Project One: Basic Marking and Copyediting

Due by Sunday, February 16, 2020

Project Description

You will choose a Wikipedia article from a list of articles identified in November 2019 or December 2019 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.

Project Goals

  • Learn to create markable copy from web pages.
  • Learn to edit copy with a non-specialist audience in mind.
  • Mark copy using best digital practices 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 and Deadlines

  1. Due by Thursday, January 23: 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. Your email must include:
    • The URL to your chosen Wikipedia article marked as needing copyedits.
    • The Google Drive share link to your copyediting-ready but unmarked Google Doc.
  2. Due by Sunday, February 16: An email to the instructor containing the project’s final deliverables. Be sure to include:
    • The Google Drive share link to your copyedited Google Doc.
    • The Google Drive share link to your style sheet derived from problems and inconsistencies in the article.
    • A 4-5 sentence self-critique memo, written in the body of the email itself, discussing your project and your progress in class to this point

Project Requirements

  1. Your chosen article must have running copy (not counting captions or tables) of approximately 1000-2000 words; copy and paste the main text into Google Docs to get a rough word count
  2. Your chosen article should also be primarily paragraph-like narrative content.
  3. Your marked article should reflect best practices in digital marking as outlined in The Copyeditor’s Handbook.
  4. Your copyedits should be compliant with with the Wikipedia Manual of Style. Matters not covered in the Wikipedia Manual of Style should defer to the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed.

Project Two: Copyediting Technical Material

Due by Thursday, April 2, 2020

Project Description

Self-selected groups of three or four 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 and Deadlines

  1. Due by Monday, February 24: An email to the instructor listing your team members (groups of 3–4 students). The instructor will assign your group an open-source software project. Use Basecamp to organize yourselves into teams.
  2. Due by Monday, March 23: A Basecamp post on a thread that you and your team create containing your draft project. The post should include specific questions you’d like feedback on from the instructor. Be sure to provide in the body of your post share links that point to:
    • A content audit of all of a project’s technical manual pages, and its accompanying website. Present this as a spreadsheet that lists URLs, page titles, and a one-sentence content summary.
    • Approximately 2500 edited words of a project’s technical manual
    • Approximately 1500 edited 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.
  3. Due by Thursday, April 2: An email to the instructor containing the project’s final deliverables. Include Google Drive share links to all of the following deliverables, or better yet, a single Google Drive share link pointing to an organized folder containing all of the deliverables. The required memos can be written right in the body of your email, however be sure to include links to:
    • A content audit of all of a project’s technical manual pages, and its accompanying website. Present this as a spreadsheet that lists URLs, page titles, and a one-sentence content summary.
    • Approximately 2500 edited words of a project’s technical manual
    • Approximately 1500 edited 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.
    • A 5–7 sentence self-critique memo of your project and your progress in class to this point
    • A short memo containing a 4–5 sentence critique for each of your group members

Project Three: Copyediting for Academic Publication

Due by Thursday, May 7, 2020

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 the following 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 Working Paper Series list for the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) . 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 list of Papers Open to Review.
  3. With instructor permission, you can copyedit the in-progress pre-publication work of an IIT faculty member or graduate student.

You will find almost all of the research-repository papers are presented as PDFs. You will have to clean up the PDF and present it as a Google Doc for digital markup.

Undergraduate students are responsible for editing the first 2000 words of the manuscript and the first 20 entries of its bibliography/reference list or the first 20 note references, depending on the citation style the paper uses. (Graduate students must edit the entire article, and prepare the entire reference list in an appropriate Chicago format.) 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 matters
  • 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 and Deadlines

  1. Due by Monday, April 6: Email the instructor with your proposed article for approval. The email must include the URL to your chosen article’s download page on SSRN or Open Science Repository, or a Google Drive link to an IIT faculty or graduate-student’s paper, if you’ve opted to go that route.
  2. Due by Monday, April 13: Email the instructor with the link to your approved article as a Google Doc. Most of the articles you will find will be presented as PDFs. You will need to rescue the copy from the PDF and present it as editing-friendly copy in a Google Doc. You might wish to share a link to a folder, as that will be the form of your final deliverables for this project.
  3. Due by Thursday, May 7: Email the instructor with your final project deliverables. Include a Google Drive share link pointing to an organized folder containing all of the final deliverables:
    • A cover letter of no more than one page addressed to the article’s author(s) explaining the editing work that you have done. The letter should prepare the authors to understand the changes you have suggested, and alert them to global/repeated queries that require internal consistency throughout the manuscript.
    • 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.
    • A Google Doc of your marked-up article. In-text citation should match either the Chicago Manual of Style’s bibliography, author-date, or note style. For example, if the unedited manuscript uses a date-style system, use CMS author-date style.
    • A self-critique memo of 2-3 paragraphs that evaluates your project and your progress in the class this semester. You can write this in the body of your email.

Project Requirements

  1. Your chosen article must have at least 4000 words of body copy, excluding any figure or image captions, extended equations, or data tables. Undergraduate students will mark the first 2000 words; graduate students must mark the entire article.
  2. Additionally, your chosen article must contain at least 20 items in a reference list or works cited page, or present at least 20 references in footnote or endnote style (graduate students must prepare the entire reference list of their chosen articles).
  3. Interact with the instructor and your course colleagues on Basecamp. Post frequently as you work through your manuscript and encounter questions and tricky problems that would be better solved by seeking others’ insights.
  4. Mark your article for grammar and usage. Frequently query the author with questions or substantive suggestions.
  5. While you can mark the bibliography items alongside the original working copy, for the purpose’s of this assignment you might find it easier to prepare a Google Doc containing a clean, edited reference list or list of notes in CMS style.
  6. Your cover letter should mention any recurring issues the author might want to pay special attention to. Mention also any suggestions for substantive, global revisions (major cuts, reorganization, etc.) if they are needed.