Entries for UK Technical Communication Awards 2015 are now open. Click to apply.

North West Regional Group – Exploring the XML of DITA

Our next meeting will be on the 7th March
Title: Exploring the XML of DITA
Speaker: Richard Pineger
Location: MadLab, 36-40 Edge Street, Manchester, M4 1HN
Abstract: The web abounds with reasons to use DITA and information about the benefits of reuse and single-sourcing but, what do you actually DO? This talk dives into the detail to start to fill out the experience part of your exposure to DITA XML.
  • The XML editor, map manager, and the topic editor
  • xpath search and regular expressions
  • Collaborative version control with subversion
  • Simple XSL for making repeated changes

Booking: Reserve your place here http://xmldita.eventbrite.co.uk/#

TCUK 2013 Call for Proposals now open

The Technical Communication UK Conference (TCUK) 2013, hosted by the ISTC, is the flagship annual event for technical communicators in the UK. This year’s conference takes place in Bristol, on 24th- 26th September 2013, and the Call for Proposals is now open. You have until 5th April 2013 to submit your proposal.

Regardless of whether you want to present for the first time or you are a seasoned conference speaker, we want to hear from you. We don’t mind if you are new to technical communication or if you have worked in this field for ever, if you have something to say to other technical communicators then TCUK 2013 is your chance to say it.

Visit the Call for Proposals page for a list of suggested topics and for information on how to submit your proposal.

West of Scotland Area Group 6 February 2013: meeting report

At the February meeting of the West of Scotland area group, we were joined by Dr John Lynn from the Department of Computing, Communication and Interactive Systems, within the School of Engineering & Built Environment, at Glasgow Caledonian University. Dr Lynn wished to gauge technical communicators’ views on a potential new degree course that would include an element of technical writing instruction, and afterwards provided the following meeting report.

“Staff within the School of Engineering and Built Environment have been involved in a ten-year industrial collaboration with the Thales Group (Thales Optronics, Glasgow), during which time they have researched the conversion of paper-based technical publications to that of interactive media. This has evolved from laptop-based solutions and optical media to the development of apps for the iPad and tablet devices. As part of this investigation, the themes of skills development for existing technical authors, and the effective use of multimedia and forms of remote maintenance support (augmented reality systems) were also discussed. Coming from an interactive media development perspective, and not a traditional discipline of technical authorship, the university staff are seeking to engage with practicing technical authors to gauge and shape a possible postgraduate award intended for full and part-time/work-based learning delivery. This would be seen as a course which may also appeal to graduates of various disciplines, and would therefore require an element of technical writing instruction, as well as the development of skills in the use of tools and media capture and preparation.

From the meeting with the West of Scotland group, it was of great value to hear the opinions and experiences of technical authors, and to try and describe the elements of study within a masters programme. However, what is also taken on board is the need for more communication with the wider technical writing community, to gauge the potential uptake of such an academic course, and how such a course could be made attractive to employers (graduate placement / live projects, etc.). We are grateful for access to the meeting in Glasgow, and would like the opportunity to further our planning process and evidence gathering, gratefully accepting any assistance and advice the members of the ISTC could offer. My personal thanks to Katja McLaughlin, for her invitation to submit this feedback.”

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