[XeTeX] (Xe)LaTeX output in a non-(Xe)LaTeX scholarly community

John Was john.was at ntlworld.com
Fri Oct 22 16:56:53 CEST 2010


If it's of any interest, I have been using TeX for many years now to produce 
OUP humanities publications (Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, recent 
fascicules of the Medieval Latin Dictionary from British Sources [British 
Academy but published by OUP], and dozens of monographs in the field of 
Greek and Latin, with occasional forays into Hebrew and Arabic).  XeTeX has 
been a great boon but I have always stayed clear of LaTeX flavours, for 
various reasons - initially, if I can recall with any accuracy my thoughts 
of 15 years ago or more, because it was at that time rather inflexible (I'm 
sure I remember a handbook which stated that it was so difficult to adjust 
the \baselineskip that those preparing their theses in LaTeX should request 
a dispensation from the normal rule of double spacing).

However, I only occasionally do naked typesetting, as it were, and am 
normally employed as copy-editor-cum-typesetter, so that I receive 
word-processed files (almost inevitably in Word these days) and work on them 
as I see fit, producing PDFs at the end of the process for the manufacturing 
printer to work with.  I have some very elaborate Word macros set up (barely 
comprehensible to me!) to convert Word italic into {\it ....\/}, footnotes 
into {\fn{....}} etc. (I have double braces round my footnotes for reasons 
that I won't go into), and it all works reasonably smoothly - certainly 
Greek is a breeze now that I don't have to convert everything to WordPerfect 
5.1 and then into a rebarbative transliteration system, as I did when using 
pure ASCII-based EmTeX.

Interestingly, OUP have recently started requesting my source files (viz. 
.TEX files) for achiving when I hand over the PDFs of a completed job, 
though I'm not sure what use they could ever make of them.  I guess their 
idea is that they might be able to introduce corrections, extra 
bibliography, etc. for future editions in-house, but I rather think that 
with my volumes they will be stumped, particularly after I'm 
institutionalized, buried, or executed for letting through too many typos.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Gareth Hughes" <garzohugo at gmail.com>
To: "Unicode-based TeX for Mac OS X and other platforms" <xetex at tug.org>
Sent: 22 October 2010 15:42
Subject: Re: [XeTeX] (Xe)LaTeX output in a non-(Xe)LaTeX scholarly community

> McCollum, Adam wrote:
>> Dear list members,
>> I realize that for publications in math and the sciences using TeX,
>> etc. has been common, and perhaps even strongly encouraged or
>> required, for many years. It is, alas, not yet at least, so in the
>> humanities generally. Thanks to XeLaTeX's ability to work well with
>> non-Latin scripts, it is perhaps becoming better known in the fields
>> in which I work (Semitic and other eastern languages), but it is
>> still somewhat of a surprise, I think, to find colleagues who hear
>> "LaTeX" and do not respond with, "What?"! I am writing to ask for
>> some thoughts on the predicament of using and enjoying XeLaTeX in my
>> work, but not really being able to employ it for anything that will
>> be published, since essentially every publisher wants only a .doc or
>> .rtf file.
> Dear Adam,
> Yes, we're in the same predicament: effectively, all potential
> publishers want .doc files for submissions. This is useful for the
> publisher who wants to let a copy editor play around with the text so
> that it meets the house style. Most of the editors in the humanities
> wouldn't know what to do with a .tex source file. So, publishers want an
> easily editable source file, then they use professional typesetting
> software and fonts to produce a PDF for printing. Having worked on
> publications through OUP, I think this is the way most of these things
> work. If you send a publisher a PDF, they can't edit it (easily and
> neatly), they can't easily change your cheap fonts for their expensive
> ones, and they can't easily change the layout of the page to book size
> with crop marks etc.
> There are tools for producing .rtf files from TeX sources, but they're
> not nice, particularly because they don't usually understand all the
> commands you're using. If you've gone to all the trouble of producing a
> good TeX source, why ruin it by trying to squish it into a flaky .rtf?
> This could be useful to give the copy editor a visual PDF alongside an
> editable .rtf. Either publishers work out how to handle .tex source
> files, or they allow authors to do most of the setting themselves (which
> latter is what happened with Donald Knuth as far as I recall), or they
> let us do it. Somehow I can't see publishers agreeing to send us
> hundreds of pounds worth of professional fonts and stand down the
> professional typesetters.
> It's certainly worth talking with publishers about the problem. Even
> though we're traditionally responsible for the text and they for the
> context, it has always been a matter of negotiation and compromise. In
> the end, the publisher wants something that looks good and fitting and
> makes them money. If we can encourage them to work with us using TeX by
> showing them the improved results, that's probably the way to move
> ahead. Because, I've got all these journal articles in front of me,
> published by publishers who specialise in our field, but the errors and
> general clumsiness are glaring.
> Gareth.
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