survey on editing: results

Subject: survey on editing: results
From: Carolyn Rude <ditcr -at- TTACS -dot- TTU -dot- EDU>
Date: Wed, 1 May 1996 11:17:31 -0500

Results of responses to the Survey on Editing posted on techwr-L, April 8, 1996

59 people completed the quantitative portion of the survey (questions 1-15).
The survey is not "scientific" as the sample was not random. Thus the
results cannot be interpreted as representative of all technical editors.

Some questions allowed more than one answer. Some respondents did not
answer all the questions. Thus the total number of answers does not
necessarily equal the number of respondents.

Percentages have been rounded.

Thanks to all who responded!

Carolyn Rude
Texas Tech University
ditcr -at- ttacs -dot- ttu -dot- edu
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. What style manual do you use most often?
Chicago Manual of Style 41 (69%)
Microsoft Manual of Style 5 (8%)
GPO Style Manual 5 (8%)
others 3 or fewer users

2. Does your organization have a house style manual?
yes 43 (73%)
no 17 (29%)

3. Do your editorial responsibilities include evaluation for content,
organization, style, and page design?
yes 58 (98%)
no answer 1

4. What name best represents the editor's work on content, organization,
style, and page design?
substantive editing 30 (51%)
developmental editing 14 (24%)
copyediting 11 (19%)
evaluative editing 6 (10%)
other 8 (11%)

5. Do you use a computer to complete some or all of your editorial tasks?
yes 50 (85%)
no 8 (14%)
no answer 1

6. Which of the following tasks are you MORE LIKELY to complete on the
computer than on hard copy?
markup for grammar, pn, consistency, spelling 12 (24% of 50)
spelling/grammar review 26 (52%)
editing for style 22 (44%)
reorganization 34 (68%)
content development 28 (56%)
page design/format 35 (70%)

7. Does policy at your organizaton allow you to change a document without a
visible record of the changes?
yes 33 (56%)
no 18 (31%)

8. If you must leave tracks of your editorial intervention, how do you do that?
hard copy annotations 33 (56%)
annotations through software 16 (27%)
document comparison program 4 (7%)
summary comments to author 2 (3%)

9. How much editing on hard copy do you think you will be doing in 10 years?
most or all for substantive or developmental editing 16 (27%)
most or all for basic copyediting 21 (36%)
little or none 25 (42%)

10. Does your organization use SGML or plan to in the near future?
yes 20 (34%)
no 39 (66%)

11. What are the editor's responsibilities for SGML?
complete all tasks from DTD to coding 5 (8%)
complete some tasks 3 (5%)
someone else is the SGML specialis 10 (17%)
not sure 2 (3%)
[interpretation: of the 59 people who responded, only 8, or 14%,
actively work with SGML]

12. Have you edited hypertext documents?
yes 43 (73%)
no 14 (24%)

13. In editing hypertext, what are your editorial aims?
correctness, consistency, accuracy 42 (98% of 43)
completeness of information 41 (95%)
page design including graphics 37 (86%)
organization 42 (98%)
navigation 42 (98%)
number and accuracy of links 42 (98%)

14. In editing hypertext, how do you use the computer?
edit hard copy before coding 11 (19%)
complete all editing on the computer 29 (49%)
print screens and edit on hard copy 13 (22%)

15. Has working with hypertext and online documentation changed your
editorial aims or procedures?
no 21 (36%)
yes 20 (34%)
sample explanations:
more attention to organization 38%
more attention to navigation, linking 24%
briefer style, awareness of visuals 10%

16. Open question: what do you wish that college students would learn about
technical editing? Frequent responses:
the basics (grammar, consistency, etc.) 29%
interpersonal relations, collaboration 18%
levels of edit 16%
processes, management of tasks 12%

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