Listed alphabetically by presenter.
Editors as integrators in interdisciplinary environmental assessments
Rebecca K Schmidt
Editors can contribute significantly to the substance, structure and integration of information presented in publications. When the information comes from many authors, disciplines and geographic regions, it is particularly challenging to knit the content together to form a clear, coherent publication with suitable form, arrangement, focus and length.
The Bioregional Assessment Program provides information on the ecology, hydrology, geology and hydrogeology of 15 locations in Australia. This scientific information will be available for decision-makers, industry and the community when considering coal seam gas and coal mining developments and their potential impact on water resources. In the program, 200 authors from four agencies are writing 150 publications over three years, and they rely on an editorial team for not only quality assurance but also integration.
This talk covers some of the practices developed by the editorial team to ensure integration in the Bioregional Assessment Programme, including:
- processes for agreeing on, and enforcing, outlines for all 150 publications
- diagrams that assist both authors and audience in understanding how each publication fits into the whole context
- language standards and a curated glossary.
The supporting role of technology and software tools will be particularly emphasised.
Becky Schmidt, AE, is the research team leader for the Knowledge Integration Team in CSIRO Land and Water. Her team of editors and mapmakers works with scientists in large, interdisciplinary projects to deliver information on environmental topics such as water, climate change and the potential impacts of mining or agricultural developments. This information is delivered both via traditional reports and web-based ‘information platforms’. She is a member of the Canberra Society of Editors, and achieved the status of Accredited Editor in 2009.
Descriptive, prescriptive or both? The language connoisseur and the norms of contemporary English
Beginning courses in linguistics start with the evils of prescriptivism, and the imperative to be descriptive and to describe rather than to prescribe—or, for that matter, proscribe. And yet prescriptivism has had a key role in shaping the history of English, and its modern forms. Editors and editing are one of the membranes between the descriptive and the prescriptive, and are likely to play an even more important role as self-publishing and online publishing gain momentum. The dynamics of the tension between descriptivism and prescriptivism are one of the engines of contemporary English.
Roland (Roly) Sussex is a research professor at the University of Queensland. His current research is located in the triangle between language, culture and society, and technology. His most recent major publications include Andy Kirkpatrick and Roland Sussex (eds), English as an international language in Asia: Implications for language education(Springer-Verlag, 2012). In 2012 he was made patron of the Institute of Professional Editors and a Member of the Order of Australia.
Working with individual authors
Working with individual authors allows for more editorial creativity (and is a lot more fun) than reviewing government or corporate work. This presentation will cover:
– how authors are referred to her
– the initial manuscript review and what to consider
– manuscript assessment versus an edit
– key questions for works of fiction
– key questions for nonfiction works
– retaining editorial distance
– composing the editorial assessment report
– providing comprehensive feedback tactfully
– suggested professional development for editors wishing to work on fiction.
Kaaren will describe the critical elements that she looks for in a manuscript, how she considers whether the work appears to be effective and well-integrated, and whether the writing has been ‘maximised’ — is the book the best it could be, and can the author be encouraged to take it to another level? This will be a practical and informative
Kaaren Sutcliffe, AE, was a published author of both fiction and nonfiction before she became an accredited editor. Kaaren gave numerous workshops on creative writing at the ACT Writers Centre and to local schools before she learned to self-edit her work and progressively to edit the work of others. She has been a manuscript assessor via the ACT Writers Centre since about 2001, a freelance editor since 2009, and has worked with a variety of authors on a diverse range of books.
Editing ‘foreign English’ academic writing
In this presentation I discuss how I develop and maintain productive relationships with overseas clients who seek editing of their academic writing. Over the past 16 years I have operated my business, Academic Editorial Services, through personal referrals and clients making direct contact via my website. With my focus on academic editing—journals, research reports, monographs, textbooks and dissertations—I am often contacted by academics in diverse countries who face the same mantra of ‘publish or perish’ as we have in the western world. These academics’ need for editing by native English speakers is substantial as they must often make significant changes to their articles before they will be accepted for publication.
Editing scholarly writing is a specialised area, even more so when English is not the writer’s first language. Academics can become particularly ‘dense’ in their language use when they are immersed in their pet topic and editors can help them improve their written expression so that their content is communicated. Tact, diplomacy and expertise with the format are essential skills, as is the ability to apply the specific guidelines for the various journals. With many of my clients located in Turkey, Iran, Taiwan, and China I have been able to refine my editing skills and business strategies so that a mutually beneficial relationship develops. In this presentation I share some trials and tribulations, as well as
useful practical strategies for all stages of the international client–editor relationship.
Tina Thornton, AE, has extensive experience editing articles for publication, reviewing and proofreading manuscripts and theses, summarising projects, and conducting and compiling research. Since establishing Academic Editorial Services in 1999 she has used her skills as a former academic in South Australia and Queensland to help national and international clients get published in journals and textbooks. She has also held roles with IPEd: on Council, the Accreditation Board and as lead writer for the accreditation exam.
The ACT Writers Centre and other state-based writing centres—connecting writers, editors and indexers
In this presentation David will examine the role of national writing centres, with specific reference to the ACT Writers Centre of which he is chair. He will look at how the centres can assist writers, editors and indexers to collaborate in their work.
David Vernon is a writer, editor and publisher. While he is known for his nonfiction books about birth: Men at Birth, Having a Great Birth in Australia, Birth Stories and With Women, he has turned his hand to writing science articles for newspapers and magazines as well as scribbling the odd short story or two. He established the Stringybark Short Story Awards in 2010 to promote short story writing. He is the chair of the ACT Writers Centre. David’s website is: www.davidvernon.net.
Order and chaos in indexing, editing and publishing
I present a study of the responses of indexers, editors and publishers to the challenges of information management in the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth century, and a comparison with our responses to the current digital information revolution.
Alan Walker has been an indexer since 1982, after a 20-year career as a librarian. He is a former president of the Australian Society of Indexers, an Honorary Life Member of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Indexers, and has three times been awarded the society’s medal for an outstanding index.
The one-page editorial style guide
A government legal services provider with 320 lawyers across offices in every Australian capital city, the Australian Government Solicitor (AGS) devised a 16-page A4 editorial style guide that was distributed to all staff in 2011. It was followed up with one-hour training sessions in most offices.
While generally pleased with its adoption, we realised that busy lawyers don’t always have time to look up a style recommendation—even in a 16-page guide, let alone the Commonwealth Style manual for authors, editors and printers!
So in 2012 we developed an even quicker, one-page guide as a statement of the main principles and rules. On the other side of the laminated A4 card, the same information is presented in a different, more graphic way. The central text demonstrates the AGS way of doing things in black and white but is then labelled by colour-coded pointers on punctuation, capitals and spellings with margin notes that briefly explain the rule.
David Whitbread is the corporate communications manager at the Australian Government Solicitor in Canberra. He was formerly head of graphic design at the University of Canberra and design director of the Australian Government Publishing Service. He is the author of The design manual (2nd edition, UNSW Press, 2009) and was art director and one of the co-authors of the Style manual for authors, editors and printers (6th edition, Wiley, 2002).
Overview of style guides
Virginia Wilton and Chris Pirie
What are the differences between style manuals, style guides and style sheets? We present definitions and examples of each, but the focus of this session is style guides. In one arena at least—that of government publishing—there has been a notable proliferation of style guides in recent years, but little discussion about their role, guiding principles and usefulness.
We look at some basic questions about style guides:
- What are they for, especially if their basis is an existing published authority such as the Style manual?
- What are their defining characteristics?
- Who creates them? And who should create them?
- Who uses them? And who should use them?
- How do people use them?
- What should their content be?
- What can’t they do?
The presenters draw on their own experiences both as creators of style guides for people and organisations and as users of style guides created by others. They give examples of problems they have encountered in each of these roles and discuss strategies for dealing with their clients’ style questions, needs and concerns.
Virginia Wilton, BA, DipEd, MA, MPhil, AE, has been co-director and managing editor of Wilton Hanford Hanover, a Canberra-based consultancy, since 1997. In previous lives she was a Slavic scholar (at the Australian National University and Columbia University) and a teacher at secondary and tertiary levels. She chaired the inaugural IPEd council, is a past president and honorary life member of the Canberra Society of Editors, and was a finalist in the ACT Telstra Business Women’s Awards in 2003. Virginia’s strong interest in matters of style derives from almost two decades of involvement with thousands of Australian Government publications of one kind or another.
Chris Pirie, DE, has been an editor for many years, more than 30 of them freelance. She was the inaugural vice-president of the Canberra Society of Editors and sat on the first IPEd Accreditation Board. She wrote a number of chapters for the sixth edition of the Style manual for authors, editors and printers, revised some other chapters, and edited and proofread the majority of the text; she has also written numerous style guides and writing manuals. In her work as an editor, she specialises in multi-author works, particularly the reports of royal commissions and other types of formal inquiry. Chris continues to be a keen student of editorial style and, like many editors, looks forward to the publication of the seventh edition of the Style manual.
The editor as the user experience designer: a look at editing through the lens of software development
Living in an era of freelance registers, corporate communications, technology-based editing and desktop publishing, the utility of someone who simply ‘knows good grammar’ isn’t enough. Editors are no longer a single caboose in the grand train of publishing; they must have knowledge across multiple disciplines, including project management, product development and testing, design and layout, and user experience design (UXD). These are all traditional elements of software development.
Of all of these, however, UXD is the most vital in the modern editor’s role, as it aims to work out how the reader can interact with content, with minimum interference from the method of delivery.
In this paper I outline the main theories and principles of UXD, and I illustrate how a greater understanding of this discipline can inform and illuminate an editor’s work. I use experiences from my work on a Microsoft website and also describe how UXD interfaces with traditional publishing scenarios.
Ultimately, it is my thesis that good editing, like good software, is all about understanding the mind of the reader-as-user and delivering to them what they want … without getting in the way.
Iaan Wiltshire is an editor and technical writer, trying to tread the fine lines between consumer and enterprise usability, content, and social media for microsoft.com/mmpc. He has also worked as a doctrine editor for the Department of Defence, and as a freelance editor in Toronto, Canada. He is a member of the Victorian Society of Editors and was on the IPEd working party for the institute’s website migration.
Indexers as curators: the role of the indexer in big data
Jenny Wood and Judith Cannon
This paper examines what big data is, and the role that indexers might play as curators of big data. Our contention is that strong relationships drive this process, not individuals or single institutions. We demonstrate the benefits and weaknesses for researchers, presenting information and contextualisation of the data in an attractive setting. The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) is involved in several case studies illustrating what is necessary and what is possible in the world of information retrieval.
Jenny Wood has 24 years’ experience working in AIATSIS, an organisation dedicated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories. System administration of SirsiDynix’s Integrated Library Management System and training staff in using the various modules of the system are Jenny’s main areas of expertise. Her passion for training has extended to building interactive tutorials for clients on how to best use the catalogue as well as for cataloguers and indexers working with materials with Australian Indigenous content. Jenny is responsible for overseeing the cataloguing and indexing standards used within the AIATSIS collections.
Judith Cannon began her library and indexing work in earnest in 1984 after joining the National Library of Australia. Family history has been the main thread of interest that has wound through her diverse work experiences and locations since then. Training LinkUp caseworkers in family history research skills has been a complementary role over the past 10 years at AIATSIS. Judith is currently responsible for the day-to-day selection and indexing of published works for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Biographical Index (ABI).