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Genre ecologies: an open-system approach to understanding and constructing documentation

Genre ecologies: an open-system approach to understanding and constructing documentation Arguing that current approaches to understanding and constructing computer documentation are based on the flawed assumption that documentation works as a closed system, the authors present an alternative way of thinking about the texts that make computer technologies usable for people. Using two historical case studies, the authors describe how a genre ecologies framework provides new insights into the complex ways that people use texts to make sense of computer technologies. The framework is designed to help researchers and documentors account for contingency, decentralization, and stability in the multiple texts the people use while working with computers. The authors conclude by proposing three heuristic tools to support the work of technical communicators engaged in developing documentation today: exploratory questions, genre ecology diagrams, and organic engineering. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png ACM Journal of Computer Documentation (JCD) Association for Computing Machinery

Genre ecologies: an open-system approach to understanding and constructing documentation

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Publisher
Association for Computing Machinery
Copyright
Copyright © 2000 by ACM Inc.
ISSN
1527-6805
DOI
10.1145/344599.344646
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Arguing that current approaches to understanding and constructing computer documentation are based on the flawed assumption that documentation works as a closed system, the authors present an alternative way of thinking about the texts that make computer technologies usable for people. Using two historical case studies, the authors describe how a genre ecologies framework provides new insights into the complex ways that people use texts to make sense of computer technologies. The framework is designed to help researchers and documentors account for contingency, decentralization, and stability in the multiple texts the people use while working with computers. The authors conclude by proposing three heuristic tools to support the work of technical communicators engaged in developing documentation today: exploratory questions, genre ecology diagrams, and organic engineering.

Journal

ACM Journal of Computer Documentation (JCD)Association for Computing Machinery

Published: Aug 1, 2000

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