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 



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