymouth Rd; Exit 20 PA Turnpike or Exit 331B on I-476) where people can park their cars. 9:00 am Pick up at Plymouth Meeting Mall.* 10:00 am Pick up at Philadelphia Visitor's Center, 8th and Race St.). 10:00 am–12:00 pm Mural Tour (Center City Highlights) 12:00 pm–12:15 pm Return to Philadelphia Visitor's Center. 1:00 pm The suburban group leaves at the conclusion of the tour (no lunch break). Center City participants can get together for an optional group lunch after the tour. 1:30 pm Arrive at Plymouth Meeting Mall. (Leaving the city immedi- ately after the tour.) Mural Tour Itinerary: * Suburban travelers must return on the shuttle to Plymouth. Information Design in Philadelphia Exploring: A Trolley Tour of Center City's Murals by Gloria Reisman f you've ever strolled around Center City, you can't miss the color-coded street map signs strategi- cally located to help you find your way around town. These signs are part of the largest pedestrian Wayfinding system in North America, Walk!Philadelphia, with over 2,200 sign and map faces designed by Philadelphia- based Joel Katz Design company. As professional information designers, it's often helpful if not inspiring to explore what others are doing in the areas of information design and graphic design. Last spring, STC-PMC invited Amy Gendler of Joel Katz Design to present on Wayfinding, information design for people navigating in buildings, cities and public spaces. As an extension of our look at information design in Philadephia, we invite STC members, friends and families to explore a selection of Philadelphia's exterior building murals on a Trolley Tour of Center City. Murals not only enhance an area visually, they have the effect of bringing a community together. Robin Eisenberg, STC member and mural tour docent, will lead the two-hour trolley tour and share insights on the murals and their transformative powers. Robin explains, “As in technical communications, the process is as important as the end result in mural making. Each mural requires the artists to listen to the interests and needs of the community in which the mural is located, and to design a work that reflects their desires while raising their sights higher, broadening their understanding, and providing them with a lasting and inspiring product. For those of us who have similar ambitions in technical documentation, imagine doing this on a 3-story wall, in the middle of the summer, with a whole community watching!” Philadelphia’s murals began as an anti- graffiti program in the 1990s, and evolved into the nationally recognized Philadelphia Mural Arts Program (PMAP). The program’s mission is not only to create art; PMAP's mission is to “design and create murals of enduring value while actively engaging youth in the process.” Under the leadership of Jane Golden, Director of PMAP, Philadelphia has gained the distinction of being the U.S. city with the most murals. Please join us for this special tour and learn why our tour guide, Robin Eisenberg and many others believe, “One mural is a miracle of collaboration, vision, color, and place; 2,300 murals is a testament to human occupation and hope for a peaceful future.” Registration: Registration forms and flyers can be found at The cost for the two-hour tour is $18.25 per person. Seats are limited, so sign up to reserve your seats early! Bring your entire family. We must receive your check by October 1st. Please make checks payable to: STC-PMC and mail them to Gary Samartino, c/o Infoventions, 12 W. Market Street Suite 200, West Chester, PA 19382. Special thanks to Chelsea Gaillard of Merck for coordinating this program. ■ October 9, 2004 Saturday, “One mural is a miracle of collaboration, vision, color, and place; 2,300 murals is a testament to human occupation and hope for a peaceful future.”
  8. 8. NEWS & VIEWS 8 June/July/August 2004 One Technical Communicator’s Experience with Offshoring by Wayne Kroger was pleased when I found out that our STC chapter wanted to hold a panel discussion on offshoring of jobs at the March 20th annual con- ference. No topic could be timelier. To say that this is a hot-button issue is an under- statement. It affects the type of work we do, how much we will get paid for what we do, the duties within our jobs as technical communicators, and even whether or not we will be employed in this field at all. All of the issues we need to be mindful of in our employment situations – continuing education and/ or retraining, working with diverse audiences, and adapting our work duties to suit the needs of our employer, among others – take on a much bigger significance when working with an offshoring contractor. Your employer will be continually evaluating your ability and skill set against that of the contractor in search of the fastest and cheapest means to complete the task at hand. How Do I Know About This? Before I start, I should let you know where I’m coming from on this issue. I worked as a technical writer for many years, and I received my degree way before the current PC software was ever conceived. I acquired knowledge of applications independent of my job, though I am largely self-taught in the workplace. I say this because some of what I say may be self-evident to those who acquired an extensive knowledge of software tools prior to beginning their professional employment. My employer uses an offshoring contractor to deliver documentation for our support services organization. I work to complete my own deliverables, of course, but I must also coordinate the work of the offshoring contractor. Issue Context We are all aware of the impact of offshoring on our industry, either from news reports or first hand experience in our jobs. It is primarily an economic issue, although there is a political context to it also. Employers can use offshoring to eliminate onsite, permanent jobs in technical writing, editing, or other documentation- related functions, or employers can use offshoring to supplement an in-house documentation function. As I write this, I am fortunate to be included in the latter category, though there was a time when I thought I’d be in the former category. One person might tell you that it is in the best interest of businesses to do this because it reduces the cost of a function that, for many, does not generate revenue. This person can even provide information from a government agency’s Website that will help employers do this, thus returning greater shareholder value (or so the thinking goes). Another person might criticize “Benedict Arnold CEOs” for offshoring jobs at a time when 375,000 people exhausted their unemployment benefits in January while Congress refused to grant a 13-week benefit extension. As you have probably guessed by now, the truth, as usual, is somewhere in the middle. I think the most instructive thing to do at this point is to provide some guidelines to keep in mind when dealing with offshoring in your workplace. Put Aside Resentment If you are unemployed or were for any length of time (as I was), it would be natural to harbor some kind of dislike for individuals who have either come from overseas or currently reside in another country to do work that can be done very capably by individuals who already live here. In my experience, people who receive work through offshoring understand the opportunity they have and work as hard as they can to capitalize on it. If we received such an opportunity, wouldn’t we do the same thing? The opportunity was given to them by the employer, and in this day and age, we have very little to say about that. As we know by now, most employers look at documentation professionals as “language police.” I say this because, individuals doing our work who are native to offshore countries (or possibly in this country on an H1B or TN work visa or applying for citizenship) might not have as thorough a command of the English language as we would like. This should not be a surprise. Actually, the same can be said of many individuals who are native to this country and, by all accounts, have received an advanced education. I’ve always found it best to cut some slack for individuals who are struggling to communicate in English, especially when it is not their primary language. For that reason (and also if I’m working under a time crunch), I may decline to make some minor edits in order for the project to make a completion date early in the development life cycle. If an article happens to be missing from a sentence, or if there is improper capitalization, I may actually let those types of edits slip and concentrate on whether the technical subject matter has been communicated as precisely as possible. This partly depends on whether the target audience consists of individuals who are not attuned to the nuances of language and care only about the (Continued on page 9)
  9. 9. June/July/August 2004 9 NEWS & VIEWS process flow diagrams, bullet point charts, and Executive Summary. I would however consider improper syntax, punctuation, or changes from active to passive voice major edits. Am I encouraging sloth or bad writing? No, I’m being practical. If I show a little latitude with a non-native author struggling with English early in the development life cycle, that author may realize that I was trying to cut them a bit of a break and help me out later, maybe by working overtime one night to perform some simple user acceptance testing one more time on a help file that I’d authored. Understand Skill Set of Contractors I’ve worked with a variety of contractors in my career. Some were particularly skilled at defining business processes related to documentation, mapping business needs to functional requirements, and working directly with diverse audiences. Others were plainly on the wrong career path and should have been doing something else. Most individuals I’ve worked with in an offshoring capacity, however, have excellent software tool knowledge and understand the concepts well enough to use that knowledge for translating software functionality into user-based material. These individuals generally have a difficult time with the nuances and idioms of the English language. The offshoring contractors I’ve worked with have been willing to impart some of their knowledge to me as I imparted some of my knowledge to them in the process of completing an assignment. The lesson is to understand what the offshoring contractor “brings to the table” to complete a task for which you are at least partly responsible. If you look for ways to complement that person’s experience with your own, it will help everyone to deliver a product on time and (hopefully) under budget. In that event, you should have a solid working relationship with a reliable partner for the next assignment. Know When to Draw the Line I don’t know about you, but project planning is not something I enjoy. The reality is that working with an offshore vendor requires greater project planning than working with or reporting to others in an in-house relationship. Communicating issues or performing project-related tasks with an offshore third party requires a greater degree of flexibility within your own schedule and an awareness of cultural differences. It also requires that you keep in mind the deadlines for your own work at all times. Here’s why: if you’re a sole writer working with an offshore contractor, you WILL end up doing leg work for this person (chasing down subject matter experts, searching for source data, participating in conference calls for the contractor’s project because you’ll own it when the contractor is finished, etc.). This is not the fault of the contractor. It is frequently the fault of individuals who make little or no effort to share information that emerges from a project-related meeting that the contractor is unable to attend. It is easy to find yourself slipping on the deadlines for your own work because you’re doing leg work for the contractor. We all know what the repercussions are when this happens, so we must continually guard against it. Understand the Contractor’s Work Ethic At the risk of sounding pejorative, here is what I mean. Again, based on my experience, a documentation professional employed in a full-time, permanent capacity for an employer is more inclined to express concerns or objections over an unreasonable project deadline, inability to meet with subject matter experts, difficulty with obtaining the latest version of a particular software application related to documentation, than a contractor. The employee will speak up immediately, partly because the employee will frequently end up supporting the deliverable from the contractor and will have to resolve any fallout that may arise subsequent to the deliverable’s initial release. I believe this is the correct thing to do. Here is something to consider, though. I’ve spoken with several contracting individuals over the last few years, two of whom worked for offshoring companies. They emphasized that they were hired to complete a pre-defined set of tasks in a limited amount of time (basically “hired guns”). This means that they really aren’t able to say no to deadlines in most cases because they might lose the contract. Companies capitalize on this, as well as the obvious saving in employee benefits and the fact that they can use offshoring as leverage for holding down salaries of their permanent, onsite employees. In Closing Some industry analysts who watch the current migration of IT jobs offshore wonder if this is a short-term or long-term trend. Other firms, such as Gartner and Forrester, embrace it with what I consider an almost perverse enthusiasm. Since I am not an expert in business management (and as I mentioned earlier, I am not a politician), I will simply leave these facts for what they are and allow you to draw your own conclusions. I would like to close with this anecdote. I am currently working with a highly skilled technical writer who came to our Princeton office in December, learned about his project (including all client requirements, met with many subject matter experts, developed a working prototype and presented it twice to senior management, incorporating all suggested changes after the first presentation. After doing this, he One Technical Communicator’s Experience with Offshoring (Continued from page 8) (Continued on page 10)
  10. 10. NEWS & VIEWS 10 June/July/August 2004 Crossword Puzzle by Zsolt Olah ACROSS 1 Search engine 6 Songbird or head in the Hood. Not riding but not red 11 Clothes-protecting garment worn in the kitchen 12 On the far side of something 13 RE 14 A coat you wouldn’t stick to 15 BN 16 Repetitive oil-producing exercise 19 AR 20 Do it better with cells 23 Slogan: Life’s Good 25 Two sticks 26 Beginning of a month 27 NE 28 Kid’s hated word (backward) 29 “Scrambled” son 30 Bud’s preference in the mouth 32 GUPHM 34 For’s buddy in cycling 35 AMORT 38 CW 39 Session cracker on the hard drive 41 OA 42 Fake telecommunication tool 43 Herb 45 A business give-and-take 46 Head doctor DOWN 1 Official term for digging in our society’s trash 2 Unassigned bug 3 A gate, where the outcome is having fun if any of the inputs is high 4 Once upon a time there was the “_”, the bad, and the ugly 5 Natural logarithm (One would think it’s naturally “nl”, eh?) 6 Some surface that reflects 7 OYL 8 Utterance of disapproval 9 Tavern 10 What’s common in neodymium and North Dakota? (No, not the “least visited state”) 12 “_” Canto: A style of operatic singing characterized by full, even tones, and a brilliant display of vocal technique 14 TIR 17 One who makes the clouds cry 18 Bedtime exercise 21 XTA 22 ENT 24 The Free Software Foundation’s favorite large African antelope 25 Makes a beam smiling with optimism 31 Sweden’s internet address 33 It’s in the pudding eating 34 Ten feet equals fifty this 36 MIY 37 Shedding material 38 Hard currency 39 CHF 40 Odd number 42 River in Italy 43 BH 44 SI 1 G 2 O 3 O 4 G 5 L E 6 R 7 O 8 B 9 I 10 N 11 A P R O N 12 B E Y O N D 13 R E O 14 T E F L O N 15 B N 16 D 17 R I L L 18 S O 19 A R 20 E 21 X C 22 E L 23 L 24 G 25 I I 26 O C T 27 N E 28 O N 29 S N O 30 T A 31 S T E 32 G U 33 P H M 34 T O E P Y R 35 A 36 M O R 37 T 38 C W 39 C O 40 O K I E E 41 O A 42 P H O N E Y 43 B A 44 S I L 45 O F F E R 46 S H R I N K returned to his Mumbai location in early February to begin working remotely on the final product. A week or so before he left, he found out that his mother had become seriously ill. He had a heavy workload at the time to complete the suggested changes to the prototype, getting it ready for the second presentation. He did all of his assigned work and the prototype was ready on time, to almost universal satisfaction. The day after the second presentation, he boarded a plane for a 20-hour flight back to his country and province of origin. He completed his work under what any of us would consider extraordinary circumstances. ■ Guidelines: Not your typical crossword. Some of the definitions may be be vague, associative, even funny. A single word CAPITALIZED (e.g., across 32) is your guide. Use it ‘as is’. Solution on p. 14 One Technical Communicator’s Experience with Offshoring (Continued from page 9)
  11. 11. June/July/August 2004 11 NEWS & VIEWS management is yet another segment; however, these systems also have limited functionality because they focus solely on managing graphics and multimedia content. The segment that is getting a significant amount of attention today is enterprise content management. However, it is really the latest industry buzzword and has yet to be defined. Some research analysts view enterprise content management more as a strategy than a solution, whereas other analysts define it as a solution that encompasses the functionality of Web content management, document management, records management, digital imaging, and digital asset management. The segment that best solves the needs of technical writers is single- source content management, sometimes referred to as component- level content management. This system stores content in “chunks” and offers multiple levels of granularity. It is best suited for organizations that reuse an abundance of content, whether it is text, graphics, or multimedia, and repurpose it to multiple media channels, such as print, Web or CD-ROM. Going back to our earlier example of producing user manuals for 10 models of digital cameras, if you had a single-source content management system in place, you would save a tremendous amount of time and eliminate the headache of manually going back to each document to revise the instruction. A single-source content management system would store the instruction one time in its centralized repository, allowing it to be easily reused in each one of the 10 user manuals. When one instance of the content is updated—in this example the instruction—the content management system would flag the nine other instances so that you could make a global change instantaneously in every manual. What should you look for in a content management system? Technical writers have different needs than a Website manager or marketing manager. Most of the content developed for marketing and sales collateral or Websites usually comes from the documentation created by technical writers. A key benefit of a single-source content management system is that it was designed to solve the challenges of technical writers, such as managing and reusing content across a variety of documentation, but it also solves the issues of managing and publishing content to the Web or CD-ROM. When evaluating content management vendors, here are some things that you should ask them to ensure their system meets your requirements. Does the content management system offer single-source functionality? When asking this question, there are two points you should keep in mind. First, make sure the content management system will enable you to store your content once in a centralized database and easily create, manage, and publish that content to multiple media formats. Second, make sure that the content management system will allow you to store your content in “chunks,” such as paragraphs, chapters, or sections, so that you can easily repurpose your chunks of content across your documentation, including user manuals, technical documentation, or scientific and reference materials. Does the content management system integrate with XML editing and authoring tools? As a technical writer, you probably use an XML editing and authoring tool, such as Arbortext Epic Editor, Adobe FrameMaker, or BlastRadius XMetaL. You should look for a content management system that seamlessly integrates with these tools. Some of them even enable technical writers to work from their favorite XML authoring and editing tool’s environment without having to be trained on the content management software. Does the content management system provide workflow functionality? In addition to giving you more control over your information assets and empowering you to reuse and repurpose your content on the fly, some content management systems can also improve efficiency and productivity by automating your workflow process. A content management system that offers workflow functionality will allow only authorized users to access, update, edit, and review the content. The system automates the process through checkpoints and email notifications. For example, each department or user within your organization is given their task and is alerted via email when their task is ready to be performed. The content is checked out to a user until it is approved; and at that point, the next user (or users) in the workflow will have access to it. Does the content management system handle multilingual content? If you have multilingual documentation, you should look for a content management that has full Unicode support. Unicode is a universal character encoding system that allows languages with unique character sets (such as Chinese or Korean) to be displayed on screen. This functionality of a content management system can help you manage your multilingual content because it stores all of your content in any language in its centralized repository. The content management system links the multilingual versions of the content with the corresponding Managing Content from a Single Source (Continued from page 1) (Continued on page 12)
  12. 12. NEWS & VIEWS 12 June/July/August 2004 English version of the content. When a change is made to the English content, the system will automatically flag the same piece of content in the multilingual versions to show that the translation needs to be made in the other languages. This significantly reduces organizations’ translation costs because instead of having entire documents translated over and over again, they only need to have the updated chunks of content translated. Does the content management system provide an audit trail? Compliance is becoming a key issue that most organizations need to address today, and, often, this trickles down to the technical documentation department. A content management system that provides audit trail capabilities can help you address these regulations because it keeps track of the content that was changed, where it was changed, when it was changed, and the person who changed it. Some systems also track all versions of the content, allowing you to reinstate previous versions if necessary. ■ A b o u t t h e A u t h o r Suzanne Mescan is Vason Systems’ Vice President of Marketing for its Vasont software, a content management system for cross-media publishing that enables enterprises to create, manage, and publish content across numerous media channels. She has more than seventeen years of experience in the information management and publishing fields. Content Management Systems Types Definition Capabilities Digital Asset Management The system stores digital files, such as digital photos or multimedia clips, in a centralized database and allows them to be archived, searched, and reused. Manages and repurposes graphics, sound and multimedia clips; however, it does not address the management or repurposing of your text content. Document Management The system centralizes and manages electronic documents. Provides file management functionality by organizing and storing entire documents, not “chunks” or components of content; moreover, it does not allow for reuse and repurposing of the chunks of content. Enterprise Content Management This is an emerging category within content management that still is not clearly defined. Some analysts view it as a strategy, not a solution; however, others state that it incorporates the functionality of other content management systems, including digital asset management, Web content management, and document management, as well as document imaging and records management. Note: Enterprise content management is an emerging category with varying definitions from research analysts and vendors. There is inconsistency on the market today on what capabilities an enterprise content management system should provide. Single-Source Content Management The system stores content as “chunks” one time in a centralized repository and enables users to create, manage, and repurpose their content to multiple media formats, including print, Web, and CD-ROM. Empowers organizations that produce and frequently update volumes of content, such as technical documentation, user manuals, and scientific or reference materials, to easily manage and repurpose chunks of content across any type of documentation independent of the media format. Web Content Management The system manages the Web pages of an organization’s Websites. Enables organizations to better control and publish the digital and text content that exists on their Websites. Managing Content from a Single Source (Continued from page 1)
  13. 13. June/July/August 2004 13 NEWS & VIEWS STC-PMC Members at the Conference! STC-PMC membership to corporate community and to the local universities. We can make a better effort to inform the employers in our area what the STC is about, why we are a good resource for them, and why STC membership matters for their employees. We need to improve and increase our public relations and marketing effort and promote everything that the chapter is doing. “If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” —Benjamin Franklin Our chapter should establish a student scholarship program, and become a better partner for the educational institutions in our area, a bridge between the student life and the professional life. “Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.” —Franklin D. Roosevelt I would like to see our STC-PMC Competition expand to more categories. We should be recognizing more types of the excellent work that is done by our hundreds of members. “Hide not your talents, they for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade?” —Benjamin Franklin Everything that you or I want to do, together as a chapter, relies on our participation in these activities. As active STC-PMC members, we benefit through networking opportunities, social experiences, and various skills that we can add or practice while we are achieving something useful for our professional community. “It is a shameful thing to be weary of inquiry when what we search for is excellent.” —Cicero We want to schedule monthly programs that provide real value to you, our members, and we want more members to take advantage of these great opportunities. I think you’ll be pleased, and perhaps surprised, by the roster of programs that we are planning this year! “It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best.” —W. Edwards Deming I have already discussed partnering with a neighboring STC chapter for our annual chapter conference. There is enthusiasm for this idea, and it could help us make the STC-PMC Annual Conference even bigger and better than it has been. (And it was excellent this year!) We can also consider cooperating with other area organizations in bringing specialized workshops to our area. “It is common sense to take a method and try it; if it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.” —Franklin D. Roosevelt Transformation is coming to STC. This is in the early stages now, and making progress. We’ll bring you more information about this transformation in the coming months. ■ “Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted.” —Groucho Marx (Continued from page 3)
  14. 14. NEWS & VIEWS 14 June/July/August 2004 the perfect solution: Jared Spool, one of the top user interface gurus in the country. Excited as any techno-writer geek, I booked him in a flash and thought we had the main task all wrapped up. But as summer turned to fall, and we started to really talk about issues at the leader's meetings, the topic of our conversations was not about user interface at all. Instead, it was about providing value to members, about the sluggish (almost nonexistent, in fact) job market, about so many things that were not related to software. So I took a hard look at our keynote speaker—a speaker whose subject is near and dear to my tech writer heart—and regretfully canceled. With suggestions from fellow PMC leaders in hand, I eventually settled on Ann Rockley, who was enthusiastically recommended by PMC's new President, Steve Lungren. From speaker to marketing, our conference began to take shape. The call for proposals hit the streets in late January, with an extended deadline to make up for the late mailing. We received some great responses—all interesting and covering a variety of topics. We confirmed speakers in February. But Nad Rosenberg, our President at the time, wanted more. Nad wanted to talk about offshoring. She had been following discussions about this topic nationally and, with her usual foresight, knew that it would be a riveting topic for our conference. I admit, I wasn't so sure we could pull it off, both logistically and politically (face it, this is a volatile topic and we hadn't taken on such a challenge in my history with STC). Nevertheless, Nad convinced me. And so began the great scramble for panelists who could provide significant and informative contributions to the panel. The scramble continued until two weeks before the conference, with Nad and me alternating between confidence and skepticism that we'd be able to put it all together in time. As the panelists signed on, the excitement about this topic escalated. In the end, the offshoring panel garnered the most attendees for any session during the conference and rated high in attendee satisfaction. Meantime, back at conference central, I enlisted the help of Pamela Klassen, Lori Corbett, Steve Lungren, Nad Rosenberg, Jill Cassidy, and Gloria Reisman, among others, to help with all the tasks necessary to make the big day run smoothly and successfully. In fact, they did most of the work in this area, thankfully! But I wasn't sitting back yet. We still had scheduling to do, email questions to answer, Websites to update, and more. And there were last minute speaker cancellations as well as facility and catering issues to resolve. The program itself was prepared by Lois Shank. And then a personal disaster struck; I had to drop everything to rush home for a death in the family. For the Conference, that meant that everyone pulled together to pick up the tasks I could no longer complete. Without the help of Nad and Lori, especially, this conference would have flopped. Lori, who lives and works near me, bore the brunt of the errand-running and last minute details. She, as usual, finished them with her typical efficiency. Nad had to pick up speaker and vendor duties and make sure everything went well at the conference. In typical Nad style, she did so with grace and ease. I have only secondhand accounts of the Conference itself, but I understand that it was the best one ever, with great vendors, thought-provoking sessions, and wonderful companions in communication. And it's no surprise because the PMC team works so well together and truly goes above and beyond to ensure success. A huge thanks to all who worked on this Conference— you are the reason it was successful. And thank you, too, to the participants, whether you were a speaker, vendor, or attendee. Good job to all! Passing the Challenge to You I bet you thought I forgot about the second part of this article…ha! Not so easy to distract me with the glories of the Conference. And those glories, both behind the scenes and front and center, could all be yours next year. I'm planning to step down as Conference Chairperson and am searching for someone who is interested in what this Conference could be. A challenge? You betcha! Why not? It's fun, it's prestigious (in its own way!), and it's fascinating. There are volunteers who are willing and ready to help you, and I'm sure there are all kinds of ideas just clamoring to take shape. Why not see what you can do with it? I dare you! Contact me at if you'd like to talk about it. ■ Closing Thoughts from the Conference Manager (Continued from page 4) Puzzle Solution 1 G 2 O 3 O 4 G 5 L E 6 R 7 O 8 B 9 I 10 N 11 A P R O N 12 B E Y O N D 13 R E O 14 T E F L O N 15 B N 16 D 17 R I L L 18 S O 19 A R 20 E 21 X C 22 E L 23 L 24 G 25 I I 26 O C T 27 N E 28 O N 29 S N O 30 T A 31 S T E 32 G U 33 P H M 34 T O E P Y R 35 A 36 M O R 37 T 38 C W 39 C O 40 O K I E E 41 O A 42 P H O N E Y 43 B A 44 S I L 45 O F F E R 46 S H R I N K “Instead, it was about providing value to members, about the sluggish (almost nonexistent, in fact) job market, about so many things that were not related to software.”
  15. 15. June/July/August 2004 15 NEWS & VIEWS office for Kudos Information. It began with six technical writers and in two years grew to twenty-five. Zsolt says, “With some risk of an overstatement, I can say that we established the standards of technical communication in Hungary, where documentation was always considered the necessary evil.” There, people will open a box containing electrical equipment to make sure the product is inside, sometimes even plugging it in to see if it works. “One of the most challenging tasks at Kudos Hungary was to introduce e-learning/WBT solutions to the region. If anybody had e-learning or WBT, it was about PDF and Word published online, and users would print them out anyway.” Zsolt's responsibilities included pre-sales, design, development, and eventually, training. By partnering with Oracle Hungary (who provided the e-learning management system, iLearning), Kudos provided the content and positioned itself as a content management company. The market for content management was wide open, and as a result Kudos (along with Oracle and HP) won an “e-learning tender of Pepsi Americas Group, a complete e-learning solution in four countries, including hands-on training for local participants.” They provided the content and taught staff how to create e-learning applications with Macromedia Authorware using AICC and SCORM protocol. For more information visit the following site: studies/elearning_implementation_ at_pepsiamericas_central_europe_ group.asp. Zsolt is also credited with designing and teaching the first information design curriculum in Central Europe. “With the help of Coventry University (UK) Kudos and the English and American Studies at the Debrecen University Hungary, we started the first information design course in English in the region.” For more information visit the following site: case_studies/ information_design_specialisation_at_ debrecen_university.asp. As if this busy artist, puzzler, teacher, tech writer has time for anything else, he became a member of STC last year. He was introduced to STC internationally, as his position at Kudos was found through the STC job board. He is looking forward to attending this year's annual conference in Baltimore, saying that “it's important to keep up with the trends, meet others, and recharge…if we create a knowledge base and network of people with similar interests we can make our lives much easier.” One of my favorite questions for the STC-PMC member in the “spotlight” pertains to their vision for technical communication's future and their impression of its past. Zsolt did not disappoint. From his primary school days, he remembers writing programs in BASIC on paper, running them in his head, and debugging them on paper. This enabled him to maximize his scheduled time on the one Commmodore 64 in his school. Continuing with this theme, hardware limitations caused him many anxious hours surrounding his dissertation. He is happy to see that computers themselves have become smaller, more capable, and more reliable. Zsolt envisions that twenty years from now technology and society will live as one, with interface/interactive designers and technical communicators part of the creating process together. Technical communicators could be working with reusable object modules, enabling time to focus on content rather than formatting. He knows that no matter what direction our field takes, his “curiosity forced by the never-ending desire to learn something new,” topped by a creative flair, will always keep [him] working on new projects. No matter what technology brings, the human factor will always play a major part in technical communication.” He imagines single sourcing will really be single sourcing. Maybe one intelligent help system (an AI?) will run under the operating system and all software would just plug into their documentation and help in this one knowledge base. Once again, I am reminded of how complex our members are, how many of us have hidden talents and capabilities that are not seen at a first glance. Zsolt is an excellent example of how the details of a life in technical communication combine beautifully with the exuberance of creativity. He is a chapter treasure, and we hope he will stay with us for many years, keeping us entertained and challenged. ■ M AN J I RO I n t e r n at i o n a l Internationalization Localization Translation • Technical publications • Multilingual web sites • Software applications Call for a free phone consultation Phone: 267-972-1034 Zsolt Olah—Blending Technical Communication and Creativity (Continued from page 6)
  16. 16. Newsletter Address News & Views Lori Corbett 834 Westridge Dr. Phoenixville, PA 19460 First Class Mail NEWS & VIEWS 16 June/July/August 2004 Deadline for next issue: August 15 A Look Inside... ❏ Check out the photos from the STC-PMC's trip to the 51st Annual STC Conference in Baltimore on page 5 and page 13. ❏ Content management and single sourcing are two of the hottest topics in technical communication today. Learn what these topics are all about in Suzanne Mescan's article on page 1. ❏ Meet out new president, Steven Lungren, in his premier article as president of our chapter on page 3. ❏ Read several articles about our chapter's fantastic, successful annual conference this past March, starting on page 4. ❏ The STC has planned a number of very interesting Phone Seminars. See the list of upcoming seminars on page 5. ❏ Meet STC-PMC's puzzle master, Zsolt Olah, in Jill Cassidy Rolette's member spotlight on page 6. ❏ Looking to do something a little different for fun and education. Join us as we explore Philadelphia's murals. See page 7 for details. ❏ Wayne Kroger was unable to attend the Conference in March, but he has provided us with some interesting insights about offshoring in his article on page 8. ❏ Test your crossword puzzle skills in Zsolt Olah's latest presentation on page 10. Upcoming Meetings The information in the following table was correct at the time News & Views was published. Be sure to check the Website ( for details and late-breaking updates to the schedule. For all Thursday meetings, reservations are due by the Monday before the meeting. Date Meeting Topic Location September 23, 2004 Using Personas to Connect With Your Audience by Whitney Quesenbery Doubletree Inn, Plymouth Meeting October 9, 2004 Philadephia Mural Tour (see article on page 7) Philadelphia, PA October 21, 2004 XML as a Byproduct of Structured Content presented by John Hawkins Holiday Inn, Cherry Hill, NJ March 2005 Third Annual Philadelphia Metro Conference Penn State University, Great Valley, PA May 8–11, 2005 STC’s 52nd Annual Conference Seattle, Washington I M P O R T A N T N O T I C E ! Due to rising printing costs, distribution of News & Views needs to change. After this issue, newsletters will be mailed only to those members who specifically request a printed copy. When the newsletter is posted to the STC-PMC Website, an email blast will be sent to all members who have email addresses on the STC membership list. To receive a printed letter, please send your request to Lori Corbett, Managing Editor, at or to her at 834 Westridge Dr., Phoenixville, PA 19460.