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Issue 15, 9 July 1999

ISSN 1442-8652
Editor: Jean Hollis Weber

In this issue...

Feature article: Technical editors' responsibilities
Resource of the week: The rules for displayed lists
Tip of the week: Check scanned text carefully
Follow up:
   Gender-neutral writing
   Writing procedures
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Feature article: Technical editors' responsibilities

Moved to

Resource of the week: The rules for displayed lists

The Editorial Eye has an interesting paper titled "Getting Ducks in a Row: The Rules for Displayed Lists" by Linda B. Jorgensen at this address:

This paper has a very good discussion of the different types of displayed (mainly bulleted and numbered) lists, and the criteria, advantages and pitfalls involved in their use. It's a very good summary; I think you'll find it useful.

(Thanks to Lindsay Rollo ( ) of New Zealand for pointing out this paper to me.)

Tip of the week: Check scanned text carefully

Hands up, everyone who has scanned text, using an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) program? (Picture Jean with hand raised.) Now keep your hand up if you always check that scanned text carefully before making it available to someone else. (Picture Jean with hand down.)

A cautionary tale --
In the past few months I've had to scan several articles (my own and others') when the original files were not available. Being busy, I failed in some cases to run the articles through a spelling checker, but even when I did that, I forgot to check for the things the spelling checker doesn't notice: commas that should be periods, for example.

I've been impressed with the tact shown in the notes I've received from other editors, pointing out my errors.

The tip? Don't forget to check scanned text very carefully, no matter how busy you are!

Follow up 8: Gender-neutral writing

Howard Pobliner ( ) wrote:

"I am a college senior at the University @ Albany in New York. I am currently enrolled in a communications course Argumentation and Debate. The proposition that we are debating is that gender-fair language should be used in all official public communications in and from public institutions..

"We have to debate both sides of the issue. I just read your article, "Why Bother With Gender Neutral Writing," and was wondering if you could possibly suggest some sources of information. Unfortunately, because this is for a debate, I will need to cite sources and give as many statistics as possible, but I am having trouble finding hard evidence for both the affirmative and the negative.

"Any suggestions that you make in looking for information is very much appreciated."

I replied:
Unfortunately I don't know of any sources of the information you want, although I'm sure they exist. There are a lot of academic journals that I don't read, but which probably have relevant studies.

If any readers can cite some sources, I'd like to add them to my page.

"Why Bother With Gender Neutral Writing" is at this address:

Follow up 9: Writing procedures

Mike Krown ( ) writes, with reference to the sample I included with my article on writing procedures:

"I'm fascinated by your choice of page to edit. I recently took a professional development course on usability testing for doc professionals, which culminated in actual testing. I used the Eudora OLH for mine simply because it's so horrid."

My article is at this address:

The sample is here:

© Copyright 1999, Jean Hollis Weber. All rights reserved.

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