Notes from the SIGDOC Chair

Brad Mehlenbacher

Dear SIGDOC Members,

The Program and Schedule for the ACM SIGDOC 2011 conference being held in Pisa, Italy, this upcoming October 3rd to 5th, 2011, is ready and online ( Our conference program co-chairs, Dr. Carlos Costa and Carlo Meghini and conference committee, in collaboration with the general conference co-chairs Aristidis Protopsaltis and Nicola Spyratos, have put together an exciting three-day program. Program papers cover a wide range of topics of interest to SIGDOC members, including a poster session and eight sessions on the accessibility, user interface and design of communication, serious games, social media and learning, and new frontiers in documentation (

In addition, every other year, the ACM SIGDOC Executive Board honors an organization, institution, or business that has made an outstanding life-time contribution to the field of communication design. The prestigious Diana Award (named after Diana Patterson, past President of ACM SIGDOC) for 2011 is SAP AG. Previous Diana Award winners include Adobe, IBM, W3C, and Xerox Parc (

The contributions that singled SAP out for this award are numerous. SAP’s history of providing creative support for the users of their enterprise software applications includes, for example, offering comprehensive training for its customers and improved user interfaces back in the 1980s, expanding and collaborating to meet the localized needs of different countries and corporations in the 1990s, taking the lead on e-business solutions and tailored company portals in the 2000s and, up to the present, winning numerous awards as best place to work while developing 360 customer environments that continue to engage their growing customer base.

For those of you who haven’t attended a SIGDOC conference recently, the presentation of the award is historically one of the high points of the conference. The usual format for the presentation is for the SAP spokesperson to be introduced at the banquet and given the opportunity to speak to the role of communication design or user support in their corporation.

Finally, every year, as part of the general conference planning, the ACM SIGDOC Executive Board comes together for a half-day meeting to discuss current and future activities of the SIG. This year’s invitees include Brad Mehlenbacher (Chair), Rob Pierce (Vice-Chair), Liza Potts (Secretary/Treasurer), Michael Albers (Graduate Competition Chair, Poster Session Chair), Aristidis Protopsaltis (2011 General Co-Chair), Nicolas Spyratos (2011 General Co-Chair), Carlos Costa (European Chapter Chair, 2011 Program Co-Chair), Carlo Meghini (2011 Program Co-Chair) Manuela Aparicio (European Chapter), Junia Anacieto (2010 General Co-Chair), Renata Fortes (2010 General Co-Chair), Mark Zachary (2012 General Chair), Reiko Hishiyama (2013 General Chair), Kathy Haramundanis (Past Chair, Member-at-Large), Susan Jones (Member-at-Large, and David Novick (2007 General Chair, Member-at-Large).

The tentative Executive Board meeting agenda currently includes the following items:

  • SIGDOC 2011 (Pisa) conference summary
  • SIGDOC 2012 (Seattle) conference planning
  • SIGDOC 2013 (Kyoto) conference planning
  • Website
  • Newsletter
  • Graduate Student Competition
  • Poster Sessions
  • European Chapter update
  • NC State Student Chapter
  • SIG Viability Review 2012
  • Rigo Award planning, 2014
  • Diana Award planning, 2013


If there are any additional items that you would like us to consider during our Executive Board meeting, please don’t hesitate to email me at Looking forward to seeing you in Pisa, Italy!


Brad Mehlenbacher
Associate Professor, Distance Learning (LPAHE),
Allied Faculty Member, Ergonomics (PSYCH),
Affiliated Faculty, PhD in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media (ENG/COMM), and the Digital Games Research Center (CSE)
NC State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7801
919.515.6242 (ph) (e-mail) (url)

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