E-Writing and Editing

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					    E-Writing and Editing

           Joanne Jacobs
Brisbane Graduate School of Business
 Queensland University of Technology
              Scope of the Workshop
• How people read multimedia, differences
  between print and electronic media, structuring
  and prioritising
• When to use multimedia, content trends and
  captioning, attracting an audience
• Editorial procedures, proof-reading and quality
• Editing exercises, best practice and
• Dependent on the format of the publication
• Dependent on the penetration of the technology
• General acceptance of the electronic publication
  is subject to significant change over time
• Important to understand the variations of
  electronic writing before considering the
  appropriate format of writing
                  Variations of Interface
• Hard Media
  – Floppy disk
  – CD ROM
  – DVD
• „Soft‟ Media
  – Portable drives
  – Server-oriented network storage
                       Floppy Disk
• 1.44MB capacity
• Useful for text-based information and databases,
  simple models and “front pages” for web
• Cost between 20cents - $1 per disk
• Also “zip” disk format (requiring special
  hardware readers) available, storing up to
  100MB data
• Best for text-based publications (duplicating print
  writing style)
                        CD ROM
• Between 600MB - 750MB data capacity
• Access rates range from single speed
  (150KB/second) to 32 speed (4800KB/second)
• Useful for high multimedia product
• Cost of production has reduced dramatically in
  the last six years, now around $1/disk
• Best for multimedia-enhanced writing. Some
  editing of print based product required.
                   DVD (Digital Video Disk, or Digital Versatile Disk)

•   Minimum 4.7GB capacity (up to 17G)
•   600KBS access rates
•   Ideal for high-multimedia film product
•   High cost of production with a limited market (mainly due
    to hardware constraints)
    – Computers with DVDs are not ideal for watching films
    – DVD Players are internationally subject to zoning constraints
• Best for graphically rich content and multimedia-
  enhanced content. E-writing may require varying levels
  of editing.
                       „Soft‟ Media
• Portable HDDs (still technically „hard media‟) do
  not have content-oriented market for electronic
• Server-based network resources (most
  commonly associated with WWW content) are a
  growth market for e-publishing
• Based on screen-reading. Writing must be
  readable in digital format.
                   Who has access?
• Information technology demography required to
  understand likely target market and genuine
  market research on the penetration of the
  electronic publication required.
• It is insufficient to assume that the writing style
  used for one audience is appropriate for all
             IT Demography (Internet)
• Nielsen Netratings says there are 580 million
  users worldwide (Feb 2003), projected to grow
  to 709.1 million by 2004 (Cyberatlas).
• 4.3 million registered subscribers in Australia as
  at November 2001 (NOIE Current State of Play)
• 51% of all men in Australia have regular internet
  access, and 44% of all women (Source: ABS)
• The average amount of time spent online per
  day is 57 minutes (Source: Media Metrix)
             Changes to Demography
• Since August 1998, the number of households
  with home internet access has more than
• Globally, internet growth rate is slowing, but
  given the statistics for internet growth in 1994
  were >341,000%, there is still high growth
• Increased growth means a much broader
  audience interest base
            Difference in Market Acceptance

• Traditionally, the internet and new technologies
  generally were the playthings of a young, male
  and technologically enthusiastic population
• Since 1998, audiences have been described as
  becoming “decidedly mainstream” (Source: Pew
  Research Centre)
• Internet surfing is increasingly being recognised
  as something you do while you‟re doing
  something else (Eg: watching television,
  listening to music, working)
• Growth in mainstream access to electronic
  publications means that multiple writing styles
  (and possibly multiple access regimes are
  considered in the preparation of an electronic
• E-writing should be cognizant of multitasking as
  a feature of reading online. Content should be
  based on the dig-down approach
• Major reference, Jakob Nielsen‟s UseIt resource,
• Hard media useability is about speed of data access,
  and product longevity (see next week‟s topic). Internet
  useability is about the identification of the lowest
  possible access ratio (for data download) and the
  greatest possible cross-referencing between sites
• Useability is also applicable to site design, cultural
  acceptance and appropriateness of media choice.
            Evaluating e-publications
• Necessary to gauge „hit rate‟ of publications
• Assists in understanding trends in design and
• Allows strategy development to garner audience
  interest/customer service
• Is consistent with Best Practice behaviours in
  the public sector (see later today)
                   Criteria: Hard Media
• Longevity
  – Cost benefit of the publication
  – Reusability
  – Installation, cross-platform accessibility
• Practical use of the medium
• Audience identification
  – Linked to cost-benefit
• Ease of access to complex data such as video
  and audio content
               CD ROM Publications
• Note: CD ROM games and system software are
  *NOT* considered electronic publications
• Greatest market success in CD ROM
  publications rests with educational and business
  application CD ROMs
• Best use of the medium tends to be directory-
                             Criteria: Internet
• Cost of production
• Currency
    – Site revisitation potential
    – Updates, user response
•   Practical use of the medium
•   Audience identification
•   Interactivity/interactive elements
•   Downloads
    – Linked to both medium practicality and audience identification
                     Economic Issues
• Cost benefits
  – Do the production costs outweigh the market
  – Does the rhetoric surrounding internet-oriented
    „cheap‟ market access have credibility?
• Medium longevity
  – Is the medium likely to be superseded in the life of the
• Govt/Industry development funding
  – Are there other advantages for publishing?
                   Distribution Issues
• Hard media
  – Retail contracts (positioning)
  – Pirating
  – Local jurisprudence (censorship, local trade
    protection issues)
  – Public education
• „Soft‟ media
  – Marketing
  – Network integrity (& audience hardware performance)
                         Hybrid texts
• Multi-medium (the original specification for
  „multimedia‟) texts can be productive
  – CD ROM-WWW publication could allow updates for
    content, could provide interface to on-line data, or
    could act as a system checker for „static‟ installed
• Requires maintained investment
                         Value Addition
• It is insufficient simply to offer a digitised version
  of written texts
   – Eg: Project Gutenberg offers digital literature for free
     (value addition)
• Must provide a reason for medium choice
   – Examples: Yellow Pages, EB, Menu selector,
     Business tax information
• Various formats
   – User demand (VoD)
   – Simple form submission (search engines, directories)
   – User response (feedback)
   – Hypertext (user choice for content direction)
   – Customisation (audience interests)
   – User-oriented content contribution (bulletin boards, user site
   – Live fora (chat sites, expert-audience interaction)
• Implementation issues (cost-benefit, defamation, liability)
                          User Response
• Value of
  –   Audience survey, statistical analysis
  –   Changing needs
  –   Community orientation
  –   Customer loyalty
• Implementation
  –   Understandability
  –   Currency
  –   Administration
  –   Cost
               Evolution of e-communication
• Means of communication based on a combination of
  literary and verbal protocols
• Economics theory of knowledge:
   – Information – flow concept.
   – Knowledge – stock concept.
   – Thus e-publications should be regarded as value additions rather
     than mere information archives
• Information extraction (IE) systems
   – Examples:
                       Literacy transformations
•   Primitive symbol systems
•   Complex oral language
•   Early writing
•   Manuscript literacy
•   Print literacy
•   Video literacy
•   Digital/multimedia/hypertext literacy
•   Virtual reality
(From Bruce (1997) Literacy technologies: What stance should we take?
   Journal of Literacy Research, 29 (2), 289-309)
                 Variations of the lexicon

• Business (transactional)
  – Uses email and some instant messaging systems.
    Ends to be more formal than the latter categories but
    this is changing over time
• Chat/Newsgroups/Message lists
  – Beyond social chat, these for a ar being used for
    customer relationship management, support and e-
    commerce cybercommuning
• Blogging
  – Whinge, whinge, whinge, whine, soapbox, blog.
                The Rise of Blogging
• Success of blogging in the „hobbyist‟ arena now
  recognised by business.
• Public sector ideally suited to the phenomenon
  – Moderation?
  – Legal implications
  – Maintenance considerations
• Annotated content useful in the support of
  knowledge management
• Series of tools and formats available
                Blogging tools & formats
• Tools
  –   Movable Type
  –   Grey Matter
  –   Other tools (open source code)
• Formats
  – Personal journal (
  – Annotated links (
  – Notebook-style editorial (most news media)
             Advantages/disadvantages of
             new lexicon for e-publications
• Dedicated „style‟ means that the integrity of
  existing communications styles will remain
• New lexicon is unlikely to dramatically influence
  literacy skills among our young people (contrary
  to popular scare-mongering)
• The nature of the technologies is that change in
  style occurs rapidly and often, thus it is difficult
  to pinpoint a specific e-writing style or lexicon for
  any given period of time
                                                   Reading Online
excerpted from E-Writing: 21st-Century Tools for Effective Communication [Pocket Books]

    Strive For a Style Somewhere Between Stuffed-Shirt Writing and T-Shirt Writing:
    Just as the business casual dress code has some people stumped, so has the business
    causal writing style. Some writers confuse the screen for a t-shirt slogan.
    Avoid Knee-Jerk Responses: E-mail's greatest benefit can also be its greatest
    drawback: speed. We open. We read. We reply. Then we think-or don't, as the case may
    If You Don't Have Something To Say, Don't Say It: On the street, when someone you
    know speaks to you, etiquette requires that you return the greeting. Not so with e-mail.
    Check It, But Don't Be Chained To It: Instead of being constantly distracted, let the e-
    mails pile up and check them only once or twice a day.
    Use The "So What?" Prompt To Turn Information into Communication: Imagine
    your reader asking, "So what?" Then add the answer: Draw conclusions. State the
    action you want.
    Avoid Stream-Of-Consciousness Rambling: Just as the penny is the basis for our
    monetary system, the sentence is our basic unit of thought. If your e-mail wasn't all that
    interesting to read the first time, imagine forcing people to slog through it a second time
    to catch your meaning.
Tune into the Tone of Directives: Brief is good. Blunt is not.
Guard Against A Trigger-Happy 'Send' Finger: As a safety measure, don't enter the
recipient's e-mail address until you have the e-mail ready to go-with all attachments.
Then if your trigger finger goes off, your e-mail is still safely in your hands.
Make Sure "Anytime, Anywhere" Doesn't Mean "No Time, Nowhere": Many
organizations advertise that they're available anytime anywhere. But the reality is that
that expectation disappoints all too often. Email goes unanswered for days and weeks.
Know When To Phone Instead of Writing E-Mail or Letters: People are typically less
guarded when speaking than writing. Choose according to your purpose.
Be Wary of Humor or Sarcasm: Comedy writers earn big bucks. Either make sure your
humor works or don't try it.
Understand Your Liability for Personal E-Mails on Company Systems: Inexpensive
software packages can scan up to 50,000 e-mails an hour for objectionable words (unfair,
performance review, copyright, breast, resume, angry) and forward those messages to a
designated person. Consider that your e-mail may be retrieved for any number of things
that keep people awake at night.

SOURCE: Dianna   Booher, Top 10 Tips for E-Writing
               Structuring and Prioritising
• Navigation through and around e-writing is vital
   – Appropriate use of the technology
   – Readability
   – Traffic management (bandwidth considerations in and
     out of pages of a site)
      • Slashdot and the war
      • Trackback facilities on blogs
• Prioritising information within content should
  mimic journalistic „inverted pyramid‟ structure
Break for Morning Tea

 Please return by 11:00am
                      Content trends
• Broadcast-style copy
  – Less is more
  – Conversational
  – Camera-ready copy
• Content segmentation
  – Navigation by topic and then across/through topics
    through hypertext links
• Style of content delivery dependent on the
  transactional or content-driven aspects of the
                Static Versus Interactive
• In hard media productions, „static‟ written
  content needs to have longevity
   – Consideration for printing from hard media
   – Searchable indexes
   – Hybrid media updates for content?
• Internet based (dynamically interactive) copy
  needs to be updated and adequately archived
   – No necessity for printing (consideration still worthy)
   – Searchable indexes
   – Long term storage and replacement issues
                Evolution of Websites
• Level 1: Information publishing
• Level 2: Transaction based systems
• Level 3: Mass customisation

Copy must reflect the functionality of the site.
Content Versus
• Breaking up content is crucial to draw the eye,
  without distracting
• Captions should contextualise content, not
  repeat content
• Cascading style sheets and captioning
  – Don‟t use font changes
  – Use „built-in‟ font styles
  – Use CSS tools to create consistency (also easier for
    maintenance purposes)
                 Attracting an audience
                    (internet content)
• Register websites
    – Google
• Webrings and portals
• Mailing lists and discussion groups
• Promotional literature MUST include addresses
• Providing short/long-term community services
  and events
• Responding to queries
• Linking to appropriate industry partners
• Spam lists/groups
• Talk about a revolution
  – Multimedia isn‟t new
  – Internal discussions and constant promotion of new
    media copy reduces its effect
• Become notorious as a “hanging judge” editor
  for written copy
• Fail to archive content
• Install search mechanisms and tools that are
 Break for Lunch

Please return by 1:30pm
                    Editorial procedures
• Copy writing
• Copy review:
    – Proof reading
    – Formatting (typesetting)
    – Copy editing
•   Captioning and headline writing
•   Formatting and layout
•   House styles (images, fonts and language)
•   Going live, responding to feedback, following up
                       Proof reading
• The responsibility for finding errors during
  typesetting or formatting
• Basic proofreading
   – Check copy against a marked-up draft
• Editorial proofreading
   – Check for errors in word usage
   – Grammar correction and inappropriate punctuation
   – Completed on a „finished‟ product
                              Copy editing
• Light
   – Picks up from proof reading and checks grammar rules
• Medium
   – Adds consideration of house style
• Heavy
   – Alters text to improve flow and to enforce uniformity of
     expression, tone and focus
• Global
   – Frames content in terms of international cultural contexts
       • Faux pas (, Language & Advertising)
   – Considers international publishing issues (legal and language)
                     Language and Advertising
•   The original ad slogan that the Swedes packaged for their Electrolux vacuum cleaner
    was "Nothing Sucks Like Electrolux!"
•   In Seoul, South Korea, the government received so many complaints about taxi
    drivers that it had to set up a telephone hotline for passenger who encountered
    rudeness or dangerous driving. To advise customers of this service, a sign was
    posted on the inside rear door notifying English-speaking passengers of the
    availability of an "Intercourse Discomfort Report Center."
•   We chuckle at such clumsy translations, yet we don't realize how equally susceptible
    are we English speakers and writers. Despite endless boardroom cogitation, many a
    multi-national corporation has ended up with its brand name or slogan on its face.
    Global slip-ups remind us that few words and idioms can be literally translated.
•   More than others, the automobile industry seems to be prone to linguistic accidents.
    The classic story of vehicular misnaming is associated with General Motors. As the
    literal translation of the Nova to Spanish means "star," why then, GM wanted to know
    were Hispanic Chevrolet dealerships so unaccommodating to this model? That's
    because when spoken aloud, Nova sounds like no va -- which means "It doesn't go."
    GM changed the name to Caribe.
•   Ford Motor Company's Caliente turned out to mean "streetwalker" in Mexico. Ford
    came up with a second flat tire in Japan, where Cortina translated as "jalopy." The
    company discovered that a truck model it called Fiera means "ugly old woman" in
    Spanish. As if this was not enough, it turns out that Pinto is a slang term meaning
    "small mail appendage."
•   Even the luxurious Rolls Royce company found out the hard way that in German,
    Silver Mist means "human waste."
•   Here are a dozen more classic cross-border marketing misfortunes:
•   The colas of the world have been shaken up explosively by mistranslation. When
    Pepsi-Cola invaded the huge Chinese and German markets, the effort initially fizzled.
    The product's slogan, "Come alive with the Pepsi generation," was rendered (or
    should I say rent?) into Chinese as "Pepsi brings back your dead ancestors" and into
    German as "Come out of the grave with Pepsi."
•   Coca-Cola also discovered in Taiwan that the Chinese characters chosen to sound
    like its name mean "Bite the Wax Tadpole." Fresca's brand name fizzled in Mexico,
    where its name turned out to be slang for "lesbian."
•   Perdue Chicken's slogan "It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken" read, in
    Spanish, "It takes a sexually stimulated man to make a chicken affectionate."
•   Braniff Air Lines, promoting its comfortable leather seats, used the headline "Sentado
    en cuero," which was interpreted as "Sit naked."
•   A beer company slogan "Turn it loose" became in Spanish, equivalent to "Suffer from
•   3M translated its Scotch tape slogan, "Sticks like crazy," into Japanese and came up
    with a sticky problem. The slogan translated literally into Japanese as "It sticks
•   The Kellogg Company encountered a problem when it introduced its Bran Buds to
    Sweden. The name translates loosely into Swedish as "Burnt Farmer."
•   Vicks had to change its product name to Wicks before entering the German market
    when it was discovered that Vicks sounded like a German expletive.
•   Colgate Palmolive had to discard Cue as the name for its toothpaste in France. Cue
    is the name of a widely circulated French pornographic magazine.
•   Even the wrong nonverbal cue can wreak havoc with a product's reception in a far-off
•   Gerber Baby Food initially packaged their African product just the same as in the U.S.
    -- with a cute baby picture on the jar. They didn't realize that because so many
    Africans cannot read, nearly all packaged products sold in Africa carry pictures of
    what is inside. Pureed baby -- horrors!
•   Muslims in Bangladesh rioted and ransacked Thom McAnn stores when they mistook
    company's logo on some sandals for the Arabic letters for Allah. One person was
    killed and 50 people were injured before the melee ended.
                  Copy Editing Rules
• Challenge the copy:
  – Be sceptical about figures, words and reference
  – Ensure consistency of style throughout a site or
    media production (language, formatting, house style)
  – Double entendre
  – Editorialising (ensure it doesn‟t occur except where
• Check references
• Change where necessary (only where
                   Copy Editing Resources
• Style Manuals
   – Microsoft Manual of Style
   – American Psychological Association Style Guide
   – AGPS Style Manual
• HTML Writers Guild
• Columbia Guide to Online Citation
• Editing for the Web
• E-Write Online
• Jakob Nielsen‟s „How Users Read on the Web‟
                           Quality control
• Global editing and cultural sensitivities
• Distinct roles for proof-readers and copy editors crucial
  to avoid errors of judgement
• Feedback systems should be in place with rapid-
  response correction capacity (ie: provide write access to
  the worker charged with responding to feedback)
• Peer review processes
• Character sets and resources for obscure characters
Break for Afternoon Tea

   Please return by 3:30pm
                         Best practice
•   Codes of practice
•   Industry associations (HTML Writers Guild)
•   Reviewing and monitoring
•   Knowledge management rules
    – Six tenets of KM
• Resources:
    – NOIE Documentation
    – AIMIA
    – IIA Code
• Frequency of updates and maintenance dependent on
• House style will also need editing (CSS style sheets)
  more frequently
• Archives need to be maintained on a regular basis
   – advanced KM and annotation systems may need to be employed
     for longer documents
• Feedback and maintenance roles for e-media editors
   – Write access
   – Call centres and control of electronic interface
   – Testimonials and guarantees
                      Volunteer editing
• Advantages
  – Reduces load on paid staff
  – Provides an outlet for students/retired copy editors to
    exercise skills
• Disadvantages
  – Coordination
  – Skill level of volunteers
  – Duplication of editing
• Call for volunteers usually produces good results
  – Case Study: On Line Opinion
Group work and exercises

    Reporting back at 4pm
         Any questions?

         Contact Joanne Jacobs at:
Phone: (07) 3864 2065 Fax: (07) 3864 1299
          Mobile: 0419 131 077

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