Re: Online vs paper-based editing

Subject: Re: Online vs paper-based editing
From: Diane Haugen <WhiskeyCreek -at- wcdd -dot- com>
To: Ned Bedinger <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>, Diane Haugen <WhiskeyCreek -at- wcdd -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2007 09:56:49 -0500

At 11:32 AM -0700 6/19/07, Ned Bedinger wrote:

>After thinking about why I prefer editing on paper and what a survey
>might reveal, I believe that the variable 'occupation' (editor or
>writer) ought to also be gathered in any survey of editing
>preference, as it could be confounding.

I wound up at Carnegie Mellon because I became interested in the
interface between writers and editors. I was a writer who started
editing, and I realized that a lot of what is called editing is
really creating knowledge by recasting the author's thoughts (I was
doing technical editing).

The levels of edit do not adequately describe substantive editing,
and in fact, sort of push them off to the side as heroic efforts
beyond what editors normally deal with. Personally, I think editors
do often have to deal with substantive editing when the writer of the
document does not know the difference between the two.

Yes, I agree that there needs to be some sort of mental construct
which differentiates a writer from an editor, but I don't think we're
quite there yet. In a sense, the whole issue of online editing as
opposed to paper editing sort of detracts from this underlying basic
difference between a writer and an editor. There's been a lot of
research on collaborative writing, but I believe (at least up to the
time I kept up with it) the research tends to concentrate on
collaboration between writers, not collaboration between writers and

When I have worked with software that tracks changes, I have found
the comments can take over the document and coherence is lost for
anyone working on the online file. When I edit and design a book, I
am producing printer-ready drafts for the writer, so putting comments
in the online text file isn't an option. I do the sentence level
changes online and keep a log of comments in a separate file, open as
I edit, and reference the suggested changes by page. For me, it's
easy to simply switch from file to file when both files are open on
my screen, but for others this may seem really cludgy.

In the final analysis, as Geoff Hart suggests, as close as we may be
able to get to some sort of generality is to learn to tweak whatever
program we are using to accommodate our working styles and the
constraints of the job.


Diane Haugen
Whiskey Creek Document Design

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Online vs paper-based editing: From: Jeannine Klein
Re: Online vs paper-based editing: From: Diane Haugen
Re: Online vs paper-based editing: From: Ned Bedinger

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