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Michael Albers <[log in to unmask]>
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Michael Albers <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 26 Aug 2004 12:27:05 -0500
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The August 2005 issue of Technical Communication will be a special issue 
focused on the future development of the technical communication 
profession, guest edited by Michael J. Albers.


Traditionally, the focus of technical communicators has been on the writing 
documents. However, in recent years, technical communicators have been 
widening their scope and expanding into areas such as interface and 
interaction design, information architecture, information design, and 
usability. In tandem with this expansion, the fundamental methods of 
delivering information have changed, primarily though use of single 
sourcing, XML, and multiple methods of delivery, all of which have 
increased the need for both collaboration and project management. Further 
clouding the picture is the move toward outsourcing projects overseas.

Many researchers have examined these topics recently, but the examination 
has tended to be a view of individual technologies and methods and the ways 
they fit within current documentation processes. The effects of softer 
skills such as project management have not received adequate consideration. 
Also, other disciplines have driven the research in areas such as the 
human-computer interface and information architecture. Missing is the 
overall examination and synthesis of how these changes will affect 
technical communication as a discipline in both the short (3-5 years) and 
longer terms. None of these changes operate in a vacuum, but all affect the 
others in ways that are both obvious and subtle or as yet unforeseen.

The purpose of this special issue is to step back from a close examination 
of any particular technology or job description, and, instead, to examine 
how they will affect the development of technical communication as a 


Issues of interest include

         New or expanded skill sets (and their effects) that will be 
required for a technical communicator to remain viable within the field
       The effects of a particular technology or skill on the field and 
how that technology or skill will integrate with the other changes
       The research agenda needed to move technical communication forward, 
both to address the uncertainties of the near future and to position the 
discipline for future growth
       The ways that the field of technical communication will change as 
jobs require a more varied skill set (more than any one person can 
reasonably be expected to master) and the ways that the field needs to 
position itself to ensure a smooth transition


The schedule for the special issue is as follows:

1 September 2004                 500-word proposal due
15 October 2004                   Acceptances mailed
15 December 2004                Draft manuscript due
1 February                            Comments returned
15 March 2005                      Final manuscript due
15 July 2005                         Issue published

Send proposals by e-mail to [log in to unmask] Proposals and drafts will 
be peer-reviewed. Acceptance of a proposal does not guarantee acceptance of 
the final article.

Dr. Michael J. Albers
Professional Writing Program
Department of English
University of Memphis
Memphis  TN  38152
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