By James Harbeck
If you edit academic books or articles, you probably spend a lot of time tidying up references. Sometimes as much time as editing the entire rest of the text. First, you have to pick your style: Chicago (note or name-date), MLA, APA, or, in the sciences, AMA or Vancouver. Then, you have to make everything consistent with it, to the extent possible. On top of that, you may have to look up the sources to double-check them.
I’ve edited medical continuing-education presentations that had no bibliographies and would cite some sources as just, for instance, “Heinz & Wong 2013.” I would have to find the rest of the citation—and I would, nearly every time, with a single search. Which means that anyone else who wanted to know would also be able to find it as quickly. Our citation standards were developed before the wonderful world of high-powered search engines. If we can find the source from an incomplete or inaccurate citation, how much of this tidying up is necessary?
Now, yes, there are more reasons than just findability to give detailed and consistent bibliographic information. You want to be tidy. You want readers not to have to spend undue time and effort: “Wasting our time so that readers don’t have to waste theirs” is in the editor’s job description. You want to give credit where it is due, and accurately. And you don’t want any risk of ambiguity—you don’t want people flipping fruitlessly through the wrong edition, for instance.
But still. Not all standard parts of a bibliographic citation are truly necessary. Here are several things some styles require that we should consider just getting rid of:
By Michelle Waitzman
Most people take dictionaries for granted. They are available to us, at home or at school, from the time we first learn to read. Those of us who work with words rely on them regularly. But few of us spend much time thinking about how a dictionary is put together and kept up to date. It’s almost as though we expect them to spring into existence, fully formed. The truth is much more complicated—and fascinating.
Kory Stamper is a lexicographer,* and her book Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at one of America’s best-known dictionary publishers: Merriam-Webster. Sound boring? It’s not! Stamper takes us on a memorable journey through the ways in which the English language has evolved (and continues to evolve), the lengths that lexicographers go to in order to describe current usage, and the backlash that can result from a seemingly innocuous definition.
Each of the book’s chapters is named for a word chosen to illustrate the topic of that chapter. For example, the “Irregardless” chapter is about words that many people argue are not “real” words at all; the “Take” chapter discusses the challenges of defining small words that are used in a multitude of ways; and the “Nuclear” chapter is about differences in pronunciation.
Interview conducted by Jennifer D. Foster.
A career as an editor is often a solo adventure, especially if you’re a freelancer. So we thought one way to better connect with fellow editors was to ask them the W5: who, what, where, when, and why. Read on for some thought-provoking, enlightening tidbits from those of us who choose to work with words to earn our keep.
Please tell us a little about yourself, the kind of work you do (and where you live), and how long you’ve been an editor.
I started out as an in-house production editor in 2013, and now I work as managing editor at House of Anansi Press in Toronto. I describe my role in the editorial department as a mix of air traffic controller and book doula: I support our team by creating and managing editorial schedules and by liaising with our publishers, in-house editors, freelancers, authors, and members of our design and production departments to ensure books are sent off to press on time and error-free (gulp!). Working at an independent publisher affords a wonderful opportunity to wear many hats, and I’m learning constantly. I also love to work collaboratively and in a supportive role—it’s really the authors and their editors at any given stage of the editorial process who do the heavy lifting.
By Celina Fazio
The April program meeting featured Editors Canada co-founder Greg Ioannou. The topic of the evening was finding freelance work, and, in addition to listening to Ioannou’s talk, attendees had the pleasure of viewing a series of short video presentations by four freelance editors: Jahleen Turnbull-Sousa, Susannah Noel, Adrienne Montgomerie, and Carolyn Camilleri.
These guests shared some tips and strategies on how to generate freelance editing work and illuminated the variety of sectors that editors work in—everywhere from trade publishing to government branches. The question addressed was, how do we connect editors with people who need work edited?
Jahleen Turnbull-Sousa spoke about the importance of not being shy and reaching out to online networks: social media platforms are great places to meet people and connect with other professionals in the industry. Maintaining a presence online makes you easily discoverable by people looking for editorial services. She also discussed cold emailing ideal clients—in addition to the possibility of getting work, cold calling gets your name out and recognized. Turnbull-Sousa also suggested trying mentorship programs, such as the one that Editors Canada offers, to work closely with someone in the industry who can share their experiences and expertise. Finally, Turnbull-Sousa shared her number one tip: volunteering! By offering your skills and services for the greater good, you not only gain valuable experience, but also express your interest in becoming more involved in the editorial field.
Interviews conducted by Catherine Dorton.
Our popular monthly program meetings often feature a jam-packed agenda. We like to keep our introductions short, so you can hear more from our panellists and less from us! It’s hard to do justice to the incredible wealth of experience these guests bring to the table, so we are offering you a preview with this short Q&A beforehand.
This month, we are honoured to be joined by Jessica De Bruyn, Gagandeep Bimbh, and Ronan Sadler. We were able to sit down with two of this month’s panellists for this Q&A. Meet all three panellists in person at this month’s program meeting on May 28.
Jessica De Bruyn
Experience: A noun or a verb? Discuss.
Because I am in job hunting mode, my first instinct is to say noun. But I think that it can be a very ominous word in that context because it is difficult to know what employers or contractors are really looking for. However, I like it more as a verb because it highlights that it’s better to just get out there and do something. Whether it’s volunteering or starting your own project, it’s more about experiencing different things than it is about getting the “right” experience.
What is something you’re proud of in your working life?
Probably that I haven’t quit! Establishing a business as a freelancer has definitely not been easy. There were lots of times when I was working more than forty-hour weeks at joe jobs just to make ends meet and was wondering why I was doing this to myself. But eventually a manuscript would come in and I’d get to dive into this world that I loved so much, and I’d see myself getting a little closer to my goals. It is one step forward, one step back sometimes, though.
Join us on May 28 for our Annual General Meeting, a branch business meeting, and what promises to be a stimulating panel discussion on barriers to entering the editing profession.
The business meeting and AGM will begin at 7 pm. The panel discussion will begin at 7:30 pm. We have the room until 9:30 pm, so please plan to stay and chat. We love to get to know our members!
Breaking Down Barriers to a Career in Editing
When: Tuesday, May 28, 7–9:30 pm (business meeting and AGM first; panel starts at 7:30 pm)
Where: Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) Spadina, 192 Spadina Ave., Third Floor, Room F
Are you new to the field of editing? Have you struggled with impostor syndrome or faced other barriers to a full editing career? For the final branch meeting of 2018–19, we are pleased to present a panel discussion on common obstacles facing new editing professionals and the strategies organizations and individuals can use to break down those barriers. This program will explore how the industry can better welcome and recruit new talent, how organizations can combat ableism and improve access, what individual editors can do to gain a toehold in the editing and publishing industries, and related questions.