Editorial Services Guide
At the copyediting and proofreading levels, digital publishing technology both increases and decreases accuracy. On one hand, it makes possible accuracy- and consistency-assuring devices such as spell checking and search-and-replace operations. Because most manuscripts are now submitted on disk and are not re-keyed by a typesetter, fewer errors are introduced in the first stage of proof. On the other hand, the polished look of a computer-generated manuscript can fool anyone into thinking that the material itself is polished. Since editors and proofreaders working online may need time to get used to reading text on screen, they may at first miss more errors than they would on paper.
Overall, digital publishing technology has telescoped the publishing process. In CD-ROM and Web publishing, markets, funding constraints, and the nature of the media usually dictate that development and production take place almost simultaneously; but even in print publishing, processes that traditionally took several stages to completefor instance, going from manuscript to page proofcan now be collapsed into one stage.
That collapse speeds
the publishing process and helps make more information available
to readers more quickly. However, another significant result is
that many of the errors and inconsistencies that would have been
corrected in a draft, in manuscript, or in galley proofs by traditional
methods don't surface until much closer to the publication date, which
diminishes the chances that they all will be caught and corrected
before publication. Certain trends, such as leaving developmental
editing tasks to copyeditors,
compound the problem. And producers of Web sites may use the possibility
of continual updates and revisions as an escape valve, simply leaving
quality control until after the launch date, even though each revision
reintroduces potential for editorial error.