Boston Broadside
May/June 2003
Vol. 60,  No. 5
 Newsletter of the Boston Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication


Copyright © STC Boston 2003

Society Awards

Neil Perlin Attains Rank of Associate Fellow

By Christine Jacobs

Neil Perlin  

The Nominating Committee of the Boston Chapter is proud to announce that Neil Perlin has been awarded the rank of Associate Fellow by the Society for Technical Communication. Neil's efforts and dedication to the Society and the technical communication profession are an example and inspiration to Society members.

Professional Background

Neil holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Boston University and an MBA in Accounting and Operations Management, also from Boston University. He is the owner and principal consultant of Hyper/Word Services and is now an internationally recognized expert in online help, online documentation design and development, and tools including WinHelp, HTML Help, CE Help, JavaHelp, XML, WML, RoboHelp, and some now known only in legend. He has worked for numerous clients in several industries, such as Banking and Finance, High Technology, Insurance, and Manufacturing. You can see his company Web site at this URL:

Neil's career has taken several twists, as described in this list.

  • He began his career at Digital Equipment Corporation (now Compaq). His positions included Senior Course Developer in the Educational Services group, Principal Systems Analyst in the Information Systems group, and finally Manager, Component Engineering Training, in the Manufacturing Engineering group.
  • He left Digital Equipment Corporation and spent a year as a contract technical writer, working primarily with an IBM division in White Plains, NY. It was during this period that Neil began researching hypertext concepts, based on an exposure to the idea in the book Dream Machines by Ted Nelson in 1981.
  • Neil joined the documentation-consulting firm of Boston Documentation Design as a senior partner. It was at Boston Documentation Design that Neil encountered some of the earliest PC hypertext software and, using that software, developed what he believes were the second and third commercial PC hypertext applications ever created.
  • He left Boston Documentation Design in April 1990 and started Hyper/Word Services. His initial plan was to create documentation for both online ("Hyper") and hard-copy ("Word") markets. However, by 1994, the online help and documentation development, consulting, and training work had become the major part of Hyper/Word Services' market and direction. Today, Hyper/Word Services provides training, consulting, and development for online help and documentation for a variety of formats, XML, and the mobile wireless Web. Neil is a Certified RoboHELP Instructor and a ForeFront Authorized Trainer.

Contributions to the Advancement of Technical Communication

Neil has had a stellar career in the technical communication field. He has made countless invaluable contributions, including the following ones:
  • Always researches the latest technologies thoroughly and participates in their development for the good of technical communicators, whenever possible. Many consider him an expert and authority on industry technology, but also note his great humility. Whether speaking to novices or experts, he treats all audiences intelligently and warmly.
  • Shares his vast knowledge and enthusiasm by writing many useful articles and presenting at conferences and programs whenever possible. Many consider him one of the best at sharing and explaining the high-tech world that we technical writers live in. He is also viewed as an extremely generous and professional colleague, in terms of sharing his time and talents and providing assistance freely, promptly, and openly.
  • Has trained hundreds of technical communicators through informative seminars and classes on the latest tools through nSight (formerly Editorial Services of New England), Solutions, and independently as Hyper/Word Services.
  • Through his involvement in leading-edge technologies and conferences, has been instrumental in helping to build technical communication into both a respected profession and a community.

Service to the Society

Neil has demonstrated exemplary service to the STC on the chapter, regional, and international levels. His contributions have enriched the Society at each level. Neil was presented with a Distinguished Chapter Service Award in 2000.

Chapter Level

On the chapter level, Neil:

  • Contributes frequently to the award-winning chapter newsletter, the Boston Broadside.
  • Presents frequently and to enthusiastic audiences on the latest "hot" topics at chapter programs and workshops. His engagements always draw large and enthusiastic crowds, because his sessions are often introduced with clever and witty titles, always presented with humor and professionalism, and consistently chockfull of useful information.
  • Served as a Boston Chapter Council member at large in 1995 and 1996.
  • Started and acted as coordinator of the Boston Chapter's Electronic Documentation SIG from 1993 to 1996.

Regional Level

On the regional level, Neil:

  • Has been involved in the Boston/Northern New England Chapters' Online Documentation Competition since 1992 in a variety of roles including judge, judges' trainer, and technical troubleshooter.
  • Served as a columnist for the Northern New England chapter's newsletter (the Nor'Easter) from May 1993 to June 1994.
  • Presents frequently at Connecticut chapter programs since the early 90's and at programs of other chapters in the region.

International Level

On the international level, Neil:

  • Contributes quarterly columns to the Online Information SIG's newsletter, Hyperviews:Online. Neil produces intelligent, useful, and straightforward columns on a range of topics that are of interest to the SIG membership. The newsletter editor credits Neil's contributions as a necessary ingredient to the success of Hyperviews:Online.
  • Is the author of the "Beyond the Bleeding Edge" column in the STC's intercom magazine. Neil's topics in these columns are thought-provoking and timely for practitioners looking to the future of the technical communication.
  • Started and runs the Beyond the Bleeding Edge substem at the STC's annual conferences.
  • Serves as one of the STC's representatives to the Worldwide Web Consortium.

Invaluable Contributions

Neil's focus has been on technologies and applications at the leading edge and on the integration of the technology with the business and process aspects. He thrives on sharing his excitement and knowledge of the newest technologies with his fellow technical communicators, which he does in a clear, witty, informative, and generous way.

All parts of the Society require contributions from the various disciplines within the technical communication field. Neil is an outstanding contributor from the independent consultant world. The Boston Chapter, and STC itself, are enhanced beyond measure by the energy, dedication, intelligence, professionalism, friendliness, and unselfish devotion of Neil Perlin. It is clear that we in the Boston Chapter are not the only ones that have recognized Neil's invaluable contributions and his vision for our field.

Christine Jacobs is the member of the Boston Chapter Nominating Committee who prepares the Association Fellow nominations. She is a senior member of STC and a principal technical writer at Oracle Corporation.

Broadside in PDF | Print-friendly Article