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DOC Tables of Contents: 858688899091929394959697989900010203040506

ACM 14th International Conference on Systems Documentation

Fullname:14th International Conference on Systems Documentation
Note:Marshalling New Technological Forces: Building a Corporate, Academic, and User-Oriented Triangle
Location:Research Triangle Park, NC
Dates:1996-Oct-20 to 1996-Oct-23
Standard No:ISBN 0-89791-799-5; ACM Order Number 613960; ACM DL: Table of Contents hcibib: DOC96
  1. 1: Student-Based Student Learning
  2. 2: Accessing and Customizing Our Tools
  3. 3: Writing for Virtual Audiences
  4. 4: Managing Projects and Processes
  5. 5: Structuring Documentation
  6. 6: Building Documentation Architectures
  7. 7: Evaluating Our Tools
  8. 8: Reusing Documentation, One More Time
  9. 9: Moving Print Online
  10. 10: Communicating Visually
  11. 11: Anticipating Online Audiences
  12. 12: Managing Change, Introducing Innovation
  13. 13: Reusing Documentation, One More Time (II)
  14. 14: Controlling Information Online
  15. 15: Designing New Information Theories
  16. 16: Designing Web Materials for Multiple Audiences

1: Student-Based Student Learning

Working with Academe BIBAPDF 1-2
  Stephanie Copp
In 1995, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) and the University of Waterloo forged a new type of relationship. CIBC worked with the University to provide parts of its Technical Writing course (English 210E). It is the first in Canada to be taught entirely on the Internet simultaneously to on-campus and distance education students. CIBC provided the University of Waterloo course with the perspective, experience and viewpoint of workplace technical communication while the university gave CIBC SGML/HTML training and a glimpse into the possible future of corporate communication and learning. This unique arrangement is just one way corporate Canada can work with academe to their mutual benefit.
Multiple Media Publishing in SGML BIBAPDF 3-9
  Paul Prescod
In recent years, authors of scholarly materials have had to choose between a bewildering number of formats for information distribution. Some formats, such as Microsoft Word's file format or PostScript, assured excellent print quality. Others, like the Web's HTML and Microsoft's Windows Help Format, allowed fast electronic distribution. None allowed for optimal print and online representation. To compound the problem, new formats are being created every day. The Internet world had seen gopher, HTML, HTML 2.0, HTML 3.0, HTML 3.2, Hyper-G's HTF, and Adobe's PDF. In the print world, PostScript, WordPerfect, MS Word 2.0, MS Word 6.0, and Rich Text Format have vied for favor. The University of Waterloo English Department successfully used the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) to transcend these "notation wars" and deliver high quality World Wide Web and print documentation for on-campus and distance education students. We found the system robust enough that we also taught students to use SGML for multimedia publishing in a four-month course in technical writing, English 210E.
Navigational Issues and Strategies in Non-Linear Online Education BIBAPDF 11-15
  Beth Woof
This paper describes the strategies and tools instructors can provide in order to help students successfully navigate fully interactive online university-level courses. Unlike traditional on-campus lecture courses, learning via the World Wide Web is non-linear in nature and requires a different set of skills both for instructors and students. While this method appears, at times, unconventional by academic standards, there are significant pedagogical advantages. As technology develops, offline education will become not only easier to deliver but essential for learners in the 21st century.
   The concepts presented in this paper represent the knowledge and experience collected from one and a half years of pioneering in online education. In the fall of 1995, the University of Waterloo offered a second year course titled "Technical Writing" (ENGL210E) which was offered entirely via the World Wide Web. The course may be viewed by accessing the following home page: http://watarts.uwaterloo.ca/ENGLlcourses/engl210e
Learning from a Distance BIBAPDF 17-22
  Kern R. Pageau
Learning from a distance using current technology is rapidly becoming the method of choice for an ever increasing number of people. New technology is shaping our lives and through learning about the technology we will better understand how to adjust to the many changes it creates. For some change has created opportunity and for others fear. People who recognize and adapt to change easily have the advantage, they are the Life Long learners constantly preparing themselves for the wonders and challenges that lay ahead.
   The following report describes my experiences over the past year as a Distance Education student taking technical writing courses through the internet at the University of Waterloo Ontario. My reason for taking University courses through Distance Education were due to the changes occurring in my life at the time and the seeds I planted in order to counter-balance those changes.

2: Accessing and Customizing Our Tools

Rethinking the Reference Manual: Using Database Technology on the WWW to Provide Complete, High-Volume Reference Information Without Overwhelming Your Readers BIBAPDF 23-28
  Michael Priestley; Luc Chamberland; Julian Jones
The IBM Open Class Library Reference for VisualAge for C++ spans five thick volumes, with over 5000 pages of information. It documents the 1500 C++ classes of the Open Class Library, with all their behavior and data, and usage notes for the five different platforms (OS/2, Windows NT/95, AIX, OS/400, and MVS/ESA) on which the libraries are available. These class libraries allow application developers to use a common code base to develop native applications for multiple platforms.
Customizing Tools to Manage Complex Online Help Development BIBAPDF 29-34
  Darren Carlton; Margaret E. Harmsen
At Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP), we build Windows online help systems using a mix of off-the-shelf and in-house tools. Our ability to create and modify our in-house tools -- a Lotus Notes database and a Folio VIEWS infobase -- is key to our success in managing help development in a dynamic environment. Because developing online help promises to become ever more complex, especially with the increasing use of animation, sound, and other media, information developers must master the skills to create and modify their help development tools. Project managers must also provide information developers with the time to learn and experiment with the technologies at hand.
   In this paper, we juxtapose a discussion of our experience as information developers of complex help systems against a general discussion of organizational innovation. As a framework for our discussion, we introduce some principles of the sociotechnical systems (STS) approach to implementing technology in organizations:
  • Participation - involve team members in changing the technology and the work
  • Continuous learning - promote training and opportunities for learning
  • Experimentation - encourage experimentation that adapts technology to the
       task at hand
  • Communication - make sure everyone has access to the information they need to
       do their jobs
  • Self-regulation and autonomy - locate decision-making with the team members
       doing the task See Johnson & Rice (1987. pp. 108-110) for a discussion of STS.
  • 3: Writing for Virtual Audiences

    Technical Writing on the Web -- Distributed SGML-Based Learning BIBPDF 35-41
      Paul Beam; Peter Goldsworthy
    Documenting Virtual Communities BIBAKPDF 43-49
      Scott R. Tilley; Dennis B. Smith
    This paper describes the use of virtual communities in fostering collaborative research partnerships. It discusses the explosive growth in global networking infrastructure and the use of the World Wide Web (WWW) as both a documentation tool and as an active vehicle for unifying collaborative efforts. A pilot project, the Virtual Reengineering Community, is presented to illustrative the concept.
    Keywords: Global research partnerships, Virtual communities, World Wide Web

    4: Managing Projects and Processes

    Like Topsy, It Just Grew: Students and Staff Make a Collaborative Documentation Project Work BIBAPDF 51-56
      Elwin N., Jr. McKellar; Ginga K. Dwyer; Gaylin J. Walli; Patricia L. Calomeni
    Our paper tells the tale of the ADDOC Team which sprang to life four years ago, the product of perceived needs and fertile imaginations. Today, the team resembles the original group in dynamic energy and dedication to purpose. Much has changed, however, and this paper attempts to explain both the changes and the reasons for them.
    Decision Making: A Missing Facet of Effective Documentation BIBAPDF 57-65
      Michael J. Albers
    The purpose of this paper was to begin the exploration of the literature on decision-making and problem-solving and how they can contribute to the design of effective documentation. However, these are well established fields with wealth of material and space limitations have prevented me from doing more that scratching the surface. Further research should be done in these areas to:
  • Help define which parts of the decision-making research are application to
       technical communication.
  • Consider the impact of decision-making on answering complex questions.
  • Develop and test the practical application of the theoretical concepts
       derived from the decision-making literature.
  • Process Constraints in the Management of Technical Documentation BIBAPDF 67-74
      Bill Albing
    The long-term success of technical documentation projects within an organization requires understanding the overall processes involved. Beyond managing what could be considered static or limited elements of a project, the technical documentation manager must handle overlapping projects, measure multiple audience results, and create multiple documents from single source documents. The solution is to maximize the effectiveness of the documentation system by reducing the effects of constraints to the dynamic processes involved. A realistic list of process-oriented constraints provides concrete examples for managers who want to use this approach to manage a documentation department. This broader understanding of managing a documentation department as designing a dynamic system is necessary to handle the growing complexity and continual change in tools and requirements.

    5: Structuring Documentation

    A Real World Conversion to SGML BIBAPDF 75-86
      Dee Stribling; Tim Hunter; Len Olszewski; Anne Corrigan; Randy Mullis; Lloyd Allen
    In 1994, our Publications Division at SAS Institute began converting our in-house publishing system. The conversion involved evaluating, selecting, and implementing a new publishing system that would take advantage of the SGML paradigm for content markup. Components of the system include an SGML-based editor, routines for one-time conversions of legacy text to SGML, filters for dynamic conversions of SGML text and of graphics to various output formats, a document management system, and customizations that tailor third-party components to fit our environment. Along with new tools, we had to implement new processes we designed as we analyzed our documents and workflow for the new system. This paper explores our experiences from the time we began deciding to implement a new publishing system to now, when we have successfully implemented a significant portion of the new SGML-based system with working tools and prototyped processes.

    6: Building Documentation Architectures

    OpenDoc -- Building Help for a Component-Oriented Architecture BIBAKPDF 87-94
      Melissa E. Sleeter
    Component-oriented software allows end-users to extend or replace monolithic applications using components -- software plug-ins that handle specific kinds of data and can be used to add functionality to documents. Building online help for component-oriented architectures raises issues that are exemplified in the specific case this paper examines -- providing help for OpenDoc component software using the Apple Guide help system. Component-oriented architectures have characteristics that challenge a static, application-oriented help model, such as the original Apple Guide model. The solution requires extending a static help model in the following ways: generating a help view that is both component-oriented and dynamic, identifying a context for context-sensitive" access, and defining how content will be integrated within the help view.
    Keywords: Online help, Component software, Instructional design, Modular design, Semantic matching

    7: Evaluating Our Tools

    A Formative Evaluation of a Computer-Based Instruction Tutorial with Application to Electronic Performance Support Systems BIBAPDF 95-109
      Gloria A. Reece; Linda Bol; Gary R. Morrison
    Spurred by advances in computing technology, electronic performance support systems (EPSS) offer a variety of tools that support interactive learning, group process tasks, information retrieval, and information processing in both academic and workplace settings. This paper shows how on-line support is increasingly becoming "instructional" in nature and draws on instructional design literature as a potential resource for technical communicators. To demonstrate how on-line support is increasingly becoming instructional, a bench-tested hypertext prototype for a mathematics computer-based instruction (CBI) is examined. A six-step, recursive process for software development is also presented. Findings from an initial formative evaluation of the prototype is discussed in seven domains: (1) key functions of EPSS and CBI systems, (2) learner analysis, (3) task analysis, (4) user-created personalization techniques, (5) paraphrase techniques for higher-level thinking skills, (6) the role of interactive feedback, and (7) journal writing as a metacognitive and diagnostic aid.
       First, instructional design literature serves as a basis for discussing 19 key functions of an EPSS. The discussion focuses on comparisons of those findings in relationship to the software model.
       Second, learner and task analysis techniques are presented as they relate to the software model. Guidelines are given on key aspects of conducting learner and task analyses as they relate to instructional design practice.
       Third, extensive use of motivational techniques (user-created personalizations) embedded in the software are discussed as a means for stimulating interest in the subject being taught and eliminating subject-matter anxiety for learners.
       Fourth, advantages and disadvantages of using embedded paraphrase techniques for higher-order thinking skills are presented as they relate to the design of the instruction. The discussion will focus on learner needs and software limitations.
       Fifth, the role of interactive feedback in a CBI tutorial is examined. Examples of three levels of feedback are presented along with results of the formative evaluation regarding the effectiveness of embedded user-created personalization techniques.
       Sixth, results of the formative evaluation for journal writing as metacognitive and diagnostic aids for a mathematics lesson are discussed in terms of "lessons learned" in software development. The paper presents user preferences and critical design changes that were made to increase the usability of the software as a teaching aid as well as a self-evaluation component for the learner.
       Implications for the field center around design guidelines for CBI and hybrid EPSS. Also, principles and techniques for usability testing are presented.

    8: Reusing Documentation, One More Time

    Vision 2000: Multimedia Electronic Support Systems BIBAPDF 111-114
      Mary Cantando
    Twenty-first century businesses cannot remain successful simply by tweaking or modifying their 20th century processes. In order to achieve breakthrough results, outdated business processes must be obliterated or radically redesigned using information technology.
       Organizations are realizing that they must provide remote electronic support to their employees to increase their batting averages. As a result, the multimedia Electronic Performance Support System (EPSS) is becoming a driving force in information technology. The purpose of an EPSS is to replace or supplement human experts, paper-based documentation, and costly training programs.
       As multimedia EPSS provides resources for employees to do their jobs better and faster. This tool quickly links employees to the organization's backbone of information and allows them to develop stronger solutions for customers. An EPSS can be a driving force because it allows an organization to stay competitive in the global marketplace.
       SIGDOC '96 attendees will have the opportunity to see a demo of an EPSS named Cornerstone, which was developed to help professionals perform their jobs more effectively and efficiently. Cornerstone was designed and developed by Digital Equipment Corporation's Shared Engineering Services Division.
       This presentation will show the functionality of that system and demonstrate how technical communicators can create such a system to help professionals significantly improve job performance.
    Developing Usable Online Information for a Web Authoring Tool BIBAKPDF 115-123
      Mark Chignell; Benjamin Keevil
    This paper discusses the development of an informal checklist that improves the usability of online information for a software user guide. The paper:
  • 1. summarizes existing ways to measure the usability of documentation;
  • 2. describes the development of a checklist to informally measure usability and
        quality assurance;
  • 3. applies the checklist to an online user guide for a World Wide Web authoring
        tool called Tapestry. The paper also describes how the checklists were developed from academic and industry research and illustrates the importance of the Web for distributing user information.
    Keywords: Usability evaluation, Usability checklist, Quality documentation, Software user guide testing, Practical methods
  • 9: Moving Print Online

    Shared Techniques between Print and Online Documentation BIBAPDF 125-129
      Shish Aikat; Deb Aikat
    Although print and online media have unique demands, there are documentation techniques that you can share between the two media The 10 techniques discussed here are based on the assumption that user documentation should contain information retrieval schemes that the user is familiar with -- schemes that are common to both media. Technical communicators who create and service documentation for both media may find that recognizing these shared techniques will help them support both media using their existing skills.
    From Hardcopy to Online: Changes to the Editor's Role and Process BIBAPDF 131-138
      Betsy Brown; Karen Collier; Chuck Farr; Betty Littrell; Sharon Slagle; Deborah Stratton
    This paper describes our editing group's experiences in changing from paper to online documentation and provides insights for other publications groups considering the move to online documentation. We have focused this paper on the changes within our editing group; however, we feel these changes are pertinent to any publications group, especially to any group with similar job responsibilities.

    10: Communicating Visually

    Examining the Role of Visual Discourse Analysis in Multimedia Instructional Design BIBAPDF 139-148
      Brian J. Pedell
    Considering the extensive impact multimedia information delivery systems are having on how we approach instructional design, technical communicators need to become more actively involved in research to determine the most effective strategies for integrating text, graphics, video, and sound into cohesive instructional presentations. Empirical research which has dealt with an issue critical to effective multimedia design -- how users integrate complementary information from graphics/ illustrations and corresponding text, has been pursued primarily by cognitive and instructional psychologists. These researchers have contributed significantly to our understanding of how to select the most appropriate visuals for different types of instructional text passages. Related research efforts have resulted in the identification of information types that are essential to the comprehension and performance of instructional tasks (Bieger & Glock; 1984-85, 1986; Booher, 1975; Morrell & Park, 1993; Stone & Crandell, 1982; Stone & Glock, 1981). Even though the aforementioned research has furthered our knowledge of which instructional formats and content users find most comprehensible and essential to accurate task performance, much remains to be learned about how users integrate and encode complementary information from textual input, visual input of both a static and dynamic nature, and auditory input. Also, from an instructional design perspective, researchers and practitioners have proposed very few guidelines for ascertaining whether an effective balance exists between visual and verbal components in different types of instructional presentations.
    A Seven-Dimensional Approach to Graphics BIBAPDF 149-160
      Danny Dowhal
    As the media used for delivering documentation and information about computer systems become more diversified and multimodal, a new, broader perspective of the graphics and illustrations used for supporting documentation is needed. Information developers, already challenged with understanding graphic design and illustration fundamentals for hardcopy, now have a plethora of new graphical considerations in a world that encompasses multimedia, 3D computer animation, virtual reality, and the internet. This paper proposes a seven-dimensional spectrum or framework for graphics. It is certainly not meant to be a detailed how-to guide -- to address in detail all the graphical techniques and technologies touched upon would require several volumes. Rather, the discussion is meant to present a broader perspective and unifying psychological framework to help documentation experts deal with the increasingly complex galaxy of graphics-use scenarios they will face in the future. Each graphical dimension addressed in the paper is progressively more future-oriented, and will require a greater synergism between participants in the documentation process, and between the information delivery technologies they command.

    11: Anticipating Online Audiences

    Manufacturing Documents in a Visual Warehouse BIBAKPDF 161-166
      Tom Banfalvi; Peter Sturgeon; Christina L. K. Walsh
    Our profession requires a variety of tools and skills to develop and deliver quality information products, such as paper documentation, online documents and training. The time we require to acquire and effectively use our development tools is constantly increasing. The time available to acquire and communicate subject matter expertise is decreasing as a result. This paper presents a strategy to free up more time for writers who want to and need to write.
       This model is based on specialization of functions, allowing writers to focus on writing while supporting members of the information development team provide a structure for deploying the information products in whatever form the customer requires (such as: online tutorial, quick reference card, user guide, functional specification). The writers take a more active role in directly researching customer requirements for information products. Once determined, the writers are responsible to communicate them to the support group and delegate related maintenance.
       This paper chronicles the evolution of an actual information development support/process/tools team, and the services that it has provided in the interest of supporting our virtual information warehouse. This paper also presents a strategy for future directions of such an information development support team and the consumers of both its products and services.
    Keywords: Concurrency, Database, Granule, Infrastructure, Manufacturing, Module, Product information, Reuse, SGML, Warehouse
    Mining for Gems in an Information Overload BIBAKPDF 167-178
      Darice M. Lang; Monica Luketich
    Information delivery technology has changed drastically in recent years. Most people would agree we are working harder and longer to sort through more information. Is this true? The purpose of our study was to ask end users what they want in documentation and see if professional writers are meeting their expectations. We used a written survey consisting of both open and forced-answer questions. The sample for this population was drawn from people who were contacted by word of mouth or message and who use, create, or receive information at work. Seventy responses were received during a two-week time period.
       People are overloaded. They each have individual methods for dealing with the information, but we did find patterns. The same methods and comments were repeated on multiple surveys. Many of the hints received are time honored methods that seem to still apply, even with new technologies. There are some new hints specific to new technologies, such as CD ROM and Internet. It appears information filtering technologies are needed and wanted by our respondents. We plan to broaden and expand this research in the future.
    Keywords: Information overload, Research
    Concept Mapping: A Job-Performance Aid for Hypertext Developers BIBAPDF 179-186
      Candace Soderston; Naomi Kleid; Thomas Crandell
    Concept mapping is a powerful alternative to outlining and other techniques for planning information structures. Until now, cognitive psychology and science education have used concept mapping mainly to focus on clear hierarchical structures for hardcopy information. This paper examines the use of concept mapping for planning information structures for electronic material, in particular, for hypertext. It presents hierarchical and alternative structures.

    12: Managing Change, Introducing Innovation

    Providing Education Electronically to Non-Institutional Sites: New Delivery to a New Audience BIBAPDF 187-193
      Nancy C. McAllister; David F. McAllister
    Increased access to knowledge nurtures learning as a lifelong pursuit. Although this metamorphosis in the lifelong dissemination of new knowledge and skills should take place in a natural way, there are many problems that could impede its occurrence. One of these is overcoming the tradition of print on paper; another is overcoming the tradition of knowledge residing only in fixed buildings. Another is the time required to manifest new ideas.
  • 1. Overcoming the tradition of print on paper must occur both in the academy
        and in the reading public. The amount of information, the democratic
        dissemination of information, and the technology supporting the user --
        hardware and software -- will bear on changing custom. Also effort must be
        directed at educating the publishing industry to understand and devote
        resources to the new communication technologies and to include them in
        planning the industry's future.
  • 2. Overcoming the tradition of knowledge residing only in institutional
        buildings is probably the easiest obstacle. Information that has up to now
        resided only in institutional buildings will be welcomed in the home, the
        community center, and the workplace. Predictably, the convenience and the
        "decryption" of otherwise "protected" knowledge will stimulate usage and
        create demand among information consumers, including employers. That will,
        in turn, create a demand for more educational content and easier-to-use
        software and hardware.
  • 3. Research in multimedia software and hardware is shortening the time to the
        widespread democratization of education through electronic publishing. The
        next level up in software and hardware for the educational information
        consumer's use is nearly here. It will provide a wider-band (and more
        reliable) network, hand-held reading panel, voice input and output,
        frequent video-conferencing, and video. New attitudes generated by new
        possibilities for education will bring about a reallocation of resources --
        equipment, personnel, and real estate. This next level of combined
        technologies will be deployed in education's redesign. In a very few
        years, what seems innovative now will be fully accepted as the underlying
        support for the new standards and needs. Schools as we know them will still exist, although fewer will be constructed as discrete buildings used only part of the year, part of the day. Books in print will still exist; although some types of materials will disappear from paper, others will be in both paper and electronic formats. More educational purposes and more students under the changed definition will be served with the same amount of educational money than are now served. Immersion in continuous, active learning will be a given for the majority of the population.
  • An Electronic Publishing Spectrum: A Framework for Text Modules BIBAPDF 195-203
      Nancy S. Kneece
    The recent exponential growth of electronic publishing has made countless digital documents available via commercial online services and the World Wide Web. At the same time, increasing numbers of organizations are creating internal, widely accessible document databases that allow workers to use sophisticated full-text search tools to find information to meet their needs. In some cases, workers can establish standing queries that automatically deliver to their desktop computers relevant documents incoming via electronic text streams such as news services.
       The technical writing community for a number of years has worked to refine online user documentation and other types of self-contained systems. But given the range of today's applications in electronic publishing, this focus is too narrow. First, it is necessary to broaden the study of writing to encompass other forms of electronic publishing. Second, it is critical to make principles and strategies of effective writing known to the wide range of people who are now creating documents for online distribution. These include various types of system developers as well as many professional writers who in the past have produced material primarily for traditional hardcopy newspapers, magazines, and books.

    13: Reusing Documentation, One More Time (II)

    Developing Single-Source Documentation for Multiple Formats BIBAPDF 205-212
      Cindy Roposh; Hanna Schoenrock
    Our main goal is to develop online and hardcopy reference documentation from a single source. To accomplish this goal we had to make decisions about the tools we are going to use, what information we are going to include, how we will design and present the modular information, linking and indexing strategies, and testing. This paper describes the experiences of SAS Institute in developing single-source documentation for presentation in multiple formats.
    Information Access: Single Source, Multiple Use BIBAPDF 213-220
      Dana Gillihan; Thyra Rauch
    Web technology is a rapidly-growing arena, and we are seeking new ways to take advantage of what the technology has to offer. In the development of our Web-based software product, we have applied online help concepts to the design of our information. In addition, because this product is itself an online information solution, we've addressed two types of single-sourcing: implementing helps and documentation from a single source and making information available to a wide variety of platforms.

    14: Controlling Information Online

    SSQL: A Semi-Structured Query Language for SGML Document Retrievals BIBAPDF 221-228
      Lin-Ju Yeh; Hsiu-Hsen Yao; Yuan-Kuo Chen
    In this paper, we first discuss the document structures generated by SGML markup approach in Section 2. A multigraph data model for modeling SGML documents is introduced and discussed in Section 3. In Section 4, six query paths found in SGML formatted documents are provided and then integrated into the proposed query model. Based on these studies, we define the semi-structured query language (SSQL) in Section 5. Some examples of SSQL queries are listed in Section 6. Finally, a brief discussion of implementation of the query language is given.
    Object-Oriented, Single-Source, On-Line Documents that Update Themselves BIBAPDF 229-237
      Susan Korgen
    This paper describes how Boston Technology creates the architectural documentation for its modular, object-oriented software system. It describes the information structure and tools that we created, our motivation for creating them, how we implemented them, and the interdisciplinary issues that we encountered during the project.
       We place the definitive textual description of each architectural element directly into the source code that defines that element. This single-source text is developed and maintained by a cooperative effort between our writers and engineers.
       A software tool extracts the descriptions from the source code and converts the extracted text strings into a suite of elegantly interlinked, on-line help topics. Writers can run the tool to compile the help system any time the source code files change. The tool can act upon the complete set of product source code files, or upon any subset of modules that the writer chooses.
       Thus, at the touch of a button, hundreds of object-oriented, single-source, on-line documents update themselves.
    Online Help Systems: Technological Evolution or Revolution BIBAPDF 239-242
      Kathryn L. Turk; Michelle Corbin Nichols
    This paper explores the evolution of the design of online information, specifically online help systems. It discusses the influences of the hardcopy paradigm on the design of online information and suggests that same paradigm should be left behind. Technology is forcing a revolution in the design of online help systems, as wizards, coaches, and the World Wide Web take hold.

    15: Designing New Information Theories

    Academia, Privacy and Modern Information Technology: Partnering with Industry to the Modern Economy BIBAPDF 243-245
      Bryan P. Bergeron
    Authors and educators were once thought of as relatively independent purveyors of knowledge. After fulfilling their teaching obligations, academicians were encouraged disseminate their ideas as widely as possible, in exchange for peer recognition, credit toward tenure, or evidence of scholarly work for grant applications. However, modem economic pressures, fueled by advances in information technology, have permanently transformed the academician's perception of what is private, what is publishable, and the degree to which information, both professional and personal, should be made freely available on the Internet and other digital media for non-targeted dissemination. Academicians and academic institutions as a whole have become highly protective of their increasingly valuable knowledge assets. The result of this paradigm shift is a redefinition of the contemporary role of academia, especially as it relates to the potentially lucrative associations with business and industry. In order to survive, many academicians must become knowledge workers and brokers who look not only to government and private grants for support, but increasingly to partners in business and industry who are willing to cooperate in mutually beneficial and profit-generating ventures.
    Producing a Graduate of Advanced Studies in the Area of Online Information Design BIBAPDF 247-256
      Naomi F. Glasscock
    This paper explores the skills that are required of an online information design professional and the university's role in producing graduates of such a multidisciplinary field. An appropriate mission statement is identified which will allow the student to develop the required skills and meet his/her professional goals. Target qualifications are developed by identifying the skills required to develop online information products and by examining the professional goals of several students who are currently graduate studies in the area of online information design. A Plan of Graduate Work (POGW) is provided which would allow the student to gain the required skills through coursework, scholarly research, and industry experience. Problems associated with achieving these goals in the current university climate are discussed. Potential solutions to these problems are proposed including various joint industry-academia relationships.
       The results of this effort are significant in identifying methods for universities to produce graduates who can immediately enter industry as contributing professionals in the design of online information or continue as educators of future students in this area.
    Readers' Expectations and Writers' Goals in the Late Age of Print BIBAKPDF 257-266
      Charles A. Hill; Brad Mehlenbacher
    Most of us are very comfortable acknowledging that reading and writing electronic texts is now firmly a well-established part of our everyday life, but we only occasionally examine the generational differences between our grandparents' notions of text and our children's. This is largely because our demographic is a transitional one, caught between a well-learned familiarity with hardcopy texts and the challenge of intense movements to online environments. This paper traces our movement from hardcopy texts to digital texts, and speculates about how readers' and writers' expectations of texts are being transformed by emerging technologies. Specifically, digital texts are erasing traditional distinctions between written and spoken discourse, increasing the interconnectedness of texts, increasing the demand for user control over texts, integrating various modes of communication, and intensifying the relationship between readers and writers.
    Keywords: Electronic texts, Literacy, Hypermedia, Reading and writing research

    16: Designing Web Materials for Multiple Audiences

    Customer Analysis in the Wired Age BIBAPDF 267-270
      R. Stanley Dicks
    It has become an old saw, repeated in every technical communications textbook and in numerous articles, that we should know our users and orient our software documentation products toward user tasks rather than system tasks. Recently, our profession has grown toward using the more rigorous development methods employed by the software development community. For example, we have added usability testing to our repertoire to ensure that our products meet our customers' needs. This paper challenges us to go further, however, as the situation, especially in today's wired world, requires considerably more complex audience analyses than those that are generally described in our literature or performed on actual projects.
       This paper presents a taxonomy of the various customers associated with our products, the considerations that drive each of those customer groups (sometimes conflicting), the implications for our development efforts, and some suggested solutions. It further discusses how the move toward online and networked learning support products affects the various customers. It posits the theory that our standard, simple systems of audience analysis are inadequate for the types of products we have begun to deliver in the last five years. Our methods for audience analysis and testing have not caught up with the technologies we are using to develop and deliver our products.
    Designing Two Nonprofit Web Sites on Less Than $350 US per Year Each BIBAPDF 271-280
      Carl Stieren; Zbigniew (Paul) Rachniowski
    What do you need to design a World Wide Web site for a nonprofit organization? If you have less than $350 U.S. per year, you need knowledgeable, dedicated volunteers with HTML and design skills, and their own computers. Then you can weave the Web to fit both the readers' needs and the creators' skills. To create content and a workable organization, follow four key rules:
  • 1. know the needs of your potential readers,
  • 2. select a well-defined content area,
  • 3. use available (or affordable) technology, and
  • 4. set up a mechanism for approval, organization and change. Two Ottawa-based Web sites met these rules in different ways. Peaceweb, the World Wide Web page on Quaker peace and social concerns, set out rules for approval, organization and change first. PoloniaNet, the Polish-Canadian Web site, staked out a well-defined content area first. Each group had a strong sense of identity and a common vision. While each of the two groups had multitalented individuals, other nonprofits may need different persons to fill each of the four roles described by Joel Snyder [2]: architect, graphics designer, programmer, and content provider.
  • Designing a Leading-Edge World Wide Web Site BIBAPDF 281-283
      Mary Anne Jackson
    How does a corporation plan it's World Wide Web site? In today's fast-paced electronic world, do you have the time you need to carefully plan your strategy? If you don't have time for much careful planning, how does that affect your work? Will you have enough material to make the site content rich and meaningful to your visitors? Who will your visitors be? How will you attract them to your site?
       Establishing a presence on the World Wide Web has become imperative. The "rush to the Web" has left companies around the globe scrambling to "get their acts together". The corporate rush to avoid being left at the back of the pack has created some strange situations and formidable challenges for those of us working in corporate communications. Leading edge technology has, in many instances, become "bleeding edge" technology, as expectations of senior managers for a Web site often far outstrip the budgets and resources made available to Web site implementors.
       Even companies that generally carefully plan their marketing strategies have been caught in "react mode". If goal is to be there now, the methodology can never be as good as marketing staff would like it to be. Also, the technical skills needed to carry out the implementation of a web site are often not found in the average marketing department. This means that you are going to have to cooperate with other departments who may or may not have the same goals you do.