Publication details [#933]

Coppola, Nancy W. and Norbert Elliot. 2013. Conceptualizing the Technical Communication Body of Knowledge: Context, Metaphor, and Direction. Technical Communication 60 (4) : 267–278. 12 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Society for Technical Communication


The Technical Communication Body of Knowledge project (TCBOK) aims to provide web pages that will contain or direct the internet user to the most crucial references in any topic, as information is usually dispersed in different publications, books, academic programs etc. This article focuses on the development of TCBOK by proposing a framework that will benefit any profession: developing knowledge taxonomies, the conceptualization through metaphor; and the application through imagined user groups (personas) and the communication tasks (genres) they commonly perform. In this line, the TCBOK can be understood and expanded through the complementary metaphors of relation and trading zones. Both metaphors are examined through a scenario of use for two personas (fictitious characters that are created to represent the different user types within a targeted demographic that might use a site or product). As a result, the authors propose three recommendations that may help providing direction for TCBOK development: (1) Continue the use of persona as a key strategy for information development, but adding high-quality genre models of best practice; (2) Expand attention from focus on cognitive competency domains to include intrapersonal and interpersonal domains; (3) Consider the knowledge portal as an opportunity to expand on other current efforts to articulate knowledge taxonomies