Pietsch on Editing Wallace

We’d agreed early on that my role was to dfwshelfsubject every section of the book to the brutal question: Can the book possibly live without this?
Michael Pietsch on editing DFW’s Infinite Jest.
From Infinite Summer, a 2009 project in collaborative study and reading of IJ.
Bonus: a conversation in Slate between Pietsch and novelist Donna Tartt.

Flickr and the Commons


Foxtographer by Megan Lorenz

Flickr was once one of the best places on the internet to find new Creative Commons-licensed photography, but since its takeover by Yahoo!, it is harder to search and to collect attribution for Commons-licensed content. (See this BoingBoing post for more info on how Flickr is broken in this respect.) The “Explore–>the Commons” tab seems to only search public domain images, or resources from institutions or organizations, neither of which are usually properly marked with a useful license type. The bookmarklet in this post from Digital Inspiration does a good job of making attribution easier, and Cory at BoingBoing has an update to another bookmarklet as well, although I haven’t gotten it to work yet. Librarian By Day has a helpful Flickr/CC attribution guide. (NB I have not always properly attributed here, but I’m at least beginning to learn how to!)

Image by Megan Lorenz (Flickr stream) via the Toronto Star.

Maps in the Public Domain

SF Bay 1847

Bosqui Print Co.’s Bird’s-eye map of San Francisco in 1847. Image from bigmapblog.

The very useful Public Domain Sherpa has both a post on how to tell if a map is in the public domain and a list of sources for public domain maps.

Wikipedia also maintains a list of public domain map resources. If you need to do a great deal of map data work, another good resource to consider is Natural Earth, whose maps include integrated vector and raster data.

And if you’re looking for spectacular antique map images, Geographicus Rare Antique Maps has donated 2,000 rare maps to the Wikimedia Commons (description and links at the Public Domain Review).

An Image Copyright Rabbit-Hole

Image of pulsar waves from PSR B1919+21, Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy, 1977.

This blog post discusses one person’s attempt to find the original creator of the white-on-black image of pulsar waves made iconic by its use on the cover of the 1979 Joy Division album Unknown Pleasures.

(h/t JuiceCake @Metafilter)

Thirty Tables of Contents

smirkThirty Tables of Contents: A Flickr set from the Design Observer Group

Some quick-&-dirty ToC tips:

  • Title it “Contents,” not “Table of Contents.”
  • ToC should always begin on a recto page (usually page v of the front matter).
  • If every chapter begins with an introduction, you can safely leave the “Introduction” subheadings out of the ToC, as the Chapter page listing will serve the same purpose.

Inside the Mind of a Copyeditor

When reading for pleasure I don’t read as slowly as when I copyedit, but I am not a fast reader. Often I will read a sentence more than once, then flip back and forth comparing it with other sentences, just like I do when copyediting. I think I’ve always read like a copyeditor, even way back before I knew what a copyeditor was.

Style Sheet: A Conversation with My Copyeditor

Novelist Edan Lepucki interviews her copyeditor, Susan Bradanini Betz, for The Millions: a vivid description of the process and mindset behind copyediting.

Mechanics of Latin Abbreviations & Initialisms

Not everyone follows the styles shown below for frequently used Latin words, abbreviations, and initialisms, but these are my usual choices. Chicago 16 instructs us to set common Latin in roman type, with sic being a notable exception. I will, however, sometimes depart from those rules for whole Latin words, depending on author, intended reader, and manuscript intentions.

ab init. ab initio (“from the beginning”).
ad hoc
(“to this”). Not abbreviations. “Made for the purpose.” Sometimes italicized.
ad inf. ad infinitum (“to infinity”). As above & below, ad is not an abbreviation.
ad lib ad libitum (“at will”). Commonly without a period; rarely italicized.
c. or ca. circa (“approximately”). Chicago prefers ca.
cet. par. ceterus paribus (“all other things equal”).
cf. confere (“compare”).
e.g. exempli gratia (‘for example”). Follow with a comma.
etc. et cetera (“and so forth”). Better spelled out. Precede with comma.
et al. et alia (“and others”). Et is not an abbreviation, so is not followed by a period.
i.a. inter alia (“among other things”).
ibid. ibidem (“the same place”).
id. idem (“the same person”).
i.e. id est (“that is”). Precedes clarifications, not examples. Usually followed with a comma, but not all style guides agree.
fl. flourit (“flourished”). Used to reference the years of a person’s prime.
f.v. folio verso (“on the back of the page”).
n.b. or NB nota bene (“note well”). Follow with a colon. Often uppercase; frequently with stops. No good reason for either.
passim (“throughout”). Not an abbreviation.
percent per centum (“for each 100”). Word in American English, so not italicized.  Symbol (%) rarely used in prose text.
per se (“by itself”). Not abbreviations.
PS postscriptum (“after what has been written”). Also: PPS post postscriptum.
re in re (“in the matter of”). Not an abbreviation (no period). Usually followed by a colon.
QED quod erat demonstratum (“which was to be demonstrated”). Often treated (and punctuated) as an independent clause.
R. rex or regina (“king” or queen”). Follows monarch’s name. No following period when part of a royal cypher.
RIP requiescat in pace (“rest in peace”). I prefer to spell this out, or omit/rephrase.
sic (“thus” or “so”). Not an abbreviation. Always italicize for clarity.
s.v. sub verbo (“under the word”). As used for citing a dictionary heading.
v.i. verbum intransitivum (“intransitive verb”).
viz. videlicet (“namely”). Precedes an appositive list. No following comma.
vs. or v. versus (“against”). Use v. in specifically legal contexts.
v.t. verbum transitivum (“transitive verb”).

Obviously there are many more, but I haven’t included any Latin that I’ve never actually used or edited. Ipsa scientia potestas est!