Tracking Changes on the Copyediting Front

Laptop with editing icon on screen
Image derived from public-domain images via Pixabay

A couple months ago, we were invited to test a new copyediting layer Scalar is building for its platform. As a fellow Mellon awardee and only one of a few presses publishing content built in Scalar, SUP was a clear candidate for playing with and trying out the new feature and offering feedback and bug reports. Ever since I heard nearly two years ago that this idea was on their minds, I’ve been eager to get the chance to try it out, so I was very happy when the invitation came while talking with one of the project Co-PIs at the DH conference in June. We’ve been fortunate to work fairly closely with the platform’s development team when we’ve had questions for the Scalar projects in our pipeline, so this latest collaboration was a chance for us to offer a little in return for all the attention they’ve put into our initiative over the past couple years. Our most recent publication, When Melodies Gather, is a Scalar project, and the development team was invaluable in fine-tuning the links and interactive elements during the migration process.

Our friends at UBC Press and University of Washington Press, who have partnered with ANVC for their Mellon-funded Indigenous Studies digital publishing initiative, are also testing the new editorial features of the platform on their own digital publications in progress, and we’re looking forward to sharing our experiences.

We’ll wait to post further details about our own use of these exciting new tools until there’s more release info to share from ANVC’s Scalar project team. But for now we’ll just say how excited we are that we’ll be able to copyedit projects in a more centralized way. Our process for Melodies, which pre-dated the development of the built-in copyediting features, was in the end pretty efficient and effective, but it did require a lot of external tracking and a copyeditor who was comfortable with online text editing and html. We were fortunate to find just the right person who was able to not just dive into the platform but also to make sense of the 1500-line tracking spreadsheet I set up to document each edit. As with anything digital, we’ll still want to make sure a copyeditor working directly inside the platform is comfortable with the interface, but with the new streamlined tools Scalar has put together, it should make our job and the copyeditor’s job much simpler.

We’re glad to have been included in the testing of this exciting new feature, and we’re looking forward to more updates and putting it to good use on our next Scalar project.

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