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By David Dilts, Chapter Member ::::Can you think of a mentor who has helped you in your professional career? Can you remember the suggestions they shared with you and how much it helped in your job? Most of us can remember several key individuals who helped guide us in our job requirements and career aspirations. We fondly remember the patient co-worker showing us how to better understand a software application, or a peer in our department explaining how to manage a documentation project, an engineer offering technical training so we understood our company’s products better, and so on. Have you ever considered being a mentor? If so, there are many opportunities through the STC Carolina Chapter where you can share the wisdom and knowledge ... Read More

By Betsy Kent, Associate Fellow Many of us who attended the STC Carolina DITA Workshop on October 18th, 2014, have been using DITA. We wanted a refresher course — reminders of best practices and how to work more effectively in DITA. Others wanted to learn new tools and techniques to improve their chances of landing a job. A key advantage to the workshop is that it included a 90-day evaluation license for oXygen XML Editor so we can continue to practice and experiment on our own. The STC Carolina DITA workshop more than exceeded my high expectations! Larry Kunz designed the workshop to get the participants up and running with a sound grasp on what DITA is and why we should care. Larry ably kept us busy learning all day, with discussions an... Read More

By Lisa Logan, Chapter Member Editor's note: Read Lisa's other DITA articles at New Challenge: Learning DITA and A-Tisket A-Tasket: Task Topics in DITA. ::::Three months ago, I embarked on a journey to learn the basics of DITA. Here’s another log entry of my continuing DITA adventures. In my last post, we covered the task topic. This article will describe concept and reference topics, completing our discussion of the three DITA topic types: task, concept, and reference. Concept topics What do concept topics do? They support task topics in that they give the user additional information that he or she needs to know before starting a task or in order to help them complete the task. You can find a great description of this in the book DIT... Read More

By Catherine Sprankle, Chapter Member ::::Back when I was still working as a lab scientist, before I turned my career focus to writing, I knew I liked to write and was good at it. Once my colleagues discovered this, I started getting requests like, “Would you look over this paper for me and give me some feedback on it?” As I’ve gained more experience, I’ve learned that requests like these can be addressed a lot more successfully if you ask your client or colleague three things up front: “What is the task?” “What are the rules?” and “What is the deadline?” Question 1: What is the task? To successfully address your client’s request, you’ll need a little more direction than "look over this paper for me." Is the paper a first draft on which s... Read More

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

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