Technical Communication at the University of Kansas

Useful Web Links for Technical Communicators

Web Links

English 362 Index

Syllabus

Assignments List

Textbooks

Handouts

Scoring Checklist

Measures of Good Technical Communication

Technical Communication Defined

About McKitterick


The links on this page provide great information for technical communicators.

Click here for HTML, CSS, and website links on this page; for quick accessibility, here are the subcategories (FYI: I made these links using the id attribute for the titles' <p> tags; for example: <p id="HTML"> to identify the target location, and <a href="#HTML">linktext</a> to make the hyperlink):
    Getting Your Own Web Space - Free
    HTML References
    HTML and CSS Tutorials
    HTML and FTP Program Downloads - Free
    Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), Scripting, and Advances in HTML
    Social-Networking Tools for Your Website
    Validators and Other Tools
Click here for research resources links on this page.
Click here for the Careers in Technical Communication links page.


Blackboard
This is where you turn in all your assignments! More BB-related things:

Creative Commons Licenses
Their self-description: "The Creative Commons copyright licenses and tools forge a balance inside the traditional 'all rights reserved' setting that copyright law creates. Our tools give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work. The combination of our tools and our users is a vast and growing digital commons, a pool of content that can be copied, distributed, edited, remixed, and built upon, all within the boundaries of copyright law."

Markel's Companion Website
This site contains vast amounts of information, practice exercises, examples, "Case of the Month," and a giant link library for technical communicators. It even has teaching resources, such as Microsoft PowerPoint slides for using as lectures! Your time roving this site is well-spent.

KU Writing Center
This site puts you in contact with writing consultants who can work with writers from all disciplines. These consultants are qualified to look at papers from architecture to zoology. They are also able to work with students at any level and at any stage of their writing process, from first draft to final product.

The Writing Centers are open in several different locations across campus. Check the website at www.writing.ku.edu for current locations and hours. They welcome both drop-ins and appointments, and they do not charge for their services.

Dictionary.com
This site contains another online dictionary.

Internet.com PC Webopedia
This site contains a dictionary of technical terms.

Free Microsoft Office Viewers
If you want to post, say, a Microsoft Word document on your website, some people might not be able to read it because they don't have Microsoft Office on their computers. But, hark! Here is your answer: Include a link to the free readers listed on this page, and all will be well. Also, this might be your answer if you want to read Office documents created elsewhere, but don't want to buy Office for your home (or shared) computer.

Graphics, Videos, and Other Visual Communications
This page hosts lots of tips, how-to videos, and samples of excellent visual communications across the Web. Check these out for ideas on enhancing your documents or creating your own visual or multimedia communications.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary
This site contains Merriam-Webster's online dictionary.

Society for Technical Communication
The STC is a membership organization dedicated to advancing the arts and sciences of technical communication.

Symbols.com
This website contains "the world's largest online encyclopedia of graphic symbols," and uses an advanced index with search feature to help you find the symbol you need for your technical document.

TechWeb Encyclopedia
This site contains an encyclopedia of technical terms.

Wikipedia.org
The worldwide, open-source encyclopedia. If you can't find it here, add it yourself!

WinWriters
Resources and conference for technical writers (particularly in the computer field).

HTML, CSS, and Website-Building Links

This section includes tons of resources to get you up and running - and feeling confident! - with HTML, CSS, and website-building. Items marked with * mean those are sources I use regularly when helping people get up to speed with making websites, and things you'll want to use while running through the tutorials and building websites.

Getting Your Own Web Space - Free

* KU Academic Computing Web Hosting
Sign up here for a free personal Website at KU. Go here to see the whole tutorial (now with videos) on How to Create a Free KU Website.

KU Web Standards Reference
If you want to build an official KU Website, you need to follow these guidelines.

HTML References

Backgrounds and Colors Reference (W3C)
Handy and in-depth reference for writing Web page backgrounds.

* Background Image Reference and Samples
Good, basic background images to give your pages some texture. Download these and FTP them up to your site rather than hot-link to this site.

Background Image Samples
This is a really nice resource for background images to use on your Web pages. Download these and FTP them up to your site rather than hot-link to this site.

Color Scheme Designer
A super tool for trying out color schemes for your website. It uses a color wheel and then shows colors that go well together... heck, it's easier to just show you a screenshot of it in action.

Font Directory by Google
This page lists several font faces and shows how they appear on your browser, plus discusses how to use the open API they offer.

Forms in HTML (W3C)
Abstract: This document specifies how to create forms in HTML. An HTML form is a section of a document containing special elements like checkboxes, radio buttons, menus, and labels on those controls. Users generally "complete" a form by entering text, selecting menu items, and so on before submitting the form to a Web server, mail server, and so on.

Frames in HTML (W3C)
Abstract: This document specifies level 1 of the Cascading Style Sheet mechanism (CSS1). CSS1 is a simple style sheet mechanism that allows authors and readers to attach style (e.g. fonts, colors and spacing) to HTML documents.

* HTML and CSS Tips and FAQs
I put together this little demo and mini-tutorial to give you ideas and help solve basic problems. Check it out!

Image Maps
An image map is a graphic that contains links mapped to various portions of the image. On the World Literature Today Science Fiction issue, you might find this image-based table of contents inspiring - it uses image maps to go to various other pages. Go here and here for tutorials on making your own image maps.

What's New in HTML5
This page lists the new elements and attributes unique to the newest HTML version 5.

* HTML Color Codes
This page lists all the colors, their friendly names, and their corresponding HTML codes for use in brightening up Web pages.

HTML Special Characters
This page lists the codes to type when you want something like the trademark symbol™, non-breaking spaces, and much more. And here's another one.

List of HTML Tags
A simple list of all the tags you can use when building a website.

Webmonkey Color Codes Reference
This WIRED Magazine page lists all the colors and corresponding codes for use in brightening up Web pages. They have a whole bunch of "cheat sheets" - references for website-building. 

HTML and CSS Tutorials

* How to Create a Free KU Website
Start here if you're new at this. I put together this overview of how to get a free website at KU, make the pages that will become your website, and then upload your files to the Internet. Now includes four video tutorials so you can follow along as I build a website and upload it to the internet.

HTML Code Tutorial
A great way to learn all about HTML, frames, and cascading style sheets.

* HTML Dog Tutorials
This site contains a number of excellent tutorials. We use these during our HTML Exercise assignment:
    HTML Beginner Tutorial
    HTML Intermediate Tutorial
    CSS Beginner Tutorial

HTML Goodies
A great source for learning about HTML. Includes a self-directed course.

HTML Tutorial
Learn how to write HTML. By the Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction (MCLI).

Markel's Web Design Tutorial
Super resource site for building Web pages.

W3schools.com
A great resource for testing out code, especially for new Web designers. It contains tons of tutorials on HTML, HTML5, CSS, and lots of other Web-coding, as well. One of its most popular aspects is the "try it out" feature. The left side of the page shows the code, and the right side displays how it looks in a browser. You can edit the code on the left and the page on the right shows your changes - super useful!

Web Pages That Suck
This site helps you make better Web sites by pointing out common errors Web-designers make.  

HTML and FTP Program Downloads - Free! - for PC and Mac

ConTEXT (for PC)
This full-featured program-language interface highlights elements of code (in this case, HTML) far easier editing than with Notepad alone.

Cyberduck (for Mac)
From a student user: "I used Cyberduck to upload the files. It is not quite as user-friendly as WinSCP, but it worked for me. Make sure you are using a secure internet connection, use the SFTP connection when connecting to your site, and just drag the saved files from your computer to update and overwrite the files you use for your site."

Komodo-Edit (for Mac)
For Mac users, reported to be super-easy to use and free.:
 Both can be found at download.com

Firebug
If you use the Mozilla Firefox Web browser, this free snap-in gives you development tools to make building your website a snap. Still requires some learning to take full advantage of its features, but if you keep building websites, it's worth a try.

HTML Kit (for PC)
This full-featured HTML editor is also available to download from Download.com.

Mozilla Composer
Go here to download Mozilla - the Web browser - with its built-in HTML editor called "Composer."

Microsoft Expression Web 4 (Free PC Version)
Full-featured WYSIWYG editor for building websites - takes a bunch of practice to become familiar with powerful tools like this, but makes updating websites simpler in the long run. Be aware that WYSIWYG editors often do things to your code that you didn't intend, and often use markup language you wouldn't necessarily choose, and often try to force inline styles when what you really want is all your pages to use a truly cascading style sheet. Just watch your code and clean it up before you upload! My usual process is to start building a new website manually with something like Notepad++, then save the template I just created. Whenever I edit later, I use the two-pane-view Expression Web to easily find the part of the document I want to edit.

* Notepad++ (for PC)
This program gives you a lot more power in editing Web pages than a basic text editor like Notepad, because it shows tags, tag attributes, and content in different colors. Check out this screenshot I took to get an idea of how handy it can be. To download, click Current Version on the Download page.

Notepad++ Plugins (for PC)
People have developed a bunch of tools to make Notepad++ even more useful - check 'em out!

TextWrangler (for Mac)
This is a highly recommended basic-text editor for use on Macintosh computers. Think of it as Notepad for Mac. From a student user: "It works as well for Macs as Notepad++ did in class for PCs."

Transmit (for Mac)
This is a recommended secure FTP (SFTP) program for use on Macintosh computers. Be sure to use the SFTP tab in the program!

* WinSCP (for PC)
This kind of program is necessary for transferring files from your computer to your Website, safely and securely. Important: You must use a secure FTP (SFTP) program, like this one, to upload files to KU servers. Plain FTP (like that built-in to a lot of WYSIWYG editors) will not work.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), Scripting, and Advances in HTML

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) for Beginners (W3C)
Learn to use cascading style sheets (CSS) from the people who set the standards. "The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) develops interoperable technologies (specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) to lead the Web to its full potential. W3C is a forum for information, commerce, communication, and collective understanding."

Cascading Style Sheets, Level 1 (W3C standards)
Abstract: This document specifies level 1 of the Cascading Style Sheet mechanism (CSS1). CSS1 is a simple style sheet mechanism that allows authors and readers to attach style (e.g. fonts, colors and spacing) to HTML documents.

* Cascading Style Sheets, Tips and Tricks (W3C)
A random collection of CSS examples and some help in using them.

CSS-Based Navigation Bar (W3Schools)
This handy step-by-step tutorial helps you create nifty-looking navigation panels for your website.

CSS Tips and Tricks
A nice guide to mastering CSS with lots of tips.

Scripts in HTML Documents (W3C standards)
Scripts allow you more control over your HTML documents and Web pages than simple HTML coding allows. This W3C document specifies scripting standards for HTML pages.

HTML 5 References and Tutorials
This site contains much of what you need to know in order to get started in the newest Web-development language.

Social-Networking Tools for Your Website

The more interconnected your site is, the more useful, accessible, and visible it'll become. For example, just about everyone in the world is now on Facebook, so it's a good idea to consider using the Facebook Developer tools to link your (or your organization's) Facebook page or group or whatever with your official website.

Are you present on other social-networking sites, too? Get to know the developer tools for them, as well. Take advantage of the icons that the various sites offer to make attractive logos a visible part of your interconnectedness.

Validators and Other Tools

HTML Validator (W3C)
This online tool checks your code for errors... but be aware that it marks things as "errors" that might simply be not optimal for certain versions of HTML. Your file has to be online for it to be able to check it.

CSS Validator (W3C)
Like the HTML Validator, this online tool checks your CSS.

Textism: Word HTML Cleaner
This neat tool allows you to clean up documents saved in Microsoft Office and help make them easier to edit into HTML documents... though it still requires a bit of cleanup.

Research Links

Here are links to some popular Web search engines:

AltaVista
Ask Jeeves
Excite
Google
HotBot
Lycos
Metacrawler
MSN Search
NorthernLight
Yahoo!

More research-related links:

SearchEngineWatch
This Website tracks all the search engines in use. Lots of information, some of which might be useful.

Diana Hacker's Companion Website
This site contains almost all of the information you'll find in Diane Hacker's handbook, Research and Documentation in the Electronic Age. Appropriate enough for a book about online research, I might add!

Google's Guide to Advanced Web Searches ("Cheat Sheet") 
This is the reference you need to perform the most-accurate and quickest Web search using Google and many other Web-based search engines. Invaluable.

KU Faculty Experts Guide
Search here to find subject-matter experts who work for the University.

The KU Libraries Research Website
This is the portal to all the University Libraries have to offer, including online databases. Invaluable!

Lexis-Nexis
Use this free-to-KU (from campus terminals) research site to find anything ever published. An awesome research tool.

Librarians' Index to the Internet
Wonderful research for all researchers, put together by librarians whose job it is to help you find what you need.

The WWW Virtual Library
Another Internet index put together by the loving hands of librarians.


Careers in Technical Communication Page

Stay tuned - more links to come.

Last updated 3/31/2015