We kicked off the 2013–2014 EAC-BC meeting season last evening with a packed house and an editors’ show and tell of some of our favourite time-savers. Here’s a summary*:
- Frances Peck showed us CanLII, the Canadian Legal Information Institute database, which is handy if you need to work with a document that has legal citations or references to acts and regulations. The searchable database covers both federal and provincial case law and has up-to-date wording of legislation. The University of Victoria Libraries vouch for the database’s reliability.
- I mentioned the Library of Congress Authorities as a reliable place to check names.
- Lana Okerlund told us about GeoBC for fact checking B.C. place names.
- Naomi Pauls and Jennifer Getsinger both mentioned the Canadian Geographical Names Data Base for place names within Canada.
- I also told the crowd about SearchOpener, which I’d mentioned in a previous post. The tool lets you perform multiple Google searches at once—a boon for checking fact-heavy texts.
Notes and bibliography
- Stef Alexandru told us about RefWorks and Zotero, which are bibliographic management programs. The former costs $100 (USD), whereas the latter is free. In both of these programs, you can enter all of your bibliographic information, and it produces a bibliography in the style (e.g., Chicago) that you want.
- Microsoft Word’s bibliography tool does the same thing (under “Manage Sources”)
The trick to all of these programs, though, is that you would have had to work with your client or author early enough in the writing process for them to have used them from the outset. Nobody knew of any specific tricks for streamlining the editing of notes and bibliographies, although Margaret Shaw later mentioned a guest article on Louise Harnby’s blog by the developer of EditTools, Richard Adin, in which he writes:
The books I work on often have reference lists of several hundred entries. Using the Journals macro, I can check and correct most of the entries in the list automatically. I once timed it and found that I can check about 600 references in approximately 15 minutes; it used to take me hours, especially if I had to look up obscure and rarely cited journal names. Now I look them up once, enter them in the dataset, and move on.
- For fact checking bibliographical information, one suggestion was to use WorldCat.
- Jack Lyon’s Editorium has a FileCleaner Word add-on that helps with a lot of common search-and-replace cleanup steps. NoteStripper may also help you prepare a file for design if the designer doesn’t want embedded footnotes or endnotes.
- Grace Yaginuma told us how to strip all hyperlinks from your file by selecting all (Ctrl + A) and then using Ctrl + Shift + F9.
- To remove formatting from text on the clipboard, suggested apps include Plain Clip and Format Match.
- Nobody in the room had tried PerfectIt, but there seemed to be positive views of it on EAC’s listserv. It catches consistency errors that Word’s spelling and grammar checkers miss, including hyphenation, capitalization, and treatment of numbers. You can also attach specific dictionaries or style sheets to it.
Author correspondence and queries
- Theresa Best keeps a series of boilerplate emails in her Drafts folder; another suggestion was to have boilerplate email text as signature files.
- For queries that you use again and again, consider adding it as an AutoCorrect entry, a trick I use all the time and saves me countless keystrokes. Store longer pieces of boilerplate text as AutoText.
- Naomi Pauls and Theresa Best talked about the utility of checklists. I concur!
- A few people in the audience mentioned that a surprising number of editors don’t know about using Outline View or Navigation Pane in Microsoft Word to do outlining and structural editing.
- One person said Scrivener is a fantastic tool for easily moving large chunks of text around and other aspects of structural editing.
- Janet Love Morrison uses Billings for time tracking and invoicing, and she highly recommends it. Other options recommended include iBiz and FreshBooks. (Someone also mentioned Goggle as a time tracker, but I can’t find anything about it. Can anyone help?)
- Theresa Best has just begun using Tom’s Planner, which she described as a free and intuitive project-management program.
- Peter Moskos mentioned that years ago, his firm had invested in FastTrack Schedule, which cost a few hundred dollars but, he said, was worth every penny, especially for creating schedules for proposals.
- One recommended scheduling app for arranging meetings is Doodle.com.
Editors’ wish list
- Naomi Pauls said that she’d like to see a style sheet app that lets you choose style options easily rather than having to key them in. (Being able to have your word processer reference it while checking the document would be a plus.)
- Someone else proposed a resource that would be a kind of cheat sheet to summarize the main differences between the major style guides, to make it easier to jump from one to another when working on different projects.
Thanks to everyone who came out to the meeting and especially those who shared their tips and tricks!
*Although I knew some names at the meeting, I didn’t catch all of the names of the contributors (or I’d forgotten who’d said what). If you see an entry here and thought, “Hey—that’s me!” please send me a note, and I’ll be happy to add your name.