William Hart-Davidson’s “On Writing, Technical Communication and Information Technology: The Core Competencies of Technical Communication”

For your last after class writing assignment, post a comment of at least 250 words summarizing your reading and today’s lecture on William Hart-Davidson’s “On Writing, Technical Communication and Information Technology: The Core Competencies of Technical Communication.” In particular, connect this reading to those that we’ve seen before (e.g., Ong and Derrida).

6 thoughts on “William Hart-Davidson’s “On Writing, Technical Communication and Information Technology: The Core Competencies of Technical Communication”

  1. colin200011226

    William Hart-Davidson’s “On Writing, Technical Communication and Information Technology: The Core Competencies of Technical Communication”

    In his article, On Writing, Technical Communication and Information Technology, William Hart-Davidson asserts that technical communication has become intractably linked to the business of information technology. Even though technical communicators deal with the construction of user information that is pliable and functional, they are not often recognized by other technology experts. Technical communicators now create information that transcends the boundaries of genre and media platforms. Technical communicators are placed in a unique position; a position that administer personalized, yet pliable and reusable content and information that is effective to users. A very important aspect of technical communicators is to ensure the usability of their work in all phases of the user-centered design process.
    Hart-Davidson draws on Walter Ong to illustrate that writing is a technology, which focuses on the production, display, distribution, storage and recall of information. Often the technical communicator acts as the voice of the user, advocating design features that ensure users’ needs are met and that the user experience gives the product a competitive advantage relative to others in the market. Technical communicators work as advocates for their user or readers. Often Technical communication is more than just writing. Technical communicators make videos, diagrams, websites, and many other types of information resources. They often create the material for all of these formats at once so users can access them online, on demand, and simultaneously. Technical communicators advocate for users and work to ensure that information resources meet users’ needs. And as more and more workers create information, it falls to the technical communicator to oversee writing and editing practices, helping their coworkers communicate more effectively and ensuring that their organization, as a whole, does so as well.

  2. Geetangli

    In William Hart Davidson’s article “On Writing, Technical Communication and Information Technology”, he talks about the connection between technical communication and business of information technology. In his article, Davidson refers to a 1999 edition of George Hayhoe’s editorial. He “noted that the majority (60%) of STC members worked in the information technology field,” which is double than it was about 15 years prior. Almost every business at the time was re-inventing themselves for the internet. While many workers were technical communicators by trade, they spent some time testing content used online, designed content and help, or documented Internet-dependent projects. This can be seen in today’s society. Many companies since then has re-invented themselves for the internet. Companies have made websites, that give customers access to see their products and merchandise online. Since many technical communicators are now becoming information technologists, some may say that there is a rise in the status and responsibility of technical communicators, within the workplace. He then goes on to talk about single sourcing. Single sourcing is described as the action of creating a modules of content and allowing programmers to use your content to create both digital and physical documents. Davidson also refers to Ong and Bolter in his article, that they remind us that writing is in fact a form of technology. “Perhaps more accurately, writing might be understood as an array of technologies focused on the production, display, distribution, storage, and recall of information.” He then goes on to attempt to refer to the French theorist Jacques Derrida’s speech “Signature Event Context,” however he fails to acknowledge that the person Derrida is feuding with is Austin, and not Searle. Derrida is also in agreement that writing is a form of technology. He believes that writing should only be considered as a form of communication, because it is permanent.

  3. PrescillaR

    In the article “On Writing, Technical Communication and Information Technology: The Core Competencies of Technical Communication” by William-Hart Davidson talks about the association between technical communication and information technology. He states that most businesses are changing themselves for the sake of the internet. All of the information from the businesses are put onto the internet changing the meaning of information technology. Technical writers use the information technology to customize the information they write about. William Hart- Davidson and Walter Ong’s article relate to each other in the way that they believe that writing is a form of technology. Writing can be viewed as a series of different types of technology. For example, production, display, and storage. Single sourcing is when programmers use your information to use it to make different digital and physical documents. Technical communicators use more the one resource to relay their message to their audience. Davidson states that technical writers “…technical communicators bring to such complex problems as managing the massive amounts of unstructured data that currently makes up the World Wide Web or balancing the need to provide relevant, customized, even personalized information to an audience that is increasingly diverse.” They use information from different areas of the internet to produce and writing piece worthy of their readers. Derrida also is someone who believes that writing is a form of technology. Derrida says that writing has permanence rather than speech which is always forgotten. Technical writers need to be to have a proper understanding of information technology.

  4. Thania Miah

    In William Hart-Davidson’s “On Writing, Technical Communication and Information Technology: The Core Competencies of Technical Communication”, Hart-Davidson discusses the transition from techtonic shift for technical communicators. He says that technical communicators need to be productive and be involved in how these technologies evolve. As a technical communicator you would take technical information, decode it and present it in a way which the audience will understand. So to do this you would need to stay up to date on the evolution of technology which is why he puts an emphasis on it. He says that the sign is irritable but each time it is irritated it’s open to different interpretations. We have to be mindful of how our audiences’ interpretation as it can change. We as people constantly change, as Derrida says “Who we are now is not the same as the past”. Because we constantly change so do our interpretations. We must always help the reader interpret our writing because that is our main job as technical communicators. The types of tasks which technical communicators do include, making sure documents connect to the audience and create information in a readable and meaning way. Technical communicators are the key connection between technology and the average person, if it weren’t for them who would decode all this language and present it in an understandable way to specific audiences. In the end, Hart-Davidson says as technical communicators we need to be drivers not passers as this technology evolves, we need to be the one leading it not just going along with it.

  5. Goodman George

    In the article On Writing, Technical Communication and Information Technology: The Core Competencies of Technical Communication by William Hart Davidson the mutual association of technical communication and information technology is deliberated in professional scrutiny. The professor selected this reading to enable students in the course to see the operation of discourse between different readings. Upon close inspection its clear William invokes some of ideas from Derrida that were encountered in the recent article “Signature Event Context” in order to make an argument that technical communicators need to use theory in their work, that it can’t just be practical experience. The reason why he’s bringing theory into the work of technical communication has primarily to do with what’s taking place in the particular article it was written. At the time this was published (2001) the transition of a major tectonic shift in the way technical communicators had to rely more on digital technology, but were finding their way into IT companies at a higher rate. As a result of this shift from technical communicators from being in different fields with only a portion being in IT with more having to use IT knowledge in the work that they’re doing. One of the reasons for this has to do what’s called “single-sourcing” where you create modules of content and these modules sit in a database and then programmers will design software that will pull from those modules of content, dynamically creating documents, webpages, brochures – any kind of document (digital/physical) based on the needs of the user. Creation of these modules that can be reused, recycled and designed by the same kind of information tailored for different groups. Software designers build frontends – a piece of software, a webserver, an app, etc based on the individual needs of each user will draw from that database.

  6. Scotte Ng

    In the article “On Writing, Technical Communication and Information Technology” William Hart-Davidson starts off by explaining to us technical communication and how it’s been linked both communication and information technology. He talks about how technical communicators must deal with the troubles of having to organize information and make it functional. Compared to other experts in the related field it usually goes unnoticed. Technical communicators are the people who connect experts to ordinary people. Technical communicators go through the struggles of deciphering information and making it very simple for the audience to understand. There are many problems while translating because you must factor in if they have knowledge in this area or they are completely new to the subject. You must also keep up with the technology and the most important thing which is the evolution of the technologies. He explains how when we do something in the past the present us is not the same person because we constantly change our interpretations. Technical communicators must always help the reader by simplifying our writing, so the readers can understand the type of topics that we are explaining to them. The tasks that technical communicator is to just to connect using our documents that we create. We need to also include creating information in the most readable way along with helping the average person understand the technical terms in our document. William Hart Davidson tells us how we must be leading the world into new areas of technology with our documents and the way we write them.

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