[att.chi] Paper on Tech Writing Analysis

gsp@ulysses.UUCP (Gary Perlman) (06/27/84)

Here is an abstract of a paper that recently appeared in Visible Language.
I think it owuld be of interest to those interested in technical writing.
Request reprints from:
	Gary Perlman
	AT&T Bell Labs 5D-105
	600 Mountain Ave.
	Murray Hill, NJ 07974
	(201) 582-3624
	uucp: ulysses!gsp

           Graphical Abstractions of Technical Documents
                           Gary Perlman
                        Thomas D. Erickson

Good technical writing demands clear and concise communication that 
allows readers to skim documents for efficient access to information.  
To aid technical writers, many computer programs have been written to 
analyze writing style in the hopes of improving writing standards, 
These programs have tended to be of a numerical statistical nature, 
summarizing a document or predicting its "goodness." We feel such 
programs hide more information that is advisable to help writers 
understand where and why their documents may have difficulties.  

After introducing the general concept of an abstraction of a document, 
we describe the other side of the text analysis coin: graphical 
displays of text that enhance structural components of a document.  We 
describe two programs for graphical textual analysis: one generates 
displays of the logical structure of sections of a document; the other 
generates graphs of the complexity of individual sentences.  While 
these programs are not the final statement of abstract text analysis, 
they point a new direction in which we think writing aids should be