Monthly Archives: September 2016

Applying Standard Approaches toward Improving Usability – 6 Oct 2016 [Meeting]

Need to rally a team or a stakeholder on the importance of standards for a content development project? This presentation provides an overview of benefits and costs of developing content with standards.

An overview of standards used by technical communicators includes XML, DITA, HTML, CSS, and WAI. In addition, some projects also involve reference to other discipline-specific standards.

On October 6, notions of the applicability of standards for content development projects were explored through an array of values to be obtained by uses of standards. Ron answered questions about applicability and presented specific examples of standards and their many uses.

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President’s Message – 2016-Q3

What happened during our chapter’s summer vacation? The timing of this year’s two-month break gave EBSTC leaders the perfect opportunity to find a new resturant for our monthly dinner meetings. On September 8, we had an exceptional turnout for our first event at The Brass Door in San Ramon.

Its three private banquet rooms are very popular with local groups, so be sure to ask staff at the door to direct you to the STC room — or you may end up sitting in on the dog society’s meeting (this really happened!).

On Friday, September 9, your chapter president became a blushing bride after 33 years of unwedded bliss. Turns out that “little piece of paper” does offer benefits as we approach retirement age.

Liz Miller
EBSTC President

Editor’s Message – 2016-Q3

Welcome back to another issue of the Devil Mountain Views. As we move towards the final quarter of 2016, STC has opened the 2017 membership seasonmembership season. Renew today to get a discount on your membership. (Use the promo code STC2017 on the last page of the online application.)

The final quarter of the year also means it’s time for Touchstone, the Northern California Technical Communications Competition. The deadline for submission is Saturday, October 8, 2016. You can learn more in our article about Touchstone.

In this issue, we also bring you the resources and details of a technical writing workshop held by T.R. Girill (STC Fellow). T. R. has been elemental in leading and promoting our technical literacy project. You can also read about our September meeting and access the presentation on how to lead and thrive in a content-rich world.

If you are interested in writing a newsletter article, a dinner meeting report or a book review, we welcome your participation. Please contact me with your ideas.

Ashwini Tharval
Managing Editor

Teachers Meet Authentic Technical Writing in Summer Workshop

In their 2012 article on “Reading, Writing, and Thinking Like a Scientist” Gina Cervetti and P. David Pearson summarize the evidence that

embedding direct instruction of comprehension strategies in extended, knowledge-building investigations…supports students’ literacy development better than direct instruction of comprehension strategies that are divorced from the context of explicit and theme-based knowledge development. [Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 55(7), 580-586, April, 2012, DOI: 10.1002/JAAL.00069]

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Touchstone 2016-2017 Call for Entries

Be Recognized for Your Technical Documentation!

The 2016-17 Touchstone Technical Communication Competition is now accepting entries in the following categories:

  • Technical Print Publications and Documentation
  • Online Technical Communication
  • Technical Art

The deadline for entries is Saturday, October 8, 2016.

What is Touchstone?

Touchstone advances the field of technical communication by recognizing outstanding work. Touchstone awards can bring recognition from professional peers and increased visibility with employers and clients.

The competition will culminate in an awards ceremony in January 2017. Workplace awards presentations may be arranged for those who request them. Workplace presentations are often attended by entrants’ peers, managers, and company executives.


  • Touchstone’s experienced judges provide feedback to help entrants improve their work. Many entrants prize this feedback as a valuable benefit of having entered.
  • p award winners in the Touchstone competition are sent on to compete in the STC international technical communication competition.
  • Beyond the direct benefits you receive from entering the Touchstone competition, its existence and continued success help to educate clients and employers about the value of what technical communicators do.
  • Competition proceeds support the STC Kenneth Gordon Scholarship. The Gordon Scholarship benefits the profession by providing scholarships to students in technical communication programs in Northern California.