In publishing terms (old style, pre-PC), the final proofing had to be done by the author, but this used to be done jointly in three stages, first the galleys, second, the page proofs and finally the index. The typesetter also proofed all the copy and of course, the copy editors did their bit. If there was a disagreement, then only dedicated correspondence (snail mail) could solve the problem. The psychology was different as the tempo was slow.
An example which comes to mind was the name "Hermann" which appeared in my text. The copyeditor took out the second "n" and I restored it. The typesetter then took out the second "n" again for the page proofs, and I once again restored it, this time providing documentary proof of the correct spelling. Thus everyone in the chain has a primary responsibility of proofreading but the author must have the final say. Author burn-out was not a problem as there was usually a fairly long period between submission and galleys and then another, shorter period between galleys and page proofs. The author would be quite keen to get back to work and check everything. As an academic author in the desktop world, I find that proofing has become sloppy with many refereed journals having many typos, as sometimes (mostly?) the galley and page proof stages are bypassed with everyone relying on spellcheckers and little else. As I read a lot of history in eighteenth and nineteenth century editions I am full of admiration for the work done then and the obvious care which all parties took in their respective responsibilities. The fantastic technology which we now have at our disposal has not been accompanied by that commitment from all parties to do their bit. More authors will probably try to go it on their own. Sad. Robert C.-H. Shell Extraordinary Professor of Historical Demography UWC Courier address: Room 3,23 Statistics department New Science Building University of Western Cape Modderdam Road Bellville 7535 Western Cape Republic of South Africa Robert C.-H. Shell Extraordinary Professor of Historical Demography UWC Courier address: Room 3,23 Statistics department New Science Building University of Western Cape Modderdam Road Bellville 7535 Western Cape Republic of South Africa Airmail address: Prof. Robert C.-H. Shell Room 3,23 Statistics department New Science Building Private Bag X17 Bellville Western Cape 7535 Republic of South Africa E-mail addresses: rshell at uwc.ac.za rshell at iafrica.com Fax: 950-2909