Editing in a Digital Environment — ACES2015

Editing in a Digital Environment — ACES2015

cover slide from digital process aces 2015

Slide Set and Handout

Download the two-page PDF handout of best practices for digital workflow.

**slides to come**


Digital: any use of computer technology

Workflow: the sequence of processes through which a piece of work passes from initiation to completion

Digital Environment: computers are not just a tool to help with workflow, but the platform upon which all processes occur—and the product itself

wordle art of digital product names

Why You Should Know

You need an idea of systems that make a [car] work if you’re going to be a good [car] user. Even if you don’t [put in the oil] yourself, if you don’t know it needs to happen or how your use/actions affect that need, disaster is pending.

timeline of the paradigm shifts that got us comfortable with the digital environment
These are the changes in our everyday lives — paradigm shifts — that got us comfortable with onscreen content and digital processes, according to Rachel Stuckey. The names are just examples of the *kinds* of changes.


What to do with an edited Word file

or… how to clean up an edited Word file for transmittal to the designer/ production

How to Mark Up Corrections on a PDF

Instructional series starting with the basics.


“Don’t ditch the system when things get tight.”
—Steve Dunham, Editors’ Companion


digital workflow shown as chunked, messy, recursive, and collapsed



Best Practices

  • Understand what can’t vary in the workflow (e.g., no proofreading before layout)
  • Start with the end in mind (i.e., medium, user, and purpose)
  • Digital first
  • Open the files
  • Know when to stop tinkering — set limits
  • Set up file management systems — manual or automatic (including naming protocols)
  • Address/ mitigate pitfalls of “synced” files like Dropbox
  • Backup redundantly
  • Educate and orient the team to the tools, your workflow and expected processes (each time)
    • define roles and tasks, stages
  • Communicate changes with compositor’s needs in mind
    • how will they input changes and verify accuracy?
    • video recordings and chat may increase understanding
    • visual specialists may communicate better with visuals (e.g., PDF markup)
    • feedback grids/ lists of changes may be best when editing database-driven content
    • provide coaching re markup (e.g., proofreader’s symbols, how to use Track Changes)
  • Rethink the forest vs. trees (be alert to system-wide problems and limitations)
  • Adhere to systems and processes (deviating opens potholes such as getting the wrong cover on a book)
  • Use the right software for the job (especially layout and coding: InDesign, XML editors)
  • Use the mark-up and commenting tools (not in-line comments and jury-rigged methods)
  • QC in the final output medium (such as the courseware, printed page, or video game)
  • Software and computer up to date and secure from viruses


Classic (pre-digital) Workflow

arrow showing order of steps classic workflow producing publications


Presented at the ACES conference in Pittsburgh, PA, March 26, 2015. With Rachel Stuckey @RachelStuckey

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