In appreciation of editors….

I’ve had a productive, but very frustrating day.  I’m working on a large project (about 1500 pages)–an encyclopedia. Generally it’s fairly straight-forward–stem cell research, so it’s interesting; the headings within the articles are pretty descriptive, so generally, not bad to index.  Many of the articles are two or three pages–so we are dealing with a lot of titles.

The only thing really “picky” about this index is the typographical conventions that the publisher wants: all article titles appear as main headings, inn bold typeface, with locators in bold typeface. That’s all very straight-forward too, but…. There

cat with paw on chair
What’s up?

is a fair amount of variability in punctuation used withing the article titles–sometimes colons, sometimes commas. The editor in me wants consistency–either commas or colons in all the similar titles.

My incredible frustration today has been with the number of typographical errors within the text–of the “University of California, David” (rather than Davis) ilk. Part of me says, I’m indexing, not editing, and would like to blow right past those, but I can’t so the list is growing.

My other major frustration is that many cross-references are needed–they’re given at the end of each article and some need to be included in the index entry.  My frustration comes in  that there is no real consistency in how the multiple authors cite the article titles to which they are referring (but I have to match them to article titles).  There is an indiscriminate use of colons and commas, irrespective of how the article title might be punctuated, which is variable, too. (Maybe it’s my aging brain, but I keep having to go back to check on this–somehow can’t seem to remember for sure was this particular one a comma or a colon.  (Software is good on autocomplete, but not a miracle worker.)

My other frustration is acronyms: I’m sure this is partly a reflection of the state of stem cell research, but I’ve found at least three different meanings for the same acronym! And multiple different initialisms/acronyms used for the same term/phrase. (I don’t envy the reader on these.)  The publisher wants acronyms and initialisms included in the index, too.

Okay, that’s my rant for the day.  Despite these frustrations, I am a happy indexer.  Good, thorough editors make me happy too!


cat on computer
Enough? Quit now?

Frankie has assiduously supervised this entire day of work. I think he understands that the cursing was not directed at him personally. He’s very patient mostly lying on the back of my chair, or sitting beside my chair until the clock hits 17:30 or 18:00. Then he gets assertive about interfering with work.

This is not a matter of empty food bowl, or that sort of thing. I think it’s totally attention-getting.  Good break-timing software!

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