Session 8 — Editing

@feb20-cohort Hi everyone, hope you are all doing okay. We’re meeting tomorrow to check-in, share updates, ask/answer questions, and talk about editing! As usual, we’ll be on Zoom (at our standard meeting link) at 9am ET.

Take a look at the slides and handouts we’ll be referencing:

  1. Handout: Editing
  2. Slides: Editing

For anyone who cannot make it, we’ll post back here with a recap and share resources, the chat transcript, and any other questions or interesting discussion.

Thanks @feb20-cohort for another great session! It was nice to have a bit more time for questions and discussion today.

Chat Transcript and Resources

The discussion in the chat was very interesting, and I spotted a few questions in the chat transcript that I wanted to answer.

  • @ryanrandall — with the CSS problem that @mattruen was explaining, we could come up with a way to change the formatting on existing heading styles, so they would still be styled according to the APA style guidelines, but tagged as a heading. So it wasn’t quite a hide/show change, but that’s a good idea! Not too sure how to execute that, but I’m happy that there is some flexibility with APA guidelines for headings in longer texts.
  • Lots of you were wondering about funding sources for editors — look at grants, mini-grants for creation or adaptation projects at your institution, state/national-level OER or educational organizations, philanthropic organizations or associations in your discipline as sources of potential funding.
  • As @zoe mentioned, there’s a lot that you can get from reaching out through existing networks to find collaborators for editorial tasks, including in this community, so give it a shot too.

There were lots more ideas for places to turn to for editing help, so revisit the chat transcript for some inspiration.

I’ve done a roundup of resources shared below.

Some other resources mentioned on the call that you might find interesting:

Lesson Recap

Editing is an umbrella term for a whole lot of different processes but is mainly about connecting different portions of the book, refining and polishing the drafts at hand, applying consistency to each section, and helping to ensure the formation of a cohesive resource that meets learning objectives. It provides structure, appeal, nuance, and brings sections together as a whole, cohesive textbook. Overall, it makes content easier to read. Editing can also be a useful source of critique feedback, suggestions — in this way, it can function as a form of review…

There are different types of editing ranging from the extremely granular to having a bird’s eye view of the entire resource. Your project might not need every single type of editing, so look at the different editorial roles below to see which ones will provide most value to your project.

  • A project manager is an editor who works with the leadership & editorial team, and thinks about the resource as a whole. They help develop style guides, templates, guides and make revisions to these documents over time.
  • Content or subject-matter editors make decisions about what should be included or excluded in the book. They are responsible for moulding and shaping the book and focus on ‘what should be said.’ They are, unsurprisingly, subject-matter experts.
  • Developmental or structural editors focus on the structure of the textbook and ‘how things should be said.’ They make sure the textbook is set up to meet learning objectives and can actually be more helpful if slightly distanced from the subject-matter.
  • Substantive editors’ work mainly involves resolving questions, problems, improvements identified during the developmental edit. Ideally, they are subject-matter experts.
  • Copy editors conduct a very close reading of the text, making corrections along the way. They are less focused on the bigger picture and need not be subject-matter experts.
  • Proofreaders make fine adjustments at the scale of spelling, punctuation, formatting issues, non-content specific aspects. They person the final inspection of the book and need not be subject-matter experts.

Each of these roles and processes take place at different points throughout the publishing workflow. Take a look at our suggestions in the slides for when to edit. As you’re editing, keep in mind other editing considerations that let you complete work effectively, meaningfully, and in a way that makes future tasks simpler. Remind editors that communications with authors can also be positive: that they can recognize and credit when something has been well-executed or well-explained instead of only focusing on areas needing improvement.

In a similar vein, keep in mind that editors are humans, so spend time sharing these principles with them, and revisiting your workflows to make sure that their workload is reasonable and manageable. Editing is one of many steps to refine the content in your OER, and improvements always be made to the book as you continue on the journey to release (and even after!).