Part II: The Changing Role of Technical Communicators : Origins of the Technical Communication Profession
Origins of the Technical Communication Profession
Although examples of help documentation have been discovered in ancient Egyptian and Greek cultures, modern technical communication did not begin to emerge as a profession until World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945) when defense forces required extensive documentation for the use of weaponry, aeronautics and other defense-related products. However, it was not until 1949 that the first example of computer-related documentation appeared when Joseph D. Chapline penned the user manual for the BINAC computer. 1 In 1950, Chapline authored an eight-page pamphlet called Technical Writing. In 1953, the Society of Technical Writers (STW) in Boston, Massachusetts and the Association of Technical Writers and Editors (ATWE) in New York formed to advance the theory and practice of technical communication. The two organizations merged in 1957 to form the Society for Technical Communication2 (STC), thus solidifying an industry.

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