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RE: Technical Writing [7:50077] posted 07/30/2002
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Its funny you should say that, as I have noticed a few sections in my
current Cisco Press book that are pretty much verbatim from CCO...

-----Original Message-----
From: Priscilla Oppenheimer [mailto:nobody@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx] 
Sent: 30 July 2002 22:52
To: cisco@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Technical Writing [7:50077]

Howard C. Berkowitz wrote:
> Sometimes I will copy a relevant article, putting it into colored

That's kind of the dirty little secret of tech writers, i.e. that we
sometimes start with someone else's work. ;-) Putting it in colored text
is an excellent idea, though, because it reminds you to fix it.
Borrowing somebody else's work and not putting it in your own words is
plagiarism. I get truly disgusted when I see entire paragraphs from CCO
in a document with someone else's name on it. (This has never happened
with Howard's work; I'm just making the comment.)

> text, and rewrite it until it's totally in my words and properly
> linked into the rest of my flow.  

Rewriting is very important, not just to avoid plagiarism. A lot of
Cisco material is as dry as unsalted wheat thins. Also, the writers
don't do what Howard mentioned about getting to the core Zen real
meaning. Instead, they makes lots of assumptions about the reader's
understanding and focus on the "what" and "how," rather than the "why."
I am actually unable to read some Cisco Press books because of this.
Bullets that describe products or product features, for example, don't
help me learn . I have to know why they matter and why you would use
them. Howard is very good at explaining the whys.

OK, that's all for now. ;-)


> I do this not infrequently
> with
> CertZone papers, where I take a section out of CCO and...trying to be
> polite...rewrite it into intelligible and flowing English.

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