Projects

Project One: Basic Marking and Copyediting

Due Thursday, September 20 at 11:59pm CT

Project Description

You will choose a Wikipedia article from a list of articles identified in June 2018 or July 2018 as needing copyedits. You may choose any article to copyedit, provided that the article itself still includes a notice that it may require copyediting. The article you choose must be paragraph-like narrative text, meaning that the article should not be a list, timeline, or other short-form text. The article should also be at least 1000 words, excluding references.

You will create a PDF of the article’s copy, and mark it using the basic editorial symbols covered in Chapter 2 of The Copyeditor’s Handbook (33-35). You can make your marks on paper and then scan the result, or use a PDF program that allows you to make clear and precise digital marks.

Project Goals

  • Learn to create markable copy from web pages.
  • Learn to edit copy with a general audience in mind.
  • Mark copy using traditional editorial symbols outlined in The Copyeditor’s Handbook.
  • Follow the guidance of an in-house style manual. In this case, Wikipedia’s Manual of Style.
  • Create a style sheet that ensures internal consistency within the article you are marking, especially regarding punctuation, spelling, capitalization, numbers/numerals, and abbreviations.

Deliverables & Milestones

  1. An email to the instructor proposing the article you wish to copyedit. No two students may mark the same article, so do this as soon as possible (by Friday, August 31). The email must contain the project’s initial deliverables:
    • The URL to your chosen Wikipedia article marked as needing copyedits
    • The Dropbox or Google Drive share link link to your copyediting-friendly but unmarked PDF
  2. An email to the instructor containing the project’s final deliverables (by Thursday, September 20 at 11:59pm CT):
    • A share link pointing to the PDF of your scanned marked paper copy, or digitally marked copy
    • A Google Docs share link to your style sheet derived from problems and inconsistencies in the article
    • A 4-5 sentence self-critique memo of your project and your progress in class to this point

Requirements

  • Your chosen article must:
    • have running copy (not counting captions or tables) of approximately 1000-2000 words; copy and paste the main text into a word processor to get a rough word count
    • be primarily paragraph-like narrative content
  • Your marked article copy must be:
    • Formatted as a PDF. One way to do this is to install a readability or print-friendly addon/extension for your web browser. You want generously sized text and plenty of space in between each line. Create the PDF based on the output from your readability add-on of choice. Although Wikipedia provides the ability to download PDFs of their articles, they are not well suited to copyediting. Neither are the printable versions of their articles. You should therefore learn to create copyediting-quality PDFs from any website, using your own tools. Check Basecamp for a discussion of possible addons or approaches.
    • Printed and marked with a pen or pencil and scanned, or marked digitally with drawing tools that allow you to create the marks described in The Copyeditor’s Handbook.
    • Compliant with the Wikipedia Manual of Style

Project Two: Copyediting Technical Material

Due Thursday, November 1 at 11:59pm CT

Project Description

Self-selected groups of two or three students will be assigned an open-source software project’s web-based technical manual and project website, both of which must be edited for content and basic formatting. Each group will also create a short in-house style guide for the software project’s manual and website.

Project Goals

  • Learn to collaboratively edit and manage a small project in a team setting
  • Learn to edit for internationalization and global contexts, as represented by open-source software projects
  • Learn to work with complex technical material that may be beyond your comprehension, and edit it for professional audiences (the manual) and non-technical audiences (the promotional website)
  • Learn to coordinate writing and editing styles across technical and promotional materials
  • Learn to go beyond the copyeditor stylesheet and prepare a style guide to be used for future writing within an organization

Deliverables & Milestones

  • An email to the instructor listing your team members (groups of 2–3 students); instructor will assign your group an open-source software project. Use Basecamp to organize yourselves into teams (by Friday, September 28 at 11:59pm CT)
  • An email to the instructor containing the project’s final deliverables (by Thursday, November 1 at 11:59pm CT):
    1. Google Docs links to:
      • A content audit of all of a project’s technical manual pages, and its accompanying website. Present this as a spreadseet that lists URLs, page titles, and a one-sentence content summary.
      • Six edited pages, or roughly 3000 words, of a project’s technical manual
      • Three edited pages, or roughly 1500 words, of a project’s website
      • An in-house style guide for the software project. The manual should cover language usage and style, as well as styles for headings, source code examples, etc. Use your project-wide stylesheet as your first draft of the style guide.
    2. A 5–7 sentence self-critique memo of your project and your progress in class to this point
    3. A 4–5 sentence critique for each of your group members

Project Three: Editing for Academic Publication

Due Thursday, December 6 at 11:59pm CT

Project Description

You will edit a pre-publication academic manuscript for Project Three, including formatting its citations and reference list or notes according to the Chicago Manual of Style. While you will of course be working on sentence-level edits, keep in mind also issues of style, clarity, and the consistency and overall organization of the manuscript. Query the author frequently; academics are a special breed when it comes to feeling protective of their writing.

You will choose an in-progress article manuscript from one of two sources:

  1. The Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN) Research Papers Series. You can choose a manuscript from any of the SSRN’s subject areas, for example this list for the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) Working Paper Series. The paper you choose must be listed as appearing in a Working Paper Series. You cannot choose a paper in the Accepted Paper Series.
  2. The Open Science Repository’s Papers Open to Review.

You will find almost all of those papers are in PDF. You have the option either to clean up the PDF and present it as a Google Doc for digital redlining, or you can mark the PDF digitally or on paper and scan. The choice is yours.

Whichever markup method you choose, you are responsible for editing the first 4000 words of the manuscript and the first 20 entries of its bibliography/reference list, or the first 20 note references, if that is the style the paper uses (in which case you would apply CMS note style). Refer to the Chicago Manual of Style for all matters of grammar and usage, as well as for citation style and formatting.

Project Goals

  • Learn to mark up copy intended for academic publication, including working with academic authors through frequent author queries
  • Apply the Chicago Manual of Style to all grammar, usage, and citation issues
  • Prepare an article’s reference list or notes according to the Chicago Manual of Style
  • Learn to utilize your network of peers (people in this class) and the instructor to discuss problems in the manuscript and ways to address them

Deliverables & Milestones

  1. A URL to your chosen article’s download page on SSRN or Open Science Repository. Email the link to the instructor for approval by Friday, November 9 at 11:59pm CT.
  2. Interaction with instructor and course colleagues on Basecamp as you work through your manuscript and encounter questions and problems that would benefit from others’ insights.
  3. A cover letter of no more than 1-2 pages addressed to the article’s author(s) explaining the editing work that you have done. It should prepare them to understand the changes you have suggested, and alert them to global/repeated queries that require internal consistency throughout the manuscript. Due Thursday, December 6 at 11:59pm CT.
  4. A stylesheet that you create as you work through the manuscript to ensure its internal consistency. The style sheet should be comprehensible and useful for the author as well as anyone else involved in handling the manuscript through to publication. Be organized, be explicit, and of course, be consistent. Due Thursday, December 6 at 11:59pm CT.
  5. A PDF or Google Doc of your marked-up article. In-text citation should match either the bibliography, author-date, or note style. For example, if the unedited manuscript uses a date-style system, use author-date. Due Thursday, December 6 at 11:59pm CT.
  6. A Google Doc of the article’s first twenty references or notes prepared according to CMS style. Due Thursday, December 6 at 11:59pm CT.
  7. A self-critique memo that evaluates your project and your progress in the class to this point (2-3 paragraphs; submit via email). Your self-critique email should include a Dropbox or Google Drive link to a folder containing all of the deliverables listed above. Due Thursday, December 6 at 11:59pm CT.

Requirements

  • Your chosen article must:
    1. Have at least 4000 words of body copy, including any figure/image captions but NOT including any extended equations or data tables.
    2. Have at least 20 items in the reference list or works cited page, or at least 20 references in footnote or endnote style.
  • Your edited copy must:
    1. Be marked for grammar and usage, with many author queries and suggestions for substantive, global revisions (major cuts, reorganization, etc.)
    2. Have an amended bibliography or list of notes of that follows either the CMS Bibliography or Author-Date Reference-list style, or CMS end note style. While you can mark the bibliography items, you may find it easier to prepare a Google Doc containing a clean, edited reference list or list of notes.

Project Four: TBD (COM 529 Students Only)

Due before Thursday, December 6 at 11:59pm CT

Project Description

Graduate students will work with the instructor to determine a project that presents additional editing challenges and relates in some way to the publishing industry. Project must be established and outlined by Thursday, October 4.