Meet the Instructor – Ruth Bradley-St-Cyr for Academic Editing

Ruth at the redneck wedding

Ruth Bradley-St-Cyr has worked in Canadian publishing for 27 years, most recently as Director of University of Ottawa Press and Managing Editor of the Canadian Journal of Development Studies. She received her PhD in English/Canadian Studies in 2014 from the University of Ottawa where she teaches essay writing to first-year students. She also runs her own writing, editing, and translation business and chairs the Ottawa–Gatineau branch of Editors Canada.

She is presently editing a special section for the Journal of Scholarly Publishing on the future of university presses in Canada and expanding her thesis, The Downfall of the Ryerson Press, into a book about the impact of the sale of the Press on Canadian cultural policy.

Ruth has a quirky sense of humour, as you can see in the articles she has posted on the branch’s blog: “Ways to be More Productive,” “What’s on your Bulletin Board?” and “Time Management: or, Tricking Yourself into Working at Home.”

In the publish or perish world of academia, knowing how to edit academic writing, either your own or a client’s, provides a huge advantage. Accordingly, Academic Editing is designed for academics, academics in training, and those who edit them. The course takes you from peer review (a form of developmental editing) to proofreading, with a special stop at editing references and bibliographies. This seminar is specifically geared to disciplines in the Social Sciences and Humanities.

She’ll be offering this morning seminar on Thursday, Feb 11, 2016. To sign up, go to https://www.gifttool.com/registrar/ShowEventDetails?ID=29&EID=20352. Registration closes on February 5, 2016.

START THE YEAR WITH ADVICE FROM THE SAGES – PART 3 BY TOM VRADENBURG

Speed mentoring is officially full. The January speaker night for Editors Ottawa–Gatineau has been fully subscribed in advance.

If you have not received a message from Speaker Nights Chair Tom Vradenburg with a schedule enclosed, you cannot be assured an opportunity to seek mentoring from the Sages.

Given the surprising enthusiasm for this event, Editors Ottawa–Gatineau will consider holding another fairly soon. Thanks for your interest and support!

When: Wednesday, January 20, 6:30 pm

Where: Good Companions Seniors Centre, 670 Albert Street (at Empress)

Free for members, $10 for non-members

Parking: Just behind the building, off Empress Avenue.

Dealing With Difficult People — Editors’ Version by Kaarina Stiff

 

Editing is about clarity, consistency and the mechanics of grammar, but it is also about the relationships that editors have with those being edited. As much as editors need to have expertise in matters of punctuation, we also need strong people skills to navigate the murky world of helping people communicate better.

“Editors … should demonstrate initiative and flexibility, being able to adapt to the needs of the project and the specific work environment, and they need to communicate clearly and tactfully and to respect the opinions of others.” EAC Professional Editorial Standards, The Fundamentals of Editing.

In the best of worlds, editors and writers have a symbiotic relationship where the editor intuitively knows what the writer meant, and the writer is thrilled to accept all of their editor’s suggestions. This can actually happen in real life, and it’s pure bliss when it does. Just as often, though, editors work with people—clients, co-workers, even supervisors—who are less eager to receive our advice. What should an editor do when someone insists, “No, you’re wrong—I learned it that way in school,” or, “I don’t care if you think it’s wrong, I think it sounds better that way”? Here are five strategies to deal with difficult people in your editorial world.

Pick your battles

Not every comma splice is worth fighting over, even if you’re right. Save your energy for the errors that really matter—instructions that could be misunderstood, sentences with double meanings, or other missteps that have real consequences.

Choose your timing

We don’t always have the luxury of time, but calling out a colleague (or boss) in a public place is rarely a good idea. Try to catch them one on one, when you have enough time to describe what you have noted, and how you propose to fix it. You don’t need half an hour, but do let them make their way to the washroom and back before you raise the issue.

Be prepared to explain yourself

As editors, we must always have a reason for changing something. Be ready to explain your recommendation, with specifics. Don’t just say, “That’s the rule.” Instead, try, “Even though both spellings are in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, our style guide calls for always using the first choice.” When you can describe the problem, people are more likely to be persuaded.

Keep it professional

As frustrating as it can be when colleagues sprinkle extra commas everywhere, it is critical to maintain your composure. Even though yelling, “Didn’t you learn this in grade school!” might be satisfying for a brief moment, it will only hurt your credibility down the line. Establish yourself as the consummate professional, and you’re more likely win people over in the long run.

Know when to let go

Even if you’re right, and even if there are consequences if people ignore your sage advice, there comes a time in every editor’s life when you have to let go. If you have tried all manner of tact and diplomacy—complete with citations and concrete evidence of impending doom should your words go unheeded—and your colleagues still don’t wish to listen, your work is done. Make a note of the advice given (and the response received) and move on. If your predictions come to pass, make a note of that too, so that you can gently use it as an example later on.

Do you have a tried and true trick for dealing with difficult people in your editorial life? Share in the comments below!

Kaarina is a freelance writer and editor, and is currently serving as Secretary on the Editors Ottawa-Gatineau Executive. She loves words, hockey, and trying to make sense of the 1980s.

A Good Bunch

Cheers to all who came out to the EAC-NCR’s Wine & Cheese!

EAC National Capital Region’s annual Wine & Cheese reception: Be sure to RSVP 

The Howells, long since recovered from their adventures on Gilligan’s Island, have been invited. And so are you.

Brush up on your wine and cheese trivia: Thurston knows his Chateaux, and Lovey knows her cheese!

Enjoy some word games, or just hang out with the Smart Set. Pearls and ascots optional.

Wednesday, November 19 at 7:30 pm

Capital Hill Hotel & Suites

88 Albert Street, Ottawa

Admission: $10 · RSVP ASAP

October Speaker Night – New Technologies: Automated Perfection

Don’t miss Elizabeth Macfie this Wednesday, October 15, at 7:30 pm!

Continuing on our new-technology theme, October’s speaker night will feature a new application that can help us be more efficient at traditional editing tasks.

Elizabeth Macfie will demonstrate PerfectIt, a new application that automates many of our most mundane consistency checks—it’s search and replace on steroids. Watch live as PerfectIt crunches through manuscripts, chewing up capitalization, spelling and punctuation inconsistencies in its path. Learn how software is doing more of our editorial heavy lifting, liberating us for higher-level work only humans can do—for now.

perfectit-presentn

When: Wednesday, October 15, 7:30 pm
Where: Capital Hill Hotel & Suites, 88 Albert Street
Free for members, $10 for non-members

Speaker Night Recap: Magic Tricks and Reference Management

By Jean Rath

When I was in high school in the 70s, I collected references by jotting their details down on index cards. I then used the information to carefully write out my bibliographies according to my teachers’ instructions. This was tedious, but the bibliography instructions were clear. If I got it right, I got better marks. I never dreamed of a day when all of that could be magically done for me. At the September Speaker Night, Carolyn Brown showed us that magic.

Reference management software has been around for fifteen years or so. It’s a tool that allows researchers to collect, manage, and insert information into documents in the preferred style. My inner teenager was most impressed, considering those meticulously written bibliographies. With this software, a reference inserted into a text will automatically update the bibliography. Carolyn also demonstrated how, with one click, an entire bibliography could be restyled.The reaction of Speaker Night attendees was the same as if she’d pulled a rabbit out of her hat.

The shades of my handwritten index card lists were also rattling around my head as I watched Carolyn demonstrate the ease with which she could build up her database of citations. When she found a useful journal article, she sent the metadata to a folder in her software with one click. She cautioned that it was important to proofread the text, since there may be errors in the downloaded data.

Carolyn focused on two software products: EndNote and Mendeley. EndNote has become an industry leader; it’s compatible with MS Word and has its own ribbon. The reference library on the computer syncs with the version on the Web, and can be shared—although Carolyn cautioned that she finds the online interface a bit clunky. Many of the hundreds of reference styles in the industry are available on EndNote, allowing for “magical” automatic changes in style. By contrast, Mendeley is free. It uses different terms than EndNote, but the way it works is similar. It has one feature not found in EndNote: when a PDF is dragged and dropped into Mendeley, the software will read and record the metadata.

Word also has a reference management feature, but it is only capable of the basics. Carolyn doesn’t recommend it for anything bigger than a university essay. She further advised that when choosing reference management software, it’s important to know which reference style will be used, and which databases the information will be extracted from.

Reference management software may look like magic, but in fact it’s a usable tool for editors. There is an overwhelming amount of information out there, and Carolyn’s talk provided a comforting peek into the ways that writers and researchers can constrain all that data into something useful.

hot topic: Carolyn Brown will talk reference management software at this month’s speaker night

The major theme at the national conference in Toronto this June was new technologies — some that are changing the nature of what we work on, some that help us be more efficient at tasks we’ve always done.

Carolyn Brown will help us carry that theme forward into EAC’s fall season in Ottawa with a presentation on reference management software — EndNote and Mendeley. Learn how these applications can help you manage references, style them, and add them to documents. The best part? It can all be done automatically.

Coffee, tea and light refreshments will be served.

When: Wednesday, September 17, 7:30 pm
Where: Capital Hill Hotel & Suites, 88 Albert Street
How Much: Free for members, $10 for non-members

Now Available: On-Site Seminars from the EAC-NCR

The National Capital Region branch is proud to be introducing some dynamic new seminars this fall to add to its roster of old favourites. All seminars are designed for editors, but equally appeal to a variety of other communication specialists wishing to upgrade their skills. The NCR branch has built its reputation as a trusted source of quality training; its instructors are seasoned editors whose workshops engage participants through discussion and hands-on exercises and equip them with invaluable communication skills.

Writing and Editing for the Web is the first of the new seminars this fall. It has been developed by Moira White, whose many workshops have been an integral part of the NCR branch’s professional development program over the past several years.

Frances Peck, in demand for her seminars at EAC branches across Canada, is bringing her popular Grammar Boot Camp to Ottawa for the first time. We recommend that you register early if you don’t want to miss out on this extreme workout.

The last of our three new workshops this fall will be given by instructor Chris Lendrum. Some of you may remember Chris from one of our Speaker Nights last winter. We were so impressed that we decided to approach him about delivering a half-day seminar to share his knowledge on Writing Proposals.

The full lineup of fall seminars is listed below. Simply click on the link for a full description of those that interest you.

Writing and Editing for the Web – September 23 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)
Starting a Freelance Career – October 4 (9 a.m.–12 p.m.)
Social Media 101 – October 4 (1–4 p.m.)
Grammar Boot Camp – October 23 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)
The Secrets of Syntax – October 24 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)
Writing Proposals – November 6 (9 a.m.–12 p.m.)
Practical Proofreading – November 18 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)

This year, the National Capital Region branch is offering more opportunities for government departments and businesses to take advantage of instruction while keeping their employees on-site. Instructors come to the workplace to teach the seminars, which can be tailored to meet client needs. In some cases, a full-day seminar can be condensed to a half-day. These learning opportunities used to be offered upon request, whereas now they are officially available and the information on half- and full-day seminars is published on the branch’s website.

In addition to the seminars available at the Capital Hill Hotel and Suites, communication officials can also choose from Fundamentals of Technical Writing, Writing Strategic Briefing Notes, and Advanced Writing Style Techniques.

These in-house seminars are an excellent business opportunity for the branch. Word has already spread and, by early August, the branch had received its first in-house seminar request.

New Workshops Add to Old Favourites

The National Capital Region branch is proud to be introducing some dynamic new seminars this fall to add to its roster of old favourites. All seminars are designed for editors, but equally appeal to a variety of other communication specialists wishing to upgrade their skills. The NCR branch has built its reputation as a trusted source of quality training; its instructors are seasoned editors whose workshops engage participants through discussion and hands-on exercises and equip them with invaluable communication skills.

Writing and Editing for the Web is the first of the new seminars this fall. It has been developed by Moira White, whose many workshops have been an integral part of the NCR branch’s professional development program over the past several years.

Frances Peck, in demand for her seminars at EAC branches across Canada, is bringing her popular Grammar Boot Camp to Ottawa for the first time. We recommend that you register early if you don’t want to miss out on this extreme workout.

The last of our three new workshops this fall will be given by instructor Chris Lendrum. Some of you may remember Chris from one of our Speaker Nights last winter. We were so impressed that we decided to approach him about delivering a half-day seminar to share his knowledge on Writing Proposals.

The full lineup of fall seminars is listed below. Simply click on the link for a full description of those that interest you.

• Writing and Editing for the Web – September 23 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)
• Starting a Freelance Career – October 4 (9 a.m.–12 p.m.)
• Social Media 101 – October 4 (1–4 p.m.)
• Grammar Boot Camp – October 23 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)
• The Secrets of Syntax – October 24 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)
• Writing Proposals – November 6 (9 a.m.–12 p.m.)
• Practical Proofreading – November 18 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)