The vast majority of writing in cultural resources management is for non-archaeological audiences: the public, our clients, the proponents, lawyers, and construction managers, to name just a few. Yet the writing guidelines traditionally used in modern CRM adhere to centuries-old writing style that conflates our meaning because it dictates that scientists remove themselves from their work in order to appear objective ― what is called a legacy value. This passive and intransitive type of writing is not only difficult and slow to read, it is expensive to write, edit, and produce, so much so that many academic publishers are abandoning the “academic voice” for this reason.
In contract archaeology, however, the workplace has been slow to change, even with laws such as the Plain Writing Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-274), which mandates increased transparency and accountability by making government (much of our work is for governmental entities) reports more accessible and transparent to the public. The Plain Writing Act emphasizes “plain writing that is clear, concise, well-organized, and consistent. It encourages writers and communicators to avoid jargon, redundancy, ambiguity, and obscurity.” To put it plainly, plain language would greatly help cultural resources reports become more accessible and transparent to non-archaeological audiences. This approach to technical writing also can empower all CRM practitioners with the tools and training to produce consistent results of the highest quality.
The webinar will go into detail on the new style of technical writing meant to engage not just colleagues, but also clients and the general public. It will benefit junior and senior scientists by helping them understand the difference between technical and scientific writing and how to use a few simple tenets of technical writing to be more efficient in the workplace while also being more responsive to the needs of the public audiences they serve. Managers and reviewers also will have the tools to evaluate work on a consistent basis.
Note: This webinar will occur on Eastern Time
Formally trained and certified in scholarly publishing, Jerryll has produced 20+ supporting and leading technical documentation projects internally for infrastructure and governmental business lines and externally with academic publishers. She has also produced and/or written 70+ technical reports in a range of scientific fields and 50+ scholarly books in various scientific disciplines. Jerryll is currently a Cultural Resource Project Director with SWCA Environmental Consultants, having previously served as a Technical Editor for the organization. She holds a MA in Anthropology from Northern Arizona University and a Master's Certification in Scholarly Communication from Arizona State University.