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By Matt McGinnis, Chapter Member After being hired for my first technical writing job, I learned some background information about the hiring process that I believe any student or recent graduate would want to know. The hiring manager told me there were several dozen candidates, but the list was quickly whittled down to a few by discarding any resume that didn't convey Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) or XML-based knowledge. The company was switching from Microsoft Word-based authoring to DITA and seeking a new content management system, as countless companies are (regardless of the industry). For a student, then, any course that expands on DITA authoring is essential. Couple this with extensive practice editing instructional ... Read More

Are you new to DITA? Have you heard about DITA and want to know more? The STC Carolina DITA workshop is designed for you to get up and running. In our six-hour workshop on Saturday, October 18, 2014, you'll learn what DITA is, how DITA differs from traditional authoring, and the skills you need to work in DITA. the workshop! We'll look at the building blocks of DITA — topics and elements — and how to assemble those building blocks using DITA maps. We'll cover semantics, metadata, filtering, and best practices for reuse. The workshop will combine classroom training with exercises and group projects. Perhaps best of all, you'll have a chance to experiment with DITA before and after the workshop, using a "sandbox" website set up... Read More

By Ann-Marie Grissino, STC Fellow ::::During your technical communication career, did you get help on a skill, instruction on a tool, or advice from an experienced professional? Think back and recall how fortunate you were to get that assistance and advice. Now, it's your turn to provide that assistance and advice to newcomers in our field. The STC Carolina Chapter is initiating a Mentor Program this fall. We'll do it in two phases: Phase 1: Invite experienced communication professionals to become a mentor. If you have experience in technical communication skills, tools, or project management, consider giving maybe three hours of your time for one to three months to someone new in our field. Phase 2: Extend the web-based listing of mento... Read More

By Sheila Loring, Past Chapter President The STC competitions offer an excellent way for you and your team to get recognition for your technical publication, web site, help system, training, and other forms of technical communication. ::::Competitions season begins in the Fall. Teams of judges evaluate these entries against a checklist of criteria and decide whether to nominate each entry for an award. The top award winners go on to compete for Best of Show and may enter the international competitions. Judging helps develop your editing and writing skills. You learn to identify the elements of effective technical communication and pick up some innovative ideas from fellow technical writers. Judge in the competitions to meet other techni... Read More

By Lisa Logan, Chapter Member Editor's note: Read Lisa's introductory article on DITA at New Challenge: Learning DITA. “I DITA know that!” ::::Again, here we are with another corny title and more about my journey to teach myself DITA. This article offers the reader a basic understanding of what a task topic is along with a few tips on how to write an effective task topic. Task topics are one of three topic types in DITA. Task topic: one procedure Concept topic: defines or tells how a process works Reference topic: has one type of reference info that users might need as they perform tasks. You should try to separate the three content types so users don’t have to sift through unnecessary information. For instance, if a user is looking onl... Read More

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