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SIGDOC Tables of Contents: 192021222324

ACM SIGDOC *Journal of Computer Documentation 24

Editors:T. R. Girill
Dates:2000
Volume:24
Publisher:ACM
Standard No:ISSN 0731-1001
Papers:31
Links:Table of Contents
  1. SIGDOC 2000 Volume 24 Issue 1
  2. SIGDOC 2000 Volume 24 Issue 2
  3. SIGDOC 2000 Volume 24 Issue 3
  4. SIGDOC 2000 Volume 24 Issue 4

SIGDOC 2000 Volume 24 Issue 1

Editorial: a publishing plan fulfilled BIBPDF 1-2
  T. R. Girill
Intentional Learning in an Intentional World BIBAPDF 3-20
  Margaret Martinez
Starting with the hypothesis that affective and cognitive audience features are as important as the traditional cognitive ones when making instruction suitable for learners, Martinez uses multiple, repeated-measures, univariate ANOVAs to experimentally assess the interaction of affective "learner orientation" with learner environment (in this case, instructional software). Her results showed that (adult) students were most satisfied when working "in the environment which closely suited their learning orientation," although achievement effects were ambiguous. Extensive background references are included. Three open commentaries immediately follow this paper.
Expanding Beyond a Cognitivist Framework BIBAPDF 21-24
  Jamie Kirkley; Thomas Duffy
In this first of three commentaries on Martinez, Kirkley and Duffy argue that while the goal of tailoring learning environments to each learner's needs is desirable, it is also much more intricate than Martinez's approach allows. Because "learner differentiation is endlessly complex ... it is important to go beyond [her] four categories of learner orientations" when planning instruction, especially computer-mediated instruction.
Note: [commentary]
Intentionality and Other Nonsignificant Issues in Learning BIBAPDF 25-30
  Brad Mehlenbacher
In this second of three commentaries on Martinez, Mehlenbacher praises her "useful framework for evaluating the success or failure of particular learning environments." But he notes that intentionality is really just one among five dimensions of instructional situations (learner background, learner tasks, social dynamics, instructional methods, and learning tools) that all interact to influence educational outcomes.
Note: [commentary]
Commentary on Intentional Learning BIBAPDF 31-32
  Thomas L. Russell
In this third of three commentaries on Martinez, Russell warns not to take Martinez's results (which involved an online course) as somehow endorsing computerized adaptive-learning techniques to the exclusion of other delivery technologies, because "research has proven that it is impossible to show learning advantages of one technology over another."
Note: [commentary]
Integrating Academics and Industry: A Challenge for Both Sides BIBAPDF 33-38
  Kristene Sutliff
The need to produce technical communication graduates comfortable with current tools, trends, and publishing techniques often competes for scarce resources with the need to share and promote basic, enduring principles of usable information. Sutliff urges university faculty and industry practitioners alike to overcome this problem through more collaborative projects, such as mentoring, shadowing, fellowships, advisory boards, guest lectures, and equipment sharing.
Note: [awareness essay]

SIGDOC 2000 Volume 24 Issue 2

CoRR: A Computing Research Repository BIBAPDF 41-48
  Joseph Halpern
Halpern describes the decisions by which the Association for Computing Machinery integrated good features from the Los Alamos e-print (physics) archive and from Cornell University's Networked Computer Science Technical Reference Library to form their own open, permanent, online "computing research repository" (CoRR). Submitted papers are not refereed and anyone can browse and extract CoRR material for free, so CoRR's eventual success could revolutionize computer science publishing. But Halpern, a CoRR co-founder, acknowledges that several serious challenges remain: some journals forbid online preprints, the CoRR user interface is cumbersome, submissions are only self-indexed (no professional library staff manages the archive), and long-term funding is uncertain. In a separate piece in the same issue (72-77), Halpern replies to four commentaries on this proposal.
Issues of Online Research Repositories from the Perspective of the Biomedical Sciences BIBAPDF 49-53
  David Armbruster
In this first of four commentaries on Halpern's repository plan, David Armbruster explains how even though most biomedical publishers explicitly forbid online prepublication of articles in web sites or online repositories, electronic information-sharing projects are still spreading rapidly among biomed workers because of the scientific benefits and the reduced publication costs. As with computer science repositories, however, access and archiving issues remain important and troublesome.
Note: [commentary]
A Usage Based Analysis of CoRR BIBAPDF 54-59
  Les Carr
In this second of four commentaries on Halpern's repository plan, four members of the Open Citation Project, Univ. of Southampton, UK (Les Carr, Steve Hitchcock, Wendy Hall, and Stevan Harnad) assess CoRR's past and likely future roles by analyzing actual usage statistics (such as submissions/month) for it and related online archives. They praise CoRR's "policy and design decisions" but argue for "more effective promotion, stronger support,...and a clearer relationship with refereed journals."
Note: [commentary]
The Dilemma of Credibility versus Speed BIBAPDF 60-63
  James Prekeges
In this third of four commentaries on Halpern's repository plan, James Prekeges points out how CoRR's implicitly constrained but officially open acceptance policy for submitted papers raises concerns about both censorship and credibility at once. To avoid refereeing the incoming papers yet still help readers assess their relative merits, Prekeges suggests using coordinated public comments and ratings in the manner of some online auctions and booksellers.
Note: [commentary]
A Computing Research Repository: Why Not Solve the Problems First? BIBAPDF 64-71
  A. J. Van Loon
In this fourth of four commentaries on Halpern's repository plan, A. J. van Loon notes that CoRR's lack of refereeing threatens the quality of reports deposited, that the database is far from comprehensive in scope, that no sound, permanent financial basis has been provided to continue long-term CoRR service, and that lack of version control could easily confuse prospective users of deposited material. He urges prompt repair of all four problems, before they cause CoRR's "premature death."
Note: [commentary]
A response to the commentaries on CoRR BIBAKPDF 72-77
  Joseph Y. Halpern
This paper responds to specific comments on, suggestions about, and analysis of ACMs Computing Research Repository (CoRR), agruing that CoRR is both viable and suitably placed amid current online publishing alternatives.
Keywords: archiving, collaboration, copyright, journal policies, preprints
Nardi and O'Day's information ecologies: using technology with heart BIBPDF 78
  Robert R. Johnson
Confessions of a Gardener: A Review of Information Ecologies BIBAPDF 79-84
  William Hart-Davidson
In this first of three commentaries on Nardi and O'Day's Information Ecologies, Hart-Davidson places the text and its prime metaphors (ecology, keystone species, environmental "gardening") in the mediating tradition that seeks a middle ground between rigid technological determinism and indifferent value neutrality. This biological approach to situated computer use makes interesting reading, but the stories may not be compelling evidence that users really can shape technological change from the local level.
Note: [book commentary]
At the Heart of Information Ecologies: Invisibility and Technical Communication BIBAPDF 85-90
  Frances Ranney
In this second of three commentaries on Nardi and O'Day's Information Ecologies, Ranney notes how the authors's ecology metaphor provides a useful supplement to other ways of describing the interaction of people with technology. However, it fails to recognize the key role of professional technical communicators (in surprising contrast with librarians) in such human-computer interactions.
Note: [book commentary]
A Review with Applications of Information Ecologies BIBAPDF 91-102
  Dickie Selfe; Dawn Hayden
In this third of three commentaries on Nardi and O'Day's Information Ecologies, Hayden notes how well their biological approach also fits with articulation theory (in rhetoric), since both encourage spelling out alternatives and consequences so as to avoid oversimplified choices about the technology we use. Selfe reviews the relevance of their case studies to promoting suitable technological improvements in K-12 education and finds concerns (about adequate social rewards and sustainability) along with promising parallels.
Note: [book commentary]

SIGDOC 2000 Volume 24 Issue 3

Introduction to this classic reprint and commentaries BIBPDF 105-106
  Bob Waite
The Measurement of Readability: Useful Information for Communicators BIBAPDF 107-121
  George Klare
This classic reprint (with permission) reproduces chapter 1 of George R. Klare's influential overview of readability studies and formulas. This chapter summarizes the strategic lessons from the larger book for both writing readable prose and assessing it afterward. Four open commentaries immediately follow this reprint.
Readability and Computer Documentation BIBAPDF 122-131
  Gretchen Hargis
In this first of four commentaries on Klare's reprint, Gretchen Hargis argues that traditional readability concerns are alive and well, but subsumed within several more recent documentation "quality" efforts. For example, concerns with interestingness and translatability for global markets, with audience analysis and task sufficiency, and with other broad improvements in reader appropriateness of technical text all incorporate readability features, but often in ways not easily measured by any formula.
Note: [commentary]
Readability Formulas Have Even More Limitations Than Klare Discusses BIBAPDF 132-137
  Janice Redish
In this second of four commentaries on Klare's reprint, Janice (Ginny) Redish offers a literature review that reveals many technical weaknesses of readability formulas (when compared to direct usability testing with typical readers): they were developed for children's school books, not adult technical documentation; they ignore between-reader differences and the effects of content, layout, and retrieval aids on text usefulness; they emphasize countable features at the expense of more subtle contributors to text comprehension.
Note: [commentary]
Readability Formulas in the New Millennium: What's the Use? BIBAPDF 138-140
  Karen Schriver
In this third of four commentaries on Klare's reprint, Karen Schriver contents that while readability formulas were intended as a quick benchmark for indexing readability, they are inherently unreliable: they depend on criterion (calibration) passages too short to reflect cohesiveness, too varied to support between-formula comparisons, and too text-oriented to account for the effects of lists, enumerated sequences, and tables on text comprehension. But readability formulas did spark decades of research on what comprehension really involves.
Note: [commentary]
Klare's Useful Information is Useful for Web Designers BIBAPDF 141-147
  Kristin Zibell
In this fourth of four commentaries on Klare's reprint, Kristin Zibell shows the many ways in which the writing principles that Klare recommended 37 years ago to promote high readability scores still apply to web-site design. Behind the pursuit of readability lies audience analysis, a concern with the intellectual level, previous experience, motivation, and reading goals of one's intended audience. Suitably adjusted to take account of online interactivity, those same concerns should guide design work on web structure and interfaces today.
Note: [commentary]
Readable Computer Documentation BIBAPDF 148-168
  George Klare
Klare's retrospective look at his book and the commentary on it shows earlier advice still relevant to both predicting and producing readable writing. For prediction, refined readability formulas with stronger criterion passages and updated familiar-word lists have appeared, although the computerization of readability tests sometimes encourages misapplying or misinterpreting them when screening text. For production, attention to sentence construction, word characteristics, and information density remains relevant to both drafting and revising computer documentation for readability, especially since reading speed and reader preference often interact with comprehension in practical settings.
Note: [commentary response]
Genre Ecologies: An Open-System Approach to Understanding and Constructing Documentation BIBAPDF 169-181
  Clay Spinuzzi; Mark Zachry
Arguing that the current approaches to understanding and constructing computer documentation are based on flawed assumptions, Clay Spinuzzi and Mark Zachry unfold an alternative approach. Using two historical case studies, they describe how viewing texts and their contexts as "genre ecologies" provides needed new insights into the complex ways that people use texts related to computers. This framework helps both users and writers take account of contingency, decentralization, and stability in the use of computer documentation. Three helpful heuristic tools arise from this genre-ecologies perspective: exploratory questions, genre-ecology diagrams, and organic engineering.
Note: [awareness essay]

SIGDOC 2000 Volume 24 Issue 4

Product, Process, and Profit: The Politics of Usability in a Software Venture BIBAPDF 185-203
  Barbara Mirel
By recounting her often dramatic personal adventures for two years as usability manager at a small start-up software firm, Mirel shows how social and political forces ("leadership conflicts, factional disputes, renegade efforts, alliances and betrayals") can overwhelm intellectual forces in influencing the adoption of usability improvements. Three open commentaries immediately follow Mirel's paper. In the first, Patricia Carlson (204-212) places the problem of usability adoption into the larger context of current work-place trends. In the second, Clay Spinuzzi (213-219) argues that the inadequacy of the traditional threefold rhetorical framework (of audience, purpose, and context) lies behind the usability failures that Mirel recounts. In the third, Eric Wiebe (220-226) looks at broader issues of group dynamics, leadership, values, and what he calls "deep reality."
Information Technology and the Emergence of a Worker-Centered Organization BIBAPDF 204-212
  Patricia Carlson
In the first of three commentaries on Mirel, Carlson places the problem of usability adoption into the larger context of current work-place trends. She sees a shift from technology-centered to user- and consumer-centered products (such as groupware and networked information) that indirectly promotes "cognitive facilitation" and hence usability in the long term.
Note: [commentary]
Exploring the Blind Spot: Audience, Purpose, and Context in Products, Process, and Profit BIBAPDF 213-219
  Clay Spinuzzi
In the second of three commentaries on Mirel, Spinuzzi argues that the inadequacy of the traditional threefold rhetorical framework (of audience, purpose, and context) lies behind the usability failures that Mirel recounts. He suggests sociologically broader approaches (activity theory, distributed cognition, actor-network theory) as better alternatives.
Note: [commentary]
Deep Realities: The Fit of Usability in Business BIBAPDF 220-226
  Eric Wiebe
In the third of three commentaries on Mirel, Wiebe revisits the way individuals interact with their (work-place) organization, and he uses parts from Mirel's story to illustrate the effect of group dynamics, leadership, values, and what he calls "deep reality."
Note: [commentary]
Participating from the Sidelines, Online: Facilitating Telementoring Projects BIBAPDF 227-236
  Judith Harris; Candace Figg
Drawing on cases from their long-running Electronic Emissary project in Texas, the authors explain how facilitated, e-mail, remote (and hence asynchronous) mentoring of classroom teachers and students by professional "subject matter experts" can yield benefits for all involved. The roles and duties of the online facilitators in enabling successful e-mail mentoring exchanges get detailed and thoughtful analysis.
Note: [awareness essay]
Metaphor in Theory and Practice: The Influence of Metaphors on Expectations BIBAPDF 237-253
  Anne Hamilton
Hamilton surveys the pervasiveness of metaphor and the sweep of current metaphor theory in this helpful literature review. She then focuses on recent work in human-computer interface metaphors and discusses an exploratory study of the impact of metaphor on attitudes toward online commerce.
Note: [awareness essay]
A Conversational Commentary on From Millwrights to Shipwrights BIBAPDF 254-259
  Jack Jobst; Robert R. Johnson
In this extended book commentary on Brockmann's From Millwrights to Shipwrights, the authors offer in dialog form a series of seven questions and answers about the audience, goals, assumptions, impact, and educational value of R. John Brockmann's 1998 history of technical communication in the United States.
Note: [book commentary]