Issue 55, 21 January 2002
In this issue...
Editing single-sourced material
Politeness in editing
STC's Technical Editing SIG
Book review: Total Word Domination
Book review: Poor Richard's Building Online Communities
Results of poll on plain text or HTML newsletters
New poll - do you edit mainly onscreen or on paper?
Copies of "Website Indexing" now available from me
I host this website on Server101
The website your boss doesn't want you to know about
Books by Jean Hollis Weber
"Single-sourcing" describes situations where one file or database of information contains material that is reused for more than one product or more than one information deliverable.
I asked the HATT (Help Authors' Tools and Techniques) group some questions about the involvement of editors in single-sourcing projects. I have written a summary from the responses I got from that group and from previous discussions on the subject. The article does not address the important but separate questions of when a single- sourcing methodology is a good solution to an information delivery problem, or how to implement such a methodology; instead, I looked only at the editor's involvement in the project.
You can read the full article here: http://www.jeanweber.com/howto/1source.htm
During a discussion about editing on TECHWR-L in December, Geoff Hart made the important distinction between severe editing and the way you express the edits and gave some examples of the differences. He also discussed the merits of negotiation rather than dictating changes and showed how polite editing can help writers learn.
A slightly edited version of his comments is here: http://www.jeanweber.com/about/polite.htm
The Society for Technical Communication has a special interest group for technical editing. The web address is http://www.stcsig.org/te/. You don't have to be a member of the STC to read the material on that website, including PDF copies of their quarterly newsletter.
Here's what the SIG's blurb says: The TE SIG provides opportunities for members to expand their editing and proofreading expertise by serving as a forum for information exchange, professional support, and interaction among the SIG, STC, and the editing community at large.
I've mentioned The Editorium (http://www.editorium.com) in previous issues of this newsletter. It's a website that provides Microsoft Word add-in programs for editors, writers, typesetters, and other publishing professionals, and a newsletter of tips for using Word.
Jack M. Lyons, the perpetrator of The Editorium, has compiled the first year's worth of his newsletters into an e-book with the wonderful title of Total Word Domination -- wish I'd thought of that one first! The author says the book is "designed to give readers a table of contents and a more enjoyable reading experience than they'd get in an e-mail (text only) format."
The topics covered in Total Word Domination are almost all different from the topics covered in my book Taming Microsoft Word, so the two so the two complement each other nicely (and inexpensively). I enjoyed reading TWD and learned several new tricks to add to my repertoire.
The book is currently available only for Microsoft Reader, but the author says he has plans to provide it in PDF as well. You can buy the Reader version from Amazon.com.
My full review is here: http://www.jeanweber.com/books/totalwd.htm
Online communities are groups of people with common interests who use the Internet to build relationships and share information, experiences and advice. Individuals use online communities to pursue many interests, including sports, religion, hobbies, parenting, medical conditions, professional interests, and almost any topic imaginable. Businesses and nonprofit organisations use online communities to keep in touch with suppliers, customers or members. (This newsletter is an example of the latter type of announcement-only community.)
This useful book by Margaret Levine Young and John Levine will tell you everything you need to know about the various types of online community, including what they are, the pros and cons of using each type, where to find existing groups, where to find services, how to set up and manage a group using each type of service, and how to participate in the groups.
You can read the full review here: http://www.jeanweber.com/books/prboc.htm
In the last two issues I asked whether you would prefer to receive this newsletter as plain text (as you do now) or in HTML, and I put a poll on the website so you could vote.
Sixty-six people voted (out of more than 800 subscribers); 37 chose plain text, 21 chose HTML, and 8 said they had no preference. I've now closed the poll.
I'm still considering whether to offer the newsletter in both forms. If I find I can do that easily, I will; if not, it will stay as plain text, since everyone can read that format.
Several people asked what the difference is, or what difference it would make to them if they received the newsletter in HTML (also called "styled text" instead of plain text.
HTML would look more like the archived version on the website (with colors and graphics), assuming (a) your e-mail reader can display HTML and (b) you have your e-mail preferences set to allow HTML.
Many people find styled text easier to read than plain text, and of course they can see any images that might be included, without having to go to the website. However, HTML e-mail has a larger file size and longer download time, especially if images are included.
Much HTML e-mail uses a small font, or background-text colour combinations that are hard for some people to read, or has a background image that makes the text hard to read. (I would not do those things.)
I think these polls are fun, and they can help me decide what topics to develop for the website, so I've set up a new poll. You can find it at http://www.jeanweber.com/news/index.htm
The choices are:
I edit primarily by writing on hard copy
I edit primarily onscreen, without using hard copy
I do both, depending on the material
In issue 52 I mentioned a book titled Website Indexing by Glenda Browne and Jonathan Jermey, published in 2001 by a small press in Adelaide, South Australia. My review is here: http://www.jeanweber.com/books/webindex.htm
I now have some copies of this book for sale. Cheque/chck only. A$36.50 or US$20. Send to JH Weber, PO Box 640, Airlie Beach Qld 4802, Australia, AND e-mail me to say you've sent the check -- if I'm away from home, I may not get your check for weeks, but if I know you have sent it, I can mail the book to you.
A few months ago I redesigned this website and moved it to a new web hosting company, which offers me more than twice the space for less than half the cost of my old hosting company. I've been very happy with the service, so I recommend it to you. Please note that I am now an affiliate of Server101, so please use this link if you are interested in learning more about them. http://www.server101.com/?AID=5123
Taming Microsoft Word
A quick reference for writers, editors, and others who need to use some of Word's more advanced features. More information here: http://www.jeanweber.com/books/tameword.htm
Editing Online Help
Supplements tool-specific instruction by presenting the basics of help content development, regardless of the operating system running the application, the type of help being produced, or the tools used to produce it. More information here: http://www.jeanweber.com/books/olhbk.htm
A quick start guide for editing students, experienced editors making the switch from paper to online, and anyone who needs to write or edit electronically. More information here: http://www.jeanweber.com/books/e-edit.htm
© Copyright 2002, Jean Hollis Weber. All rights reserved.
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