Multipurpose Editing for Multipurpose Publishing

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.


Printed books remain the primary form of publishing, but content can be edited with an eye to deliver it via multiple electronic platforms (e.g., Web, e-book, PDA), to take multiple forms (e.g., print and electronic books, journals, Web content, newsletters), for multiple purposes (e.g., retail products, publicity and marketing pieces, testing materials).

The process of multipurpose editing is fairly simple.

Organize for clarity: Content must be organized in a way that is consistent with its use. It is helpful if materials are self-contained, simply organized, and compact. As is the case with any copyediting, information should be presented in a clear, coherent, and concise manner.

Think strategically about tables, figures, and graphics: Be sure that the additional media properly augments your written content and appears where it can best get the author's point across to readers. Tables and lists should be presented in a clear manner so that the presentation translates across technologies. In some cases complex information is reorganized into simple lists. Because graphics may not translate from one format to another clearly or easily, publishers have to weigh the value of certain graphics. Sometimes a few hundred words are worth a picture, especially when the information is presented clearly.

Focus on function, not form: Multipurpose editing should focus on the function of the content, not the form. It is especially important to consider the structure of the information instead of worrying about the appearance. Information should be structured so that related elements appear together, and any alteration of media (e.g., print to electronic, book to Web) does not confuse the reader.

Consider the use: From the beginning of a project, the publisher should keep in mind multiple uses of the content. You will also need to consider all the devices on which information will be distributed. For some channels of distribution, this may require a reduction of the information. But, with the change of today's aesthetic, clear and concise information is what people desire.

Multipurpose editing facilitates the usability of your content in the most efficient manner. Scribe's multipurpose editing services result in publications that meet contemporary expectations quickly and cost effectively, which creates a high demand for your products.