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Rick Jelliffe on technical editing


When I worked in technical editing, one of the first things we were taught was "make a checklist; don't do everything at once". Consistency is so important for reference publishing. Enter the text; spell and grammar check; mark up basic structures; check terminology is consistent; mark up figures; mark up index entries; check that the headings are accurate for their body text still; check that the same structures are marked up the same way; print off a draft and check the text and tables; print off a galley and get it proofread; tweak the text to prevent widows, add PIs to force breaks and keeps for better layout, etc. I think anyone (except perhaps enormous Brainiacs) who has written a book or any kind of professional material will use a checklist. I once asked Don Stollee (a project manager who works on large markup projects, often defence or aeronautical) what the most important thing for efficient markup was: his answer was dividing the job up into subtasks: rekeying tables would be one tasks, markingup references would be another. People usually work the most efficiently whenthey can concentrate on one thing at a time.

February 19, 2003 01:24 PM


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