Effective Technical Writing in the Information Age


If you can read this, thank a teacher.

This manual would not have been possible without the encouragement of my best students and teachers, stretching back 40 years to my favorite high school English teacher, Stephanie Hollick. Early versions of this manual were actively supported by Dean John Cahir and Dean John Dutton, whose steadfast mentorship led me into a rewarding 20-year career in Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Many students I worked with during this career inspired me with their academic successes, life ambitions, diverse talents, and warm senses of humor. Some of those same students voluntarily supplied me with the original documents that serve as examples within this manual, and though I do not honor the students specifically by name here I do have their names written down at home, and I recall all of them fondly.

This electronic edition of my style manual would not have been possible without the creative support team at Penn State's John A. Dutton e-Education Institute and the Institute's Open Educational Resources (OER) Initiative. I owe particular thanks to Jennifer Babb, Instructional Design Assistant, who laid out the book in Drupal and taught me the basics of using the software, guiding me patiently through the process and always with a watchful eye for continuity, form, utility, and professionalism. Eric Spielvogel, Multimedia Specialist, designed the artful interface for the manual, even finding creative ways to integrate the look of the previous print edition. These individuals, along with others who are part of the OER Initiative and collaborated on this project, came along in my life at just the right time. I had speculated about making this book available for free online for years, and I just needed the right support team.

Finally, I am indebted most to Professor William Hofelt, Juniata College, whose sensibility and sensitivity have always guided my adult life. As with previous versions of this book, this new edition is dedicated to Bill, my best teacher.