By Wendy Boston
Boston Chapter Special Interest Groups (SIGs) have jumped in number this year. The addition of the IdeaWatch SIG and the Special Needs SIG increases the number of SIGs to a total of five for the start of the upcoming yeargreat news for our membership!
These new SIGs join the well established ones:
All SIG meetings are held at the Sheraton Lexington Inn. Fees are $5 for STC members and $10 for nonmembers. For information about STC Boston Chapter SIG offerings, see the Special Interest Groups page (http://stc-boston.org/sigs/sigs.shtml).
The IdeaWatch SIG is catching on like wildfire at STC Chapters around the country. This SIG is for the technical communicator or other professional, self-directed lifelong learners and critical thinkers who, through ideas and intellectual debate, want to revolutionize the products they create, the organizations they work and live in, and the topics they write about. Once a month, the SIG will meet to discuss a preselected book or idea of the month, or some other technical communication or management material. Meetings can include discussions about the STC Technical Communication Journal and Intercom magazine. The first IdeaWatch SIG meeting will take place in October. Colleen Strahs (), the IdeaWatch SIG leader, works at divine, inc. in Burlington, where she writes user's guides, online help, and API documentation.
The Special Needs SIG serves as a focal point both to help members with special needs achieve their potential and to help ensure the accessibility of technical communication products to end users with special needs. This SIG researches information about products, services, and literature that can assist technical communicators with disabilities in their career activities. It also seeks to assist all technical communicators in developing or documenting products that are fully accessible to users with disabilities. Examples of "special needs" include speech recognition software, Braille keyboards, improved wheelchair access, a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) business line, and Section 508-compliant Web site design. The Special Needs SIG is the first STC-supported endeavor to address these objectives. Lori Gillen, Special Needs SIG Leader, plans to explore how to make disabled tech writers feel more comfortable in their workplace, and will work to raise awareness to Web accessibility for people with disabilities and nondisabilities alike. Lori () is a technical writer at McKesson Health Solutions in Newton, Mass.
Wendy Boston () is a senior member of STC. She is also a member of the STC Council and serves as SIG chairperson.