Producing printed material
If the publication includes references, these must be consistent and must include at least the
title, author, publisher, date, and place of publication.
Appendixes - At the back of the publication list, in appendixes, any other information that
could be of use to the reader.
Indexes are very helpful to the reader. Try to include one if it is appropriate.
Designer and typesetter
Traditionally the role of the designer was to create an overall style or look for the publication,
specifying page sizes and formats, typefaces and sizes, and sometimes creating original
artwork for covers or illustrations. The typesetter would use the designer’s specifications to
lay out the publication in preparation for printing. Today designers often work using desk-top
publishing (DTP) packages on computers, and they may do the work of the typesetter in some
cases. Clarify from the beginning what the role of the designer will be, and if there is a
typesetter decide what their role will be.
One of the main roles of the copy editor is to make the text of a publication consistent. Some
English words have more than one correct spelling, for example organise and organise, but these
must be standardised. There are other variables too: whether headings are set in bold; where
upper case letters are used; in what order the information in references is written; whether
foreign words are italicised, etc. Every organisation must make a ‘ruling’ on these variables, and
the collected rulings – the House Style – should then be issued to all staff and freelances.
The main way to simplify this task is to specify which dictionary has the definitive spelling (no,
they do not all agree!). ITDG Publishing, for example, uses the Oxford Dictionary, which favours
‘z’ instead of ‘s’. The Oxford Writers’ Dictionary is a smaller reference book full of awkward
words, abbreviations, words that should be in italics, and difficult or often misspelled proper
nouns. Make sure your thesaurus matches your dictionary.
Every organisation should also append a regularly updated list of definitive spellings of words
that are unusual to outsiders but are regularly used within the organisation – for example do you
use drinking water, drinking-water, or drinking-water? – and of words that are new or changing,
and not in the dictionary, such as decision-maker. The spellchecker that comes with most word
processing packages can help. On older packages you can add words to the dictionary but not
delete them, but on newer packages there is a more sophisticated Quick Correct facility,
whereby the machine will always replace one spelling of a word with another once you have
Another very useful book is Judith Butcher’s Copy-editing. This book uses the Cambridge
spellings, and is still the best explanation of the process of editing. It covers all the basics plus
scientific notations, American spellings, proof correction symbols, and devotes a whole chapter
Fowler’s Modern English Usage and Partridge’s Usage and Abusage provide valuable advice
when you are not sure if you are using the correct word, or using a word correctly. George
Orwell’s 1946 essay ‘Politics and the English Language’ will be of interest to anyone who wants