The Byte Ryte Bookshelf is a hand-picked list of publicly accessible publications related to what we do and what interests us. Here you can find complete courses and books covering: technical writing, software documentation, knowledge management, layout, markup, e-publishing, information design, and more.


Basic Technical Writing Skills | Graphic Design and Layout | Electronic Publishing | Information Design | Usability and User Interface Design | Tooling and Scripting | XML and Markup | Language and Literature | On-line Reference Works | Teaching and Training | Miscellaneous

 Basic Technical Writing Skills

 Graphic Design and Layout

  • Everything concerning the use of typefaces:
    Choosing and Using Type
  • An interactive work bench for testing the effect of up to three typefaces side by side; each with their own size, alignment, colour, leading, spacing, background, tracking, and decoration:
  • Dummy text of any desired length can now be generated on-line, using the
    Lorem Ipsum Generator

 Electronic Publishing

  • Sandy Ressler wrote a book that was published by Prentice Hall and also made available on the Web in HTML. A few years old now, it still contains valuable ideas.
    The Art of Electronic Publishing
  • The Yale Center for Advanced Instructional Media houses an unabridged, online version of the third edition of Web Style Guide: Basic Design Principles for Creating Web Sites, by Patrick J. Lynch and Sarah Horton:
    Web Style Guide

 Information Design

  • John Emerson wrote and designed a booklet to introduce advocacy organizations to basic principles and techniques of information design. It’s full of examples of interesting design from groups around the world in a variety of media and forms:
    Visualizing Information: An Introduction to Information Design
  • Graphics of every imaginable design are used to display information structure, in a beautiful book now available for free download :
    An Atlas of Cyberspace
  • A course in cartography, useful for visualizing not only topographical information:
    Cartographic Communication
  • Two Information Design classics, Secrets of User Seductive Documents and Illustrating Computer Documentation are amongst the non-printable but otherwise fully functional books that can be downloaded in PDF format from the author's website:
    William Horton
  • "The world as you've never seen it before":
  • Visualization is nothing new. Over the ages people have come up with new ways of presenting information so as to make it easier to grasp. York University, in Canada, offers a great overview of
    Milestones in the History of Thematic Cartography, Statistical Graphics, and Data Visualization
  • PlumbDesign has developed a software representation of related ideas and concepts. Their first implementation is a thesaurus of the English language:
    Visual Thesaurus
  • Benjamin Fry wrote a Master's Thesis that is as beautiful as it is interesting:
    Organic Information Design
  • Equally fascinating is David Small's thesis (PDF):
    Rethinking the Book

 Usability and User Interface Design

 Tooling and Scripting

  • A PDF document can be programmed to be much, much more than the static "print-to-screen" format that it is sometimes thought to be. To learn more, start with Thomas Merz'
    pdfmark Primer
  • The official pdfmark reference is once again available from Adobe:
    pdfmark Reference Manual
  • OmniMark is language for stream processing. It is no longer widely used but if you need to maintain legacy code,you will find an excellent introduction here:
    Beginner’s Guide to OmniMark
  • Peter Weingartner wrote a simple introduction to programming in the PostScript page description language:
    A First Guide to PostScript

 XML and Markup

  • In day-to-day practice it is often necessary to map a relational database design onto XML. We found a a few articles that offer guidelines on how to approach this task:
    XML and Databases
    Modeling Relational Data in XML
  • Once you have mastered XML and start doing some actual work with it, you may wish to learn about XSLT and XPath, for transformations and styling. Crane Softwrights Ltd. provide a free preview download of 137 pages in PDF of one of their commercial publications:
    Practical Transformation Using XSLT and XPath
  • A great reference is The XML Bible, 2nd Edition, by Elliotte Rusty Harold. Various chapters of this book are available online, each of them a thorough yet practical introduction in itself:
    Chapter 17, XSL Transformations
    Chapter 18, XSL Formatting Objects
    Chapter 19, XLinks
    Chapter 20, XPointers
    Chapter 24, Schemas
  • DocBook is an extremely comprehensive DTD that is particularly well suited to books and papers about computer hardware and software. Read or download the official reference documentation by Norman Walsh and Leonard Muellner:
    DocBook: The Definitive Guide
  • DITA is rapidly becoming the standard for structured technical documentation of all kinds.
    Read all about in in Tony Self's The DITA Style Guide: Best Practices for Authors.

 Language and Literature

 On-line Reference Works

 Teaching and Training


  • Metadata is becoming ever more important. Read the book written by Tony Gill, Anne J. Gilliland, Maureen Whalen and Mary S. Woodley,
    Introduction to Metadata
  • Karl Fogel wrote a very practically oriented book on how to successfully implement an "open source" project. Naturally, the book itself is open source.
    Producing Open Source Software: How to Run a Successful Free Software Project
  • How would you go about cracking a completely alien code? It has been done at
    The Contact Project
  • If ever we needed a designer of anything tangible, which unfortunately is not very likely, we'd go straight to the man who does this wonderful
    Chess Set Design
  • Some people construct fictional languages as a hobby. Learn all about Yorlakesian, Proto-Liotan, Dekavurian and many others at
    Conlangs & the Art of Language Making
  • University lectures in various fields and by various lecturers have been recorded and placed online for everyone to access, free of charge. We picked one to do with HCI but there are countless others.
    David Kieras - CHI '08 video lectures - Psychology in Human-Computer Interaction
  • In the late 1800s and early 1900s Paul Otlet pioneered the field of what we today call information science, but what he called documentation. A hundred years before the development of the Internet, Otlet used terms like web of knowledge, link, and knowledge network to describe his vision for a central repository of all human knowledge. A documentary on this remarkable personality can viewed or downloaded:
    All the Knowledge in the World
  • Marvin Minsky's classic. "This book tries to explain how minds work. How can intelligence emerge from nonintelligence? To answer that, we'll show that you can build a mind from many little parts, each mindless by itself."
    The Society of Mind
  • Jeffrey Nickerson's dissertation is on a new approach to computer programming:
    Visual Programming
  • We can't let you leave this page without mentioning BookCrossing, the perfect way of giving unwanted books a new lease of life. runningbook33