Report on the Winter Seminar 2018

The ‘good’ editor: practice, principles and ethics

With a title like this, dreamed up by stalwart committee member Jan Knight, Editors WA’s annual Winter Seminar was always going to be intriguing. The lively content delivered by our three expert presenters more than matched that promise, provoking plenty of impromptu interaction from the audience.

Thanks to the organisers

We must thank the seminar organiser, our IPEd Councillor Stephen White, as well as our Secretary Tracy Piper, for their hard work in providing an excellent professional development opportunity for the 17 members who attended on 25 August at Mt Lawley Senior High School (and thus scored a formal Certificate of Attendance for their CV portfolios). Our new half-day format seemed to work well, but we welcome further feedback from members on this.

Presentations

Diversity was guaranteed, given the presenters’ disparate backgrounds:

Vanessa Herbert, Director of PDT Consultancy, a trainer and consultant to both the private and public sectors for the past 25 years with special expertise in leadership, strategic planning and communications and performance development. vanessa@pdtconsultancy.com.au

David Lindsay, Emeritus Professor, UWA, a former teacher and researcher in agricultural and animal sciences, but also a renowned science communicator, the author of Science Writing – Thinking in Words (2011). david.lindsay@uwa.edu.au

Rhonda Bracey, one of our own, an IPEd member and professional contract technical editor who runs her own business, editing for software, mining and resources companies, as well as government departments. She brought to the seminar table her expertise in editing automation software including Microsoft Word. rhonda.bracey@cybertext.com.au

Vanessa Herbert

We’ve been seeing a few corporate-style documents out of IPEd HQ lately, such as codes of conduct, confidentiality and conflict of interest agreements. So it was timely for Vanessa Herbert to examine the conflict of interest zone within the editing profession in her presentation on ethics. She counselled editors to exercise ‘mindfulness’, always being aware of the current situation and its broader context, understanding its ‘text’ and most importantly, its ‘subtexts’ whether they be body language, cultural values or background history. Transparency is the goal, she said; aim to be ‘crystal clear’ about your meaning and intent.

A large room with people sitting at tables with their backs to the camera, and Vanessa Herbert standing beside a projector screen at the far end.Vanessa Herbert discussing ethics with the group at the 2018 Winter Seminar.

We should realise that perceptions may also have a real impact. When you are asked to declare a conflict of interest, you should not feel that your personal integrity is being assessed or questioned, but rather understand that if there is an opportunity (or even the perception of an opportunity, equally a potential opportunity) to use your role to gain a personal benefit, then a conflict of interest does exist.

Conflicts of interest don’t always present themselves at the beginning of a job so that you can decide from the start whether to take the job or not. Very often, they present in the middle of a job when you have already taken an advance progress payment or have spent many hours working on the project. Sometimes, you may just need to call a wise friend (or IPEd) to discuss the problem!

Vanessa posed us some challenging dilemmas for discussion. Here’s just one to test you:

As a contracting editor, I work on producing an organisational report into the growth areas for a company and the nature of the professional roles that will be part of an expansion in the next six months. My husband has just lost his job and I can provide him with insight into what the organisation is looking for.

Well, should you, would you, do it?

David Lindsay

I found David Lindsay’s contribution to the seminar revelatory. He scientifically reverse- engineered the act of writing well, something many good authors and editors do almost instinctively, to give us a theory of how it is done—a theory that can then be taught to novices. He dismantled the structure of not just whole documents, but of paragraphs and sentences too, to reveal their nuts-and-bolts components. He made a strong case for his hypothesis: that the principles of good scientific communication can be applied across the board to all writing and editing. He believes that good science communicators are telling a ‘story’ like any other writer.

David explained how the ‘principle of expectation’ dominates all successful writing. For example, an article’s title flags something interesting that is coming in the text and entices the reader to read on. Readers who read with an expectation find reading easier and are more likely to understand and retain what they read than those who have no idea what is coming next.

The same principle applies to the whole text. Just as a scientist’s hypothesis, the cornerstone of any scientific paper, sets expectations at the beginning, so each section, paragraph and sentence should have embedded in them an introduction setting expectations, a delivery of results and their interpretation (discussion) and a conclusion. Connections are then built between sections, between paragraphs and between sentences using ‘signpost words’ that are repeated strategically to link the sense of the whole piece from one point to another.

Interestingly, applying David’s principles of writing could well lead most of us to what IPEd terms ‘substantive’ or structural editing (see p. viii of IPEd’s Australian standards for editing practice, 2nd ed., under ‘The fundamentals of editing’). We would have to rewrite a lot more. Take for example his discussion of a title for a scientific paper:

Original title: ‘Fluoride concentration in drinking water samples in Fiji’ (boring!)

Suggested alternative titles, given the actual content of the paper:

  • ‘Fluoride concentration in drinking water samples in Fiji is below minimum standards’
  • ‘The case for fluoridation of drinking water in Fiji’.

The most desirable characteristics of good scientific writing listed by David—precision, clarity and brevity—are surely equally desirable in most non-scientific writing. It was also interesting to hear him say that good paragraphing has become a lost art in modern writing, yet it is a valuable and powerful tool in scientific writing, and possibly in all writing.

David’s concluding advice will surely resonate with all writers and editors: ‘Keep the reader in mind’.

Rhonda Bracey

Rhonda Bracey is a legend for her business efficiency and she certainly demonstrated why in her presentation. She knows about things that most of us never even dreamed Microsoft Word could do! For instance, did you realise that Word’s AutoCorrect function can be customised to automatically insert phrases or paragraphs up to 256 characters long? So instead of laboriously making the same comment repeatedly in the margins of the document you are editing, you can just code a single word, ‘.sense’ for example (note the full stop before ‘sense’ to bring a frequently used correction to the top of the AutoCorrect list), to automatically insert the whole sentence ‘This doesn’t make sense’, or ‘.cap’ to expand into ‘Does this need to be capitalised?’

Rhonda is also a strong advocate of minimising use of the computer mouse, to protect your hands, wrists and arms. She advises us all to get more familiar with keyboard shortcuts—you can get a list of all the shortcuts available in Word if you click through the path File→Macros→View Macros→Macros in→Word Commands→List Commands→Run—and you can even create your own shortcuts if you go File→Options→Customise Ribbon. Automation of tasks is the name of Rhonda’s game.

One of her standard tools is the checklist—hers is seven pages long—which itemises all the things you should do when starting a job. Checklists are vital to ensure you do not forget basics like ‘Never work on the original document, always make a copy!’ or ‘Check Styles’. Rhonda checks all formatting in a document first, and then makes sure that everything is shown onscreen, from formatting marks (but never in Track Changes) to field shading (don’t touch that grey-shaded stuff in the Contents list—it’s probably set up by the author using some program like EndNote) and table gridlines. She recommends you move your Quick Access Toolbar below the ribbon at the top, for easier access.

A large room with people sitting at tables with their backs to the camera, and Rhonda Bracey standing beside a projector screen at the far endRhonda Bracey demonstrating the merits of checklists at the 2018 Winter Seminar.

Rhonda also introduced us to her favourite software programs for editors, namely PerfectIt, EditTools and PhraseExpress. Hilary Cadman of Cadman Editing is one of the best-known exponents of PerfectIt; her online workshops can be found on YouTube. Rhonda pointed out that PerfectIt—essentially a consistency checker—can be customised, rendering the traditional style sheet virtually redundant.

EditTools has some sophisticated tools suitable to specialised editing, for example in the sciences, with useful functions such as ‘Never Spell Word’ for words that are peculiar to a discipline and do not need checking, and a Commonly Misspelled Words option. An extra fee can buy special aids such as a complete list of the correct titles for most academic journals.

PhraseExpress specialises in automated templates and autocorrects to speed up editing. Finally, Rhonda advised us to subscribe to online dictionaries and style guides, and to join both formal and informal organisations such as ACES, the Society for Editing (US) and SfEP, the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (UK) on the formal side. On the less formal side are the Facebook sites for the ‘Editors’ Association of Earth’ and Australia’s ‘Secret Editors’ Business’, both of which include private subgroups, where many IPEd and non-IPEd editors chat about a wide range of subjects.

Conclusion

I left the seminar feeling both educated and inspired to learn more. I’m confident that most attendees would have felt the same, but once again, do give us your feedback. For a start, Rhonda Bracey has written her views on the Winter Seminar in her blog.

Ilsa Sharp, a freelance editor with a background in Asia, specialising in non-fiction and academic editing, is currently Acting President of Editors WA. She can be contacted at edwa.president@iped-editors.org.

Winter Seminar Update: registrations extended, reduced student / concession price

Cartoon of a woman with a halo sitting at a computer

Have you polished your editing halo lately?

Ours are looking a little tarnished, so we’re going to the Winter Seminar on Saturday 25 August for a refresher on what it is to be a ‘good’ editor. Why not join us there to get your ‘goodness’ credentials glowing again?

Cost

IPEd members $90
, Non-members, $120
Reduced Price — Student and concession card members now just $33

Presenters

Vanessa Herbert, PDT Consultancy:
 Vanessa will explore the application and implications of the IPEd codes of ethics and conduct in editing practices.

Prof. David Lindsay, Researcher and science communicator:
 We’ve invited David to review the writing skills he feels are most valuable for editors to help clients tell their story clearly and effectively.

Rhonda Bracey, Contract Technical Editor: 
Rhonda will share practical tips and useful software for improving effectiveness and efficiency in editing.

More information

Visit the Winter Workshop event page to read more about the presenters and what you will learn from this workshop.

Register online (opens in new window).

Registration extended — now closes midday Thursday 23 August

Enquiries to edwa.admin@iped-editors.org

Renewal of accreditation for 2011 AEs

A reminder for WA editors accredited in 2011: it’s time to renew your accreditation!

Accreditation is valid for five years. After this, you must renew your accreditation to continue to be recognised as an accredited editor (AE).

You don’t have to sit another exam for renewal but you will need to show that you’ve been actively involved in the editing profession and undertaken appropriate professional development activities over the past five years. All information should be provided to IPEd via the application form on the website.

Applications close 31 August 2016.

See Renewal of accreditation for more information, including the guidelines and application form.

If you have any queries about the exam, please send me an email.

Sue Thomson
Accreditation Board delegate WA

Accreditation exam update

Preparations are in full swing for the next accreditation exam which will be held on Saturday 25 June 2016. Registrations will open in early March.

The structure of the exam, the allocation of marks, and the required pass mark have not changed. What will be different is that instead of being on paper, the exam will be presented as a set of Microsoft Word documents. To complete the exam, you will be required to edit passages of text onscreen, type in short passages of text, and select from multiple choice options or drop-down lists. But the exam will NOT be a test of expertise in Word and knowledge of advanced Word features is not required.

We will be holding an exam preparation workshop and will let you know more in the next few weeks. The workshop will cover the aims of the exam, how to prepare, what to study, how to manage time in the exam, and possibly a chance to review some basic editing practice. We strongly encourage anyone thinking of doing the exam to attend the workshop.

An online tutorial is being developed – this will demonstrate the onscreen format and provide tips for navigating around the documents. Also, at least one of the existing sample exams will be converted to the onscreen format around the time as registrations open. Make sure you read the guidelines for candidates on the IPEd website also.

If you’re a Mac user, we’re planning to make a number of Macs available. However, we may not be in a position to offer the same level of technical support as for PCs.

Fees have been set at:
• Society member sitting the exam for the first time (fee $610; early bird $580)
• Society member resitting the exam (fee $300; early bird $285)
• Non-society member sitting the exam for the first time (fee $765; early bird $730)
• Non-society member resitting the exam (fee $380; early bird $360).

The accreditation scheme is run on a cost-recovery basis. The Accreditation Board endeavours to keep the fees as low as possible, and has managed to avoid any increases since 2012. However, the onscreen exam has incurred some extra costs, particularly in the hire of venues. Although there are off-setting savings in many areas, it has not been possible to avoid a very small increase in the 2016 fees.

Thanks to Ted Briggs (Chair, Accreditation Board) for most of the work on this article.
If you have any queries about the exam, please send me an email.

Sue Thomson
Accreditation Board delegate WA
sjthomson22@yahoo.com.au

Position paper on new Style manual

By the end of our October networking meeting, ‘Defending the barricades—you, me and the Style manual’, attendees were in agreement: Australian editors need a new edition of the Style manual. However, it was evident from the discussion of the evening that there was no clear path to attaining this goal.

The many problems and possible solutions have been distilled into a position paper that can now be read online. This has been developed by SoE(WA) members Michèle Drouart, Satima Flavell, Helen Renwick and Ilsa Sharp, who formed a working group after the meeting to research and explore the future of the Style manual.

It is the hope of the working group and the committee of SoE(WA) that this paper will prompt greater conversation and forward movement at the national level.

wg

 

John Simkin Medal 2015

The Australian and New Zealand Society of Indexers (ANZSI) invites nominations for the inaugural John Simkin Medal – an award recognising an outstanding index to a book compiled in Australia or New Zealand.

The John Simkin Medal, previously known as the ANZSI Medal, has been renamed in honour of John Simkin, one of the founding members of the Society. John promoted the ideals of indexes and indexing throughout his 40-year association with the Society, so it is with pleasure we acknowledge his enormous contribution to indexing in this way.

The ANZSI Medal was first awarded in 1985 and was offered annually until 2013, when it became biennial.

Due to the prestigious nature of the Medal, it is only awarded when merited. Details of previous ANZSI Medal winners are available at www.anzsi.org/site/medal_win.asp.

To attain the award, indexes must be of the highest calibre. The index should be substantial in size, the subject matter complex, and the language, form and structure should demonstrate the indexer’s expertise in serving the primary needs of the text and the reader. There are no restrictions on the subject matter of the book.

The book may be in either paper or electronic format.

To be eligible for the award, the book must be commercially available and have an imprint date of 2012 or later. The index must have been compiled in Australia or New Zealand, although the text to which it refers may have been published elsewhere.

Publishers, booksellers, editors, librarians, indexers and interested persons are all invited to provide nominations. Indexers are encouraged to submit their own work.

The winning indexer will receive the John Simkin Medal and a framed certificate. The publisher will receive a framed certificate.

Applications
A completed nomination form together with a hard copy of the book or a link to the electronic file of both book and index is required. Hard copy books will be returned after judging. Nomination forms are available at www.anzsi.org/UserFiles/file/John-Simkin-Medal-nomination-form-2015.pdf.

Dates
Applications must be received no later than Friday, 20 March, 2015 at the address on the nomination form. Presentation of the inaugural John Simkin Medal will be made to the winner at Write | Edit | Index: A national conference for editors, indexers, and publishing professionals, Canberra, 6–9 May 2015.

Represent IPEd at global editing conference in Canada

IPEd is calling for expressions of interest from society members to represent IPEd at the Editing Goes Global 2015 Conference in Toronto, Canada from 12 to 14 June 2015. IPEd will sponsor the speaker’s airfares, four nights’ accommodation in Toronto (11-14 June 2015), airport transfers and the conference registration fee.

It is expected the speaker will be on several panels and deliver on more than one topic. See the list below for the conference sessions.

The speaker must address the current IPEd transition process during one of their sessions and represent IPEd during networking opportunities. The speaker will also be required to prepare a report on the conference for IPEd upon return.

The conference sessions are organised into the following streams:

  • Editing Around the World (organisers would probably ask the speaker to be on a panel somewhere in this stream)
  • Business Practices (freelancing, setting rates, ethics, working from remote locations, crowdsourced editing, etc.)
  • ** Editing Tools (style guides, dictionaries, CreativeSuite, Dreamweaver, PerfectIt, Editorium, etc.)
  • Editing Practices (book doctoring, detecting plagiarism, editing fiction, etc.)
  • How to train editors (organisers are short of sessions for this one, and may remove it from the program)
  • ** Working with self-publishing authors (crowdfunding, distribution, marketing, using focus groups, coaching non-writers, etc.)
  • Networking and mentoring (a series of sessions on the first day, largely aimed at first-time conference attendees)
  • How to run an association for editors (finding work for members, publications, mentoring programs, meeting volunteers’ needs, standards, certification, membership structures and criteria, e-learning)

** These streams have been filled but organisers need sessions for all other streams.

Expressions of interest are due by 25 January 2015 to secretary@iped-editors.org and must include the following:

  • a short synopsis of your paper/s based on the conference sessions
  • a paragraph of your experience and qualifications, including why you would be the best person to represent IPEd at the conference
  • a short synopsis regarding the current IPEd transition process.

If you have any questions, please contact Margaret Telford, IPEd Secretary, via email: secretary@iped-editors.org.

SoE(WA)’s IPEd Councillor, Kerry Coyle, has offered to brief interested applicants on the IPEd transition process to date. Contact Kerry via email: kcoyle@westnet.com.au

More information about the conference is available here: www.editors.ca/conference/2015/index.html.

To contact the Editors’ Association of Canada: info@editors.ca

To submit an expression of interest in being a self-funded conference speaker, please apply directly to the conference organisers.

‘Editing in the digital age’: full program!

The Society of Editors (WA) is please to announce the program for our upcoming winter seminar.

Editing in the digital age: software and systems for professional success

Editors should be up to date and proficient in … common word processing software for editing … and accepted techniques for handling electronic files. Australian standards for editing practice (IPEd, p. 6)

Time Presenters and session titles
8.30   am Registration
9.00 President’s welcome (Cheryl Bettridge AE)
9.05 Announcements (Kerry Coyle AE)
9.10 Dr Hilary Cadman AE ‘PerfectIt – the editor’s friend’
10.00 MORNING TEA
10.15 John Denton ‘How to build a business’
11.15 Rhonda Bracey ‘Telecommuting: Pros and cons’
12.15 pm LUNCH catered by Café Ultimo
13.00 Dr Hilary Cadman AE ‘Keeping up to date with electronic editing tools’
14.00 Margaret McNally AE ‘How many ‘p’s exist in publication?’
14.45 AFTERNOON TEA
15.00 Georgina Wilson ‘Editing for the web – same, same but different’
15.45 Thanks and close

Guest speakers

cadman2Dr Hilary Cadman

PerfectIt – the editor’s friend and Keeping up to date with electronic editing tools
Hilary is a highly experienced science and medical editor, and trainer. Her background is in science. She has a PhD in biochemistry and spent 20 years working in research laboratories and universities in the UK, France and Zimbabwe. A Master of Science (communications) led her into a career in science editing in 1999.

Denton2John Denton

Helping you not just to do business, but to build one!
John started his own training and development business in January 1997 as a licensee for Leadership Management Australia. He has 27 years experience in engineering, customer service, sales and management roles. Today, John is an experienced business person, business consultant, qualified facilitator and trainer, public speaker and ‘business ready for sale’ coach. His extensive knowledge is valuable for editors in any field.

bracey2Rhonda Bracey

Telecommuting: Pros and cons
Editing is an occupation that can be done from home—for at least part of the time. Rhonda has worked full-time from home since 2007. In this presentation, she shares her telecommuting experiences and the pros and cons of working remotely from a corporate office. Rhonda Bracey started her technical communication business in WA in 1999.

mcnallyMargaret McNally

How many ‘p’s exist in publication?
Margaret is a highly experienced editor and professional writer who has written broadly for newspapers, magazines, and corporate organisations. Until recently, Margaret was managing editor of corporate publications at Curtin University, a position she held for more than six years.

wilsonGeorgina Wilson

Editing for the web – same, same but different
Georgina is an experienced editor working with the Department of Agriculture and Food in Perth. Recently her work has concentrated on the department’s new website.

Register online now! Registration is now closed

Editing academic theses – resources

If you couldn’t make it to our April networking meeting on editing academic theses or if you want a little more detail, please take a look at these resources from the night.

We’ll be adding to this post over the next couple of days [4/5/2014].

Editing academic theses notes.pdf
Ilsa Sharp’s questions for students.pdf
IPEd’s Guidelines on editing research theses.pdf

Call for papers

A national conference for editors, indexers, and publishing professionals will take place in Canberra, Australia, 6–9 May 2015. It will be hosted jointly by the Canberra Society of Editors and ACT Region Branch of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Indexers (ANZSI) on behalf of the Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd) and ANZSI.

Call for papers

The conference committee is inviting expressions of interest to present papers on broad topical areas about editing and indexing for the conference in Canberra, 2015.

The conference will focus on contemporary and emerging issues in editing and indexing, including but not necessarily limited to:

  • Best practice/innovative practice in editing and indexing
  • Research relevant to editing, indexing, publishing
  • Digital publishing
  • E-books
  • Information technology developments and trends
  • Information accessibility
  • Education and professional development
  • Professional issues
  • Business practices
  • Editing/indexing particular formats/document types/publications types
  • Taxonomies/controlled vocabularies in indexing
  • Industry trends
  • Case studies.

Expressions of interest (up to 200 words) in presenting a paper or participating in panel or round table discussions are due by Friday 30 May 2014.

You are welcome to share this notice with interested friends and colleagues.

The committee reserves the right to select papers appropriate to the program. Please send your submissions to writeeditindex@gmail.com