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© 2010 Ugur Akinci
Spring Into Technical Writing for Engineers and Scientists by Barry J. Rosenberg is definitely one of the better technical writing books out there. You can tell it was written by an industry professional who himself spent quite a few years in the “trenches,” trying to solve one pesky documentation problem after another and learning a valuable bunch along the way.
The Main chapters are:
- The Quest,
- Documentation Plans,
- Paragraphs and Sections,
- Professional Secrets,
- Web Sites,
- Internal Planning Documents,
- Lab Reports,
- PowerPoint Presentations,
- Editing and the Documentation Process,
- Fonts and Typography,
With Glossary and Index.
I especially loved the chapter on MANUALS where the author gives us both the explanations and examples of many different types of technical manuals, on adjacent and opposing pages. On the left page you’d have the manual introduced. And on the right-hand page across it, you’d have a small example of the kind of writing involved. The manuals Rosenberg covers include [Software] Cookbooks, Tutorials, Guides, Reference Manuals, Nonverbal Manuals, Online Help, Release Notes, Preface, Glossaries, and Indexes.
The chapter on GRAPHICS is also engaging, with a discussion of different types of graphics and how they should be used in a technical document. Many related topics are also covered from “Screenshots” to “Color Blindness.”
In the preface Rosenberg cautions that “this book is for engineers and scientists, not professional writers. I’ve assumed that you don;t much care about the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs – you only want to write better.” But that’s the sentiment and goal of ALL writers, isn’t it? That’s why I, as a professional writer, have also benefited richly from this intelligently written book.
(Do you have a book that needs review? Please send a note through the Comment box.)