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Items of interest to Help authors and technical writers
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Ratings and reviews reflect a title's usefulness in responding to the needs of WinHelp authors and are not intended as a commentary on quality or content outside of that specific context.  All reviews by William Meisheid.

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[HTML][Hypertext] [Indexing] [Reference] [Tools] [Writing]
HTMLib 4.0, a downloadable resource. Price: Free Rating: 10
by Stephen Le Hunte. HTML Help file (requires IE 4), 1998.
Synopsis: A work of love that has produced the most definitive HTML Reference resource available. TuCOWS rates this resource Five Cows (Best Rating). Rather than just a reference of HTML tags, this work covers the tags of HTML 4.0 specification, from the W3C, that are supported by Netscape, IE and NSCA Mosaic with a browser comparison section. In addition, it has an extensive section covering the "Dynamic HTML" scripting object models (including properties, methods and events) supported by the Internet Explorer and Netscape 4.X browsers.
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[HTML] [Hypertext] [Indexing] [Reference] [Tools] [Writing]
Multimedia and Hypertext : The Internet and Beyond. Price: $25.60 Rating: 9 
by Jakob Nielsen. Published by Ap Professional, 1995. ISBN 0125184085.
Synopsis: Good books on hypertext are hard to find, and Nielsen wrote one of the seminal works on the subject, "Hypertext and Hypermedia". In this volume, an update of that 1990 work, he takes a unique position, looking at the internet as a hypertext medium, and then places it in the larger context of general hypertext. While not for everyone, this book provides an excellent grounding in basic hypertext and where current technology is taking us. Jakob Nielsen is currently a Sun Microsystems Distinguished Engineer serving as the human interface architect for desktop software.
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[WinHelp] [HTML] [Hypertext] [Indexing] [Reference] [Tools] [Writing]
The Art of Indexing Price: $31.99 Rating: 9
by Larry S. Bonura. Published by John Wiley & Sons, 1994. ISBN 0471014494.
Synopsis: This book succeeds in introducing the concepts of indexing without intimidating the reader. While short on advice about the distinctiveness of online indexing, it does present a solid foundation, covering the basics and helping the new indexer judge an index's accuracy, depth, conciseness, use of cross-references, and logical structure. It is an excellent book for beginners and is definitely user friendly.
Indexing Books Price: $25.60 Rating: 7.5
by Nancy C. Mulvany. Published by The University of Chicago Press, 1994. ISBN 0226550141.
Synopsis: Considered the bible of book indexing by a past president of The American Society of Indexers. While this book covers many areas outside the interest of WinHelp authors, such as the layout and structure of a book index, the basics are still the basics.
Indexing from A to Z Price: $50.00 Rating: 10
by Hans H. Wellisch. Published by H.W. Wilson, 1996. ISBN 082420882X.
Synopsis: Everything you wanted to know about every aspect of indexing and more. Arranged in an encyclopedic format that makes finding answers easy, this book also includes an award-winning index that is a tutorial in its own right. A "must have" reference work by the professor emeritus of library and information science at the University of Maryland.
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[WinHelp] [HTML] [Hypertext] [Indexing] [Reference] [Tools] [Writing]
About Face: The Essentials of User Interface Design Price: $23.99 Rating: 10
by Alan Cooper. Published by Idg Books Worldwide, 1995. ISBN 1568843224.
Synopsis: A "must read" book for anyone who has anything to do with user interfaces--which includes all hypertext developers and authors. While Cooper uses the term "program" (he is a software designer), the lessons are applicable to Help developers. In addition to helping program Help authors identify problems in the programs for which they are creating Help, it is a marvelous introduction and eye-opener to the mind set all online designers must adopt. An important guideline for Cooper is "Don't make the user look stupid" (p. 16). You will not be disappointed.
Dynamics in Document Design : Creating Texts for Readers Price: $35.99 Rating: 9
by Karen A. Schriver. Published by John Wiley & Sons, 1997. ISBN 0471306363.
Synopsis: A unique book. One of the few places where you will find a historical perspective on document design. Using case studies and reader research the author examines what works and why, even applying her findings to her own book.
Envisioning Information Price: $48.00 Rating: 10
by Edward R. Tufte. Published by Graphics Press, 1990. ISBN 0961392118.
Synopsis: A beautiful book on presenting information in a visual format. An exceptional book in all respects for anyone trying to convey complex ideas using visual techniques. A "must have."
Managing Your Documentation Projects Price: $39.99 Rating 10
by Joann T. Hackos. Published by John Wiley & Sons, 1994. ISBN 0471590991.
Synopsis: THE reference book for technical writers, Help authors, and and anyone else needing to manage a documentation project. Introduces publications project management to the uninitiated, covering the information-planning phase, the content-specification phase, managing production, and evaluation. Appendices offer checklists for various stages of the process and a sample report.
Special Edition Using Microsoft Office 2000 with CD-ROM. Price: $27.99 Rating: 10
by Ed Bott and Woody Leonhard. Published by Que Education & Training, 1999. ISBN 0789718421.
Synopsis: A "must have" for all Office 2000 users. Designed for intermediate and advanced users--not for beginners--this book will save you many times its cost in saved time. Brought to you by the producers of the Woody's Office Watch newsletter, this one is sure to help everyone, especially since it includes a full version of Woody's tools.
Type & Layout : How Typography and Design Can Get Your Message Across-Or Get in the Way Price: $19.96 Rating: 10
by Published by Strathmoor Press, 1995. ISBN 0962489158.
Synopsis: One of the best $20 investments you can make as an technical writer, online information supplier. Grasping the significance of the top left/bottom right argument alone is worth the price of admission. While a bit preachy at times, this book uses its research well in the pursuit of what we as online information authors need to know - how to best impart information to our readers that they will both remember and understand. An absolute must read!
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information Price: $40.00 Rating: 10
by Edward R. Tufte. Published by Graphics Press, 1992. ISBN 096139210X.
Synopsis: A beautiful follow-on to his earlier book, Envisioning Information. It has been called the Strunk and White of visual design. Datamation called it one of the best books you will ever see. A "must have."
Visual Explanations : Images and Quantities Evidence and Narrative Price: $36.00 Rating: 10
by Edward R. Tufte. Published by Graphics Press, 1997 ISBN 0961392126.
Synopsis: What more needs to be said than, "Another Tufte book"? It is rare to succeed twice, but to have three successful tours de force in a row is unprecedented. A wonderful example of "visual elegance in the service of quantitative thinking" (, review,, April 10, 1997). Another "must have."
Woody Leonhard Teaches Microsoft Office 2000. Price: $15.99 Rating: 10
by Woody Leonhard. Published by MacMillan Publishing Company, 1999. ISBN 0789718715.
Synopsis: This book, for beginners and intermediate level users, will save you many times its cost in saved time. Brought to you by the producers of the Woody's Office Watch newsletter, this one is sure to help everyone and is inexpensive to boot.
Word 97 Annoyances Price: $24.95 Rating: 10
by Jim Lee, Lee Hudspeth, Woody Leonhard. Published by Travelers' Tales Inc., 1997. ISBN 1565923081.
Synopsis: Absolutely essential for Word 97 users. Helps you step around the traps and pitfalls of Microsoft's flagship product. As with other Leonhard books, this one will save you many times its cost in saved time. Brought to you by the producers of the Woody's Office Watch newsletter, this book provides badly needed help to the befuddled Word 97 user - sadly, a designation we all fit into.
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[WinHelp] [HTML] [Hypertext] [Indexing] [Reference] [Tools] [Writing]
Effective C++ : 50 Specific Ways to Improve Your Programs and Designs 2nd Edition Price: $37.95 Rating: 10
by Scott Meyers. Published by Addison-Wesley Pub Co, 1997. ISBN 0201924889.
Synopsis: Considered by Jim Mischel (author of The Developer's Guide to WinHelp.Exe) as an absolute necessity in every C++ programmer's bookcase.
High Performance Delphi 3 Programming Price: $49.99 Rating: 10
by Don Taylor, Jim Mischel, John Penman, Terence Goggin. Published by Coriolis Group, August 1, 1997 ISBN 1576101797
Synopsis: The second edition, with a toned down title, of one of the best of the Delphi programming books. This edition includes a section OLE drag and drop.
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[WinHelp] [HTML] [Hypertext] [Indexing] [Reference] [Tools] [Writing]
Designing and Writing Online Documentation, 2nd Edition. Price: $35.99 Rating: 9
by William Horton. Published by John Wiley & Sons, 1994. ISBN 0471306355.
Synopsis: The single best known book on online user documentation. While an excellent resource and long considered the bible of technical writers for going online, this book needs a new edition that brings writers up-to-date on the issues of HTML and the WWW. Despite this omission, recommended for every hypertext author's library.
How to Write Policies, Procedures and Task Outlines : Sending Clear Signals in Written Directions, 2nd Edition. Price:  $29.95 Rating: 9
by by Larry Peabody, John Gear. Published by Idyll Arbor, 1998. ISBN 0965058506.
Synopsis: Ever since technical manuals and online help have moved from command driven information to user procedures, a need has existed for a good book to point out the basics to adopt and the pitfalls to avoid. One of the best technical writers I know, Janey Solwold, swears by this book.
The Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications Price: $23.99 Rating: 10
by Microsoft. Published by Microsoft Press, 1998.  ISBN 1572318902.
Synopsis: This is the newest edition of the official documentation guide of Microsoft, originally created for in-house use. This is the essential resource for anyone documenting or writing about applications in a Windows environment. A "must have" for every Windows-based technical writer. Even if you don't adopt it, you need to respond to it.
Read Me First! : A Style Guide for the Computer Industry Price: $23.96 Rating: 9
by Sun Technical Publications (Editor). Published by Prentice Hall Computer Books, 1997. ISBN 0134553470.
Synopsis: Not a style guide in the sense of the Microsoft Manual of Style. It is more of a reference book for all the elements to consider when documenting computer products, it covers all the basics a writer has to consider. It includes one of the best general sections on indexing of any non-indexing book.
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Last updated May 6, 2003