Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Betrayed by a comma

This morning I was working on an editing project, zipping along through a lengthy manuscript, working quickly and enjoying being “in the zone.” I’ve been working with this particular client on a number of related projects, and as a result, I’ve gotten to know his style of writing very well, such as how he uses (or mis-uses) punctuation, how he gets its and it’s mixed up, and in particular, how he eschews the “Oxford comma.”

I’m mentioning the Oxford comma not to debate it (there is only one correct answer! Use it!), but because it was the key to unraveling a little mystery that popped up as I was editing.

Monday, May 2, 2016

A Book In Hand is Worth...Two on The Screen?

I love books. And newspapers. And magazines. And cereal boxes. Well, maybe not cereal boxes – I’m more of a toast and tea person at breakfast time. (Or better yet, croissants et cafĂ© au lait, en France…but that’s another story). 

Still, I love to read, and I read voraciously, and yes, I do enjoy the feel of a book, and the smell of the ink (volatile organic compounds, anyone?), and the physical act of turning pages as I make my way through an article, book, or technical paper. 

But there’s more to the appeal of printed media than simply the physical experience.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

What's the Question?

Recently I wrote about several projects currently on my virtual desk, including fact-checking a book on a health topic. I wrote, “The book, which was researched and written by a journalist, is very interesting. The challenge with this project consists of deciphering some odd citations and tracking down source documents for specific facts and assertions. The latter can be very challenging, as it requires distinguishing between facts and assertions and unraveling how, over many years, those facts and assertions have been communicated and attributed. It’s never as straightforward as it seems.”

Yesterday I ran into a perfect example of this, which I will try to explain without violating my client’s confidentiality.

Monday, April 11, 2016

On My Desk

The aspect I most enjoy in my work as an independent research consultant is the variety – I work with many different sorts of clients, each of whom I assist in unique ways with research, writing, editing, and other information and communication services.

What’s on my desk this week? A whole grab-bag of interesting projects:

Saturday, October 19, 2013

You Have Endorsements Waiting!

I’ve been more active on LinkedIn lately, posting some content and connecting with colleagues. I’m wary of the endorsements and recommendations, though. At first, I was pleased that colleagues – some from the present, some from the past – thought highly enough of my work to endorse me publicly.

But what’s with ridiculous endorsements such as these?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Laser Focus

In my previous post, I gave a very brief summary of the earliest forms of online searching, which was carried out almost entirely in the highly-structured bibliographic databases available, in general, only to librarians and information professionals.

From our modern perspective, we might think that these databases are somewhat limited in scope and content: a database might cover a single industry (e.g., construction) or discipline (e.g., chemistry). The earliest versions contained only citations, or citations with abstracts; full texts of articles, which we now take for granted, were added only later.

But the limited scope, and in particular the highly-structured formatting and the indexing done by actual, real, human information professionals, enabled laser-focused searching and very reliable results.

Though the internet now offers v-a-s-t quantities of information, I still use the same structured databases, and I still rely on them for quick, focused, reliable results. Here’s why: