It is time our profession had a defined body of knowledge. Why?
The data I and others have collected show that communicators seem to be spending about the same amount of time on communication processes as they are on creating end-user documents or products. If we want to maximize our value to the business functions of corporations and agencies, we need a body of knowledge that will make that value clear to employers.
The BOK task force that I co-chair with Mark Hanigan is working hard to develop a Knowledge Portal that will make accessible, in one easy-to-navigate web-based portal, the body of technical-communication knowledge that has evolved over time.
The Knowledge Portal will fill these critical needs:
For me, the most amazing aspect of the BOK project has been seeing how productively STC members collaborate over time and distance. The BOK “map” of domains and skills received hundreds of helpful suggestions last June at the Summit in Philadelphia. And last September, when the proposed site map for this portal was posted on the STC website, over 150 STC members from all over the globe provided comments. Now we are populating the map nodes with content and will showcase our progress at the upcoming Summit in Atlanta, where we hope to gain more contributors. Such collective knowledge making is powerful indeed – imagine all 13,000 STC members worldwide contributing their piece of the knowledge puzzle.
With job layoffs, cutbacks in institutional budgets, and disappearance of companies, the one constant that cannot be reduced is your knowledge – knowledge of how to do many things in addition to writing clear documentation.
Your knowledge is your power, in any economic climate. Stay tuned for BOK updates.
STC Director at Large
Candidate for 2009 2nd Vice-President