RE: Checking facts during editing

Subject: RE: Checking facts during editing
From: "Gillespie, Stephen (Contractor)" <Stephen -dot- Gillespie -at- Persnet -dot- Navy -dot- Mil>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 12:33:00 -0500

hi, Rowena
Meaning no insult, if you are only checking editorial issues (vs.
'fact-checking'), you're not writing - you're editing! (which is what I do,
although my title is 'tech writer'). But that's not your question, so let's
leave that one alone. :-)

In my job ad 'editor' of software lifecycle deliverables in a RUP (Rational
Unified Process) shop, the other guy (whom I'll call Bozo ;-) and I do check
'facts'. Although we don't have all the answers, or know all the project
requirements, we do indeed question and highlight obvious and not so obvious
errors in the documentation. We are more often correct than not.

How much 'extra' time does this take? Quite a bit, but I cannot give you
specifics (since we've not done simple copyediting, have not measured). But
as an estimate, here's a breakdown of my time spent on an average artifact

* checking adherence to RUP standard doc template usage (10)%
* checking conformance to the Gov't (house) Style Guide (20%)
* copyediting (50%)
* checking for content errors (20%)

So, disregarding the RUP stuff, you may be looking at ~20% increase in time
required (assuming you KNOW what content is 'wrong' :-).

Steve Gillespie

Sr Technical Writer
Science & Engineering Associates, Inc
Naval Personnel Command
5720 Integrity Drive
Millington, TN 38055-3100

-----Original Message-----
From: Rowena Hart [mailto:rowena_hart -at- yahoo -dot- com]
Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2003 12:12 PM
Subject: Checking facts during editing

Hi everyone,

I learned to write in a journalism environment, where
part of the final editing process involved checking
facts as well as checking spelling, punctuation, etc.

Since I started technical writing, fact checking has
always been taken care of by quality assurance

We're embarking on a new project at work, which
involves some radical changes to concepts and
functions. In essence, we will not be able to rely on
our past understanding of how things work to
spot-check the facts in our topics. Requirements
exist, but will probably be left untouched in a dusty
network folder once the project really gets underway.

I'm wondering: How many of you actually work with
editors who check facts as well as writing? At what
point in the development cycle does the editor start
checking facts? How long does it take them, compared
to checking writing? And how well does it work? For
example, how much additional fact checking is required
before the documents go out the door?

Thanks for your feedback!


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