What It Is (posts below left; rate sheet, client list, other stuff below right)

My name is Bob Land. I am a full-time freelance editor and proofreader, and occasional indexer. This blog is my website.

You'll find my rate sheet and client list here, as well as musings on the life of a freelancer; editing, proofreading, and indexing concerns and issues; my ongoing battles with books and production; and the occasional personal revelation.

Feel free to contact me directly with additional questions: landondemand@gmail.com.

Thanks for visiting. Leave me a comment. Come back often.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Reference Lists, Name Order, Lower-Level Scholarship: Questions, We've Got Questions

Part of any copyeditor's gig when working for academic/scholarly publishers is checking works cited lists. Pages and pages of them. What a godawful bore. I often like to do all that at once before reading the actual text because the reading goes pretty quickly once I clear all the junk out of the way. In a journal article that has six pages of works cited out of a thirty-page chapter, a lot of the real estate in the text comprises author-date citations that I then can ignore when shuffling commas. Chewing up three or four hours doing reference checks up front is akin to eating your vegetables before you get to the protein.

My present job, a quarterly journal for which I'm the de facto CE -- and have been for about four years now -- deals with matters Asian. While the editors (both content and in-house) do a nice job preparing these manuscripts before I see them, there's still a lot of foreign-language content to sort through. Italics or not? Name order? Translations? Which Li are we talking about? And is that a first or last name? On and on and on.

My dear, long-suffering wife asked if she could help me check the author-date citations -- something that a neophyte could occasionally do. When I showed her what this project involved, she withdrew the offer. Smart woman.

Reading all the references at once, though, uncovers certain patterns, and really that's what my whole work life comes down to: Does the text match the style sheet? Is all this handled consistently? Why didn't I become a plumber? (Well, maybe not the last one.)

A pattern I've begun to recognize is that an awful lot of these references -- not only in this journal, but in plenty of books, too -- cite the first page only of their source.

So what's going on here? Are these scholars just reading the abstracts? Can't these people be bothered to plow through some of their peers' work?* I mean, when I check thirty citations and twenty-five of them are to the first page of the cite, what's my takeaway?

(*"I mingle with my peers or no one. Having no peers, I mingle with no one." --Ignatius J. Reilly)

By the way, after five minutes of lazy research of my own, I can find no good images of a page from an English-language phonebook with a mess of Chinese names. If you can find one, send me the link. Or if you live in a town where the voting-age population is not mostly white meth freaks, morbidly obese white folks, or ancient Caucasians who can't drive more than 18 miles an hour, scan a page of Korean or Chinese names and email it to me. Hell, send me a postcard from such a place. I'm given to understand that not all of America looks like Central Appalachia.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Keeping It Regular

I think I mentioned this point in passing in some recent post, but I'm editing a special issue of a journal for a multifaceted scholar of note who found my blog some time ago -- when the Google wasn't so picky, thankfully. Bless him, as he has three distinct fields of interest and is publishing in all of them. We're going to be pals for years to come if I don't blow it.

Problem is that the articles for this journal are kinda trickling in, making it hard to get up any rhythm on the work. I worked on an article last night, or earlier this morning, or sometime since the last time I was asleep. It was a perfect storm of relative ignorance for me: MLA style, converting to UK spelling and punctuation, and a Works Cited section that featured a decent amount of -- get ready -- Estonian.

Good thing the work is interesting.

And in an entirely different field, he has 300,000 words of abstracts coming to me for editing in March for an international symposium he's hosting this summer. With any luck, I'll have a little more to grab on to there. Three hundred thousand words of mess might put me right over the edge. Been a very emotional year already.

By no means am I complaining about the work he sends me. I'm loving the relationship. And at least my intestines aren't getting ready to explode any time soon. Sometimes you take the good news where you can get it. When I think of colons, I'd rather keep it work-related, thank you very much.