The Technical Stylist on the Battle of the Usage Guides

by Kathy Underwood
Kathy Underwood is an editor in the Technical Editing Department at SAS Institute Inc. She serves as lead for the SAS Style Guide, co-lead for writer and editor training, and a member of the Terminology Team. Before coming to SAS, Kathy worked as a publications manager, writer, and editor. She taught technical writing at the University of Washington (in what is now the Human Centered Design & Engineering Department) for seven years. And she served for five years on the international Board of Directors of STC.

In the Technical Editing Department at SAS Institute Inc. (a worldwide software company), one of the questions we often get from around the company staffers is about which is the best grammar and usage guide. We do have a standard list of style references, which includes the Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition), the Microsoft Manual of Style (3rd edition now—4th edition coming in January), the Global English Style Guide (by our own staffer, John Kohl), and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th Edition). Read the rest of this entry »

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Discovering the Field of Scientific Editing

Nancy Titus Napierala

I had no idea that technical editing could be a career path, yet that is what I learned when I took a class in this field as a graduate student at Northern Illinois University. Considering for the first time the possibility of specializing in the field of technical communication, I recalled my impression that scientific writing and editing must be highly difficult and specialized. People with traditional humanities backgrounds (like mine) are also thought to be averse to anything connected with such hard sciences as mathematics, chemistry, physics, or engineering. Yet I had already experienced another seemingly high-tech field — accounting. Read the rest of this entry »