Managing Editors' Roundtable: Part I

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Marilyn Schwartz, UCal Press, and Ron Maner, UNC Press ("RM"), moderators. June 16, 2006, 10:45 AM. Agenda for this session: 1. Editorial Standards; 2. XML and workflow

1. Editorial standards. Marilyn Schwartz notes two responses to insistence on maintaing standards: 1) “No one will notice.” 2) “We can fix it in the reprint.” How to address this issue? Opposite problem: everyone expects it to be perfect 1st time, but no time or money to expend making this happen. Marilyn also notes frequent problem of acquisitions not worrying about authors' shortcomings, implications for copyedit process. We need to be able to explain why standards matter and should be upheld, and also must know how to compromise given time and budgetary limitations. Other attendees noted difference in expectations for academic, trade, text categories. Difficult to control difference in perceptions about “base line copy edit” between freelancer, house. RM: “Know your copy editor.” Some are incapable of “light edit.” Other attendees: What about interface between author responsibility for consistency in citation format vs. expense of fixing it? Some MEs have review/diagnostic authority over such matters before submission to approval committee. U. NV Press has decreased production turnaround time from avg. 12 mo to avg 9 months by such early review and the consistency it affords (she communicates to acq ed/author at time of review). Feedback to freelancers? Some formal, written for every project, some informal, occasional. If flc consistently doesn’t respond, remove from your list. Marilyn notes the importance of adding qualified editors to flc list re: maintaining overall schedule. Process calls for editing test, checking references, and evaluating flc’s first project (which should be low-risk). Others: review redlined MS before sending to author, esp for new flc. Majority of presses have flc send redlined directly to au (but large minority do not). About evenly divided among pay per page, hourly, or by project. Discussion of contract forms, stipulations, cost control with flcs. UCal has cleanup paid by hourly fee, estimated at ca 35% of cost of first-pass copyedit. UNC pays 20% of copyedit for cleanup.

2. Technology and workflow. RM: XML and pdf are ascendant. By show of hands, most are not editing in XML. XML codes for content, not appearance. Columbia Press is editing in Word, having docs XML coded and transmitted to production. Also facilitates archiving, multi-purposing of docs. Columbia uses Word macros for cleanup (similar to our FileCleaner). Copyeditor loads second set of macros which include design codes (used to use Xywrite). Benefit is that author sees MSS that look more like page proofs. Final set of macros converts Word files to XML, which is archived. Final typeset files are also archived (format?). Marilyn notes difficulty with getting XML files out of the typesetting end of the process. Many are sending files to outside vendors to extract XML. Presently more cost effective for many publishers to have XML extracted after typesetting? Cambridge UP has authors provide XML coding for automated indexing. XML coding added “not significant” time to MS handling at Columbia. XML coding differs from MS coding primarily in depth and rigor. Columbia had outside firm create macros. Ditto for UCal. Both presses have on-staff tech support function for this process. Coding adds 15-40 hours/project for editorial at UCal, but saves time in production. Important to clarify origin/implications of time benefit, especially with regard to budgetary allocations.

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