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Method and System to Manage Editing of Technical Publications Using a Triage System

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000028519D
Original Publication Date: 2004-May-18
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-May-18
Document File: 6 page(s) / 83K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Two or more writers in each project are assigned as "project editors" and are given the roles of primary interface between the project writers and the lead editors assigned to that project. Furthermore, the newly-formed project editors have the task of performing an initial analysis and copy-edit on incoming work by using a triage system with color-codes. The lead editors use this analysis and work to prioritize their efforts and better handle workload. It also allows each lead editor to lead and manage a virtual team of project editors across multiple projects.

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Method and System to Manage Editing of Technical Publications Using a Triage System

Editing technical publications is always a balance between resources, priorities, and time. The kind of person that goes into this field is typically someone who enjoys deep focus on a single task, one at a time. This creates a constant tension and balance, with the editor, writer, and manager all pulling for their own priorities. This paper examines and outlines a method for categorizing, prioritizing, and balancing needs to accomplish the best overall editing job possible, given the resource realities.

Types of editing

All editing is not the same. There are three basic types:

Copy editing

This is the most basic kind of edit. It involves checking the grammar, spelling, general page layout, and other basic structural aspects of the publication. Basic style and consistency elements are also checked and marked.

It is generally very time-consuming, and is not as useful as other types. A very poor editor will sometimes only copy-edit, because it requires nothing more than time and basic grammatical skills. The reason it isn't very useful is that most customers pay very little attention to the details of the writing, like sentence structures, and a lot of attention to the basic steps of the tasks, and to the technical accuracy of the publication.

Technical editing

This kind of editing can also be very time-consuming, but is far more valuable than a simple copy-edit. It involves the editor with the production process behind the publication itself, and may result in major structural, technical, and organizational recommendations.

It requires the editor to have technical familiarity with the product, and a strong network into the development community to verify and improve the technical accuracy of the publication. Only a strong technical editor can handle this kind of work. It requires the same kind of time commitment as a copy-edit, but the end result is far more valuable, particularly when the publication is of very poor quality or has been written by an inexperienced or low-level writer. A competent, but less-experienced, writer coupled with an experienced technical editor can produce great results, at a lower cost.

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Proofing and standards

This kind of edit requires far less time than copy or technical editing. It is a fairly quick check of an almost finished document to look for conformance to legal and company standards. It is typically done close to the time the book is sent to the printer. Sometimes it is also done to assess the state of a newly acquired library or publication.

It does not require a great deal of skill, but length of experience with the current corporate standards is important, as each company has its own standards and requirements. The importance, and therefore risk, is also high, as this may be the last chance to catch legal or other problems before the document is published.

Editors and writers

The ratio of editors...