Week 6 Comprehensive editing


Organizing information

Unexpected Complexity in a Traditional Usability Study

Editing a moving target

Editing assignment

Recommendation report -- copier purchase

Discussion questions


Where does the editor fall within the writing department hierarchy of a big company (think of IBM or HP, who have bunches of writers & editors)? How do is the editor/author relationship different when there a single manual per product and a large library per product? How do the copyeditors and comprehensive editors fit in (yes, they are different people)? Who owns the product library and who decides what goes in each book?

To put the question in perspective: In 1995, when I had a contract with Nortel, the documentation for their main telephone switch filled a bookshelf almost 100 feet long. Likewise, a set of printed documentation for a F-16 jet fighter outweighs the aircraft. Allowing for documentation weight was actually a part of Navy ship design pre-computer. So, how the editor fit into this process?


A job of both the writer and editor is to make the text as simple as possible, but not too simple. Many writers say they "think of someone who has never done X and write so they can do it." But does this total novice concept really apply? Where does it cause problems? How would it either improve or perhaps destroy the ability of students to use the reference guide Howard researched?

And why did I include a reading on usability research in a comprehensive editing section?


I'm willing to state that if you get offered a job as a copyeditor, that you should run. And this includes if the company calls the position a Technical Editor but the job description is copyediting. Why?