Re: Online vs paper-based editing

Subject: Re: Online vs paper-based editing
From: Diane Haugen <WhiskeyCreek -at- wcdd -dot- com>
To: "Jeannine Klein" <jmek66 -at- gmail -dot- com>, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2007 08:15:26 -0500

At 5:35 PM -0700 6/18/07, Jeannine Klein wrote:

>Do most of you edit on the computer screen or on a paper printout...Also,
>do you know of any studies on the question? (I can't find anything in the
>STC archives.)

From reading the early responses to your question, I would say that I
am quite a bit in the minority regarding online editing versus paper
editing. Probably because I do not do a lot of editing for industry,
and because the editing I do is often more substantive editing rather
than the kinds of changes which lean toward the copyediting end of
the continuum.

I have edited for publishing companies on line, but this kind of
editing has always involved changes which did not change the order or
structure of the document. I think this is the key issue with online
editing as opposed to paper editing. If there are organizations
changes, paper editing, at least for me, is necessary.

When I was at Carnegie Mellon, now over fifteen years ago, there were
a lot of researchers studying online editing as opposed to paper
editing. Christine Haas was one of the students who specialized in
this. However, I haven't been able to locate any of her work online
just now. If the Document Design Center at Carnegie Mellon still
exists, I'm sure you could get copies of some of their research
documents done at that time involving online editing as opposed to
paper editing.

I do remember that Christine had documented that sentence level
changes online worked well, but large organizational changes were
difficult online because the editor lost track of the document's
whole picture. That is, it's a lot harder to keep ten pages in your
head and scroll back and forth between them moving parts around
online than it is on paper.

I find in my own writing that I can compose the first draft online,
make many changes on line (usually the "through out and recast kind
of changes," but once the document grows to a few pages, the large
organizational changes that are needed simply do not show up without
printing out the document and looking at it, preferably a day or so

The reality is that in the workplace, this simply may not be
possible, either because of time constraints or because by the time
an editor gets the document in the workplace, the organization is
fixed. However, I suspect some of your difficulty is that the whole
issue of online editing versus paper editing involves a lot of
variables which make it difficult to generalize.

Diane Haugen
Whiskey Creek Document Design

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Online vs paper-based editing: From: Jeannine Klein

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