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

Gareth Hughes garzohugo at gmail.com
Fri Oct 22 18:33:54 CEST 2010

John Was wrote:
> Hello

Hello, John.

> 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).

This is good news, seeing as my experience of OUP has been having to
work with word-processed files. What do you do with fonts? Does OUP give
you their fonts? Otherwise, I would imagine that they would need to make
sure that the font licence allows for commercial publication. At least
with theses, seeing as universities are used to scientist wanting to to
use TeX, they don't get too upset with the rest of us doing so. Even
though double spacing is still ugly, it is not too difficult to achieve.

> 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.

...and punch holes in cards! I find the problem with many tools for
going from TeX to wp or the reverse is that many try to deal with whole
documents rather than snippets. I would rather write my preamble and
then paste in such converted snippets.

> 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.

Hah! I can understand why OUP want to archive accessible sources, even
if they can't in reality do anything with them. I wonder if they keep
copies of all those word-processed files too. When I have produced
beamer slides for someone, I included a clearly marked-up source file so
that the presentation could be altered in the future without necessarily
 having to come back to me.


Gareth Hughes
Doctoral candidate in Syriac studies

Department of Eastern Christianity
Oriental Institute
Pusey Lane

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