Document Design and Production



Intercom article

Note: This assignment is due by 5:00 pm on April 29th. You do not have the entire weekend for it.


Research and write an article for the STC magazine Intercom. The topic must be relevant to document design and this class.

Topic approval is to make sure you have a valid idea and are on track. It is not the 100 word query you will have to write for the editor.

Turn in

Intercom article formatted for submission to Intercom.

Annotated bib of your sources

100 word article query to the editor (see the guidelines)


Guidelines: http://intercom.stc.org/write-for-intercom/author-guidelines/

Must include graphics. (note how the guidelines say to submit them. I expect the same.)

In a separate document, include a short annotation for all of the sources you use. This is a graduate level assignment, but writing for a practitioner audience. I expect you to be able figure out how many sources are required. 0-1 is insufficient, but 15 is too many.

This is a combination academic research paper and professional writing assignment. Thus, use the citations, but be sure to shape them for the audience.


Article 66%

Written for the audience.

Conforms to the Intercom guidelines (would it get returned for reformatting?)

Valid topic. (minus 30% if you change topic without my approval)


appropriate for the topic

properly prepared for submission

effectively presents the information

Annotated bib 33%

4-6 sentence annotation

Summarizes the article and is not just rephrase/copy of the abstract.

Starts with a full citation for the article.


Potential article problems

Writing a typical academic essay with long complex sentences.

Loading the article with jargon.

Writing down to the audience. They are not a general reader who knows nothing about the design. They are practing techncial communicators.

Trying to cover too much. Don't pick 14 design topics and give each a three sentence paragraph.


Annotated bib writing help

Various web sources (zillions are out there, but most are focused on freshman comp)

Writing an annotated bibliography
Annotated bibliography

Potential annotated bib problems

Writing a three sentence summary that simply repeats the title. This assignment calls for at least 1/2 page single spaced. Most of the examples you find on the web are shorter than that.

Paraphrasing the abstract. The abstract of an article is shorter than these annotations and it's very clear if you are just paraphrasing without understanding what the article is talking about.

Saying "X discusses ways to do Y" and then stopping. Expand and summarize the main points of how to do Y and why it's important.

Having too broad a topic. For example, there are zillions of articles on design for the web. You must have a common theme for the annotated bib, and design for the web is too broad to have a common theme.

Writing too much on the data collection, rather than results of a research article. Do not give lots of details about a research study methods. The reader does not care that there were 32 subjects who were asked to read 500 words each while jumping up and down. Discuss the research's main findings and how they are relevant to your topic and information design in general.

Finding a blog-type site that has several entries and using each entry as a separate source. (Note that blogs are not academic and, even it was academic, you can only use 2 sources for any one website.)

The annotated bib is to provide a research reference for other people.  It is not a summary of how the article is useful to you.  In other words, do not include lines like this:

This article will be useful in my research because I'm writing about Madonna as musical graffiti, arguing that she uses verbal and physical language that break down boundaries between different cultural forms.



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