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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

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

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