Issue 75, 26 August 2003
Editor: Jean Hollis Weber
In this issue...
Seeking a website content discussion list
Glossary Manager software
Software: The Literary Machine
Blocking unwanted email
Keeping website links up to date
WIPO CD-ROM on intellectual property
For Australians: Grammar for Writers and Editors Workshop, 13 and 20 September 2003
My books: Taming Microsoft Word and others
Subscription information and privacy statement
A reader asked, "I'm looking for an e-mail list of people who are generating content for web sites. Do you know of any?
"I'm currently leading an overhaul of my org's site (my areas are structure, content, tone, navigation, usability testing -- everything but the programming), and I'm feeling the need to be constantly exposed to cutting-edge ideas.
"I'm extremely surprised that e-mail lists for web content managers are so well hidden or don't exist. What do you think the reasons are? In my experience, there is often an adversarial relationship between 'web masters' and 'content managers.' In fact, many web sites are housed in IT departments while others are managed in communications departments. Maybe content managers just haven't gotten together as a group?"
My suggestions: I used to enjoy the online newsletter Contentious, but it hasn't been published since August 2002. You can still read the archives at http://www.contentious.com/.
The associated mailing list, Online Writing ("for those who write and edit for the online medium") is now hosted by the Poynter Institute, http://talk.poynter.org/cgi-bin/lyris.pl?visit=online-writing
The online-writing list used to have some relevant threads, despite being mostly oriented towards journalism. I haven't been a subscriber in years -- too busy!
Scott Abel, Content Management Strategist, email@example.com wrote, "I'm not sure if any such lists -- big, useful ones -- exist. However, you can keep an eye on my site for such a list. http://www.thecontentwrangler.com/. I've added that to my new content ideas folder and intend on locating some resources and sharing them with others."
Someone else wrote, "The only thing I am aware of that comes close to what your colleague wants would be the Usenet comp.infosystems.www.authoring hierarchy. Most of it is concerned with the mechanics of HTML, CSS, images -- what you call programming -- but if you have Usenet access, check out the site design newsgroup. At the very least, you should get some pointers to mailing lists, if such exist."
John Garside wrote, The HTML Writers Guild has a selection of lists: http://www.hwg.org/lists/mailinglists.html
Another correspondent sent me a long list of possible lists, but none of them seemed to fill the bill. That's what I found the last time (a year or two ago) I did a search like this-- I turned up lots of lists that didn't fit the need, and a bunch of possibles that I had to wade through to decide they weren't what was wanted either. I keep hoping someone will say "yes, I belong to X and it's great; here's why." I'm surprised that there doesn't seem to be anything out there, or that it's so well hidden if it is.
Lastly, I've reviewed Crawford Kilian's "Writing for the Web" books previously in this newsletter. Now I suggest that you might find his weblog (blog) useful too. http://crofsblogs.typepad.com/
Peter Mares firstname.lastname@example.org wrote, "I have written software called Glossary Manager that is aimed at technical writers, lecturers and possibly students who need to create, manage and publish glossaries quickly and easily.
"A trial version can be downloaded from http://www.kinkycode.com/?section=products&sub=glossaryman
"It would be really useful if you sent any suggestions, criticism etc."
From the website: "Glossary Manager has infinite cross referencing capabilities, extensible API architecture (for 3rd party plugins), user friendly interface which makes cross referencing and editing terms and definitions easy and a powerful search capability..."
Jean's comment: This product has two versions: shareware and commercial; the latter includes additional features. It looks interesting, but I haven't had a chance to try it out yet. If anyone has tried it, do get in touch; I'd like to publish a review.
Kathy Krajco email@example.com writes, "The Literary Machine is a tool to help writers shape a vast amount of material into a coherent document before porting it into their favorite word processor or desktop publisher for polishing.
"The core of The Literary Machine is a relational database based on the Borland Database Engine. Information (including sounds, text, and pictures) is stored on electronic note cards marked by keywords that can be combined to form hybrid concepts. The system thus serves as a textual concept-mapper or concept-tracker and a brainstorming tool.
"External information (e.g., Web pages and local files) can be integrated with the database and displayed and searched from within LM. Unlike other information managers, LM is optimized for processing information, not for merely storing vast amounts of it, so it occupies a different niche in the market.
"LM 2000 is the freeware edition -- not a demo or a trial or nagware." LM Pro 1.4 (the commercial version) has been released. For more information on both versions, visit http://www.literarymachine.com/
Jean's comment: This program looks very interesting, but I haven't had time to try it out yet. I'd like to hear from anyone who has used either either the free or pro version.
I've seen two common ways for people to hide email addresses from software, while allowing humans to find out the address:
- When giving your address in a note to a mailing list, replacing the @ sign with [space]at[space]
- Giving your address as name@TAKETHISOUTdomain.com or variations on that theme.
Neither of these solutions look very good if you put them on a website, but they do fine for email, even to a mailing list.
Another possibility is to use a service like http://www.bluebottle.com/ (free) or http://www.digiportal.com/choicemail.html (pay after 14-day trial) or http://spamarrest.com/ (pay after 30-day trial), or similar.
With these services, whenever anybody first sends you an email, the message is held pending and a message is returned to the sender. The sender then has to send a message back to the service, after which the pending message is forwarded for you. Since automatic bulk-mail generating software usually does not have anybody reading return email, such mail is blocked. This doesn't always work, for reasons I don't have time to go into here, but since I started using a blocking system, my unwanted email has been cut to almost nothing.
Potentially blocked email is listed on a web page for a certain time. You can unblock a message (e.g. software upgrade notification) to receive that message and any others from the same source.
After someone has responded to the authentication messaage, any subsequent messages from them are forwarded automatically. You can also specify source addresses whose messages will be allowed through without having to send a response.
Here's a wonderful free link-checking tool that I don't use nearly enough (no time) but is great when I do use it! Xenu's Link Sleuth, written by Tilman Hausherr and available for downloading from http://home.snafu.de/tilman/xenulink.html. Installation is simple; just unzip the file into a directory and run xenu.exe.
The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has released an updated version of its free CD-ROM, "Intellectual Property for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)".
"The CD-ROM is intended to raise awareness about the role of intellectual property in leveraging business development and improving competitiveness among the global SME community", says a statement from WIPO.
To order a free copy of the CD-ROM, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with your complete mailing address.
You will also find the complete information available on this CD on or through the home page of the SMEs Division of WIPO, along with more up-to-date information. http://www.wipo.int/sme/
The Society of Editors (NSW) is holding a professional development workshop on grammar for writers and editors.
Presented by Robert Veel, editor and language education consultant Saturday 13 September and Saturday 20 September, 9 am to 5 pm, Sydney Room, Level 2, City Tattersalls Club, 198 Pitt Street, Sydney (between Market and Park streets).
Cost: $250 members of the Society of Editors; $310 non-members (includes lunch, morning and afternoon tea). As this is a two-day workshop, participants cannot book for only one day.
Enquiries to Pauline Waugh, email@example.com Bookings to Society of Editors (NSW), PO Box 254, Broadway NSW 2007, by Friday 5 September 2003. Late bookings cannot be accepted. If you’re using a credit card to book, you may phone (9660 0335) or fax (9660 9375) your booking to the society’s treasurer, Janice Beavan.
This two-day workshop will enable each topic to be covered comprehensively. The workshop will focus on how knowledge of grammar can help writers and editors make texts more readable. Sessions will include:
- Language analysis principles: language structure; social/cultural contexts and meaning; 'ranks' in the language system -- sound/letter, word, phrase, clause, clause complex, text.
- Clauses and clause constituents: different types of clauses; relationships between clauses; differences between spoken and written language; identifying processes, participants (nouns and noun groups) and circumstances in clauses.
- Punctuation: its relationship to words, groups and clauses; heavy and light punctuation.
- Plus a Q & A session, covering any problems of grammar and editing that participants want to raise.
Taming OpenOffice.org Writer,
Taming Microsoft Word (3 editions, for Word 2002, 2000, and 97), http://www.jeanweber.com/books/tmw
Editing Online Help, http://www.jeanweber.com/books/olhbk.htm
Electronic Editing, http://www.jeanweber.com/books/e-edit.htm
© Copyright 2003, Jean Hollis Weber. All rights reserved.
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