What Writing Dictionaries Taught Me About Writing Documentation (And What I Had to Unlearn)


Before becoming a full-time software developer, I spent more than twenty years working on dictionaries and other reference books. Reference books and dictionaries have a lot of similarities with documentation: they're both genres of writing that aim to explain and educate, and are aimed at an audience that is largely goal-oriented and impatient. In this talk, I'll give a little bit of background on how reference books (particularly dictionaries and thesauruses) are made, talk about my experience in publishing has informed writing documentation and tutorials (and working with Swagger/OpenAPI), and give some examples of habits I had to un-learn, too!

  • Conference: Write the Docs PORTLAND
  • Year: 2018

About the speaker

Erin McKean