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

Gareth Hughes garzohugo at gmail.com
Sat Oct 23 18:41:53 CEST 2010

On the matter of declining skills in typesetting I'm reminded of an
Oxford apocryphon of a printer who was preparing a Sanskrit grammar. The
printer contacted the author, an esteemed professor, with a crucial
error in the Sanskrit text. The professor first felt angry at being
questioned on matters of Sanskrit by a printer, but verified the
reported the error in his own copy. Returning to the printer he asked
how he'd managed to spot the error. The printer replied that, after
setting pages and pages in a script he could not read, he had learnt
that one of them never follows one of them! Ah... attention to detail;
they don't make them like that anymore!


John Was wrote:
> Well I'm still in the Press once a week at least (for choir practice!)
> so I shall make sure these comments reach the right ears.  They
> correspond, unfortunately to my own impression.  Leofranc
> Holford-Strevens works heroically on critical editions but he is the
> sole in-house editor left and can't possibly handle them all.  I think
> he is pretty well full-time on large projects with extensive commentary
> (and still finds time to publish and lecture extensively on an
> astonishing range of topics).
> Getting back to TeX-related matters, the hyphenation patterns available
> in XeTeX (even to 'plain' users like myself) are an enormous help, even
> if I disagree with the English at frequent points (the Latin rarely lets
> me down, aside from a few rogues - is hucusque one? - which I guess are
> analagous to Knuth's 'manuscript' in refusing to comply with the
> algorithms).  No one bothers to read people like Priscian on what should
> be done with Greek and Latin, and no one at OUP involved in passing
> proofs would have the faintest idea about this subject.  Neither, alas,
> do authors - with the Dictionary of Medieval Latin (which I have just
> relinquished with completion of Fascicule XIII in the middle of letter
> 'R') it was left entirely to me, and I fear that laxity in this matter
> will pervade future fascicules as it did in some of those that preceded
> my involvement.  When I asked the compilers  to keep a look-out for any
> bad hyphenations that I might have missed in perusing and correcting the
> proofs, they asked me to explain the rules!
> John
> ----- Original Message ----- From: <jherrman at allegheny.edu>
> To: <xetex at tug.org>
> Sent: 23 October 2010 15:05
> Subject: Re: [XeTeX] (Xe)LaTeX output in a non-(Xe)LaTeX scholarly
> community
>> Yes, as you would guess, the copy-editor marked up my files by hand
>> and sent me the hard copy.
>> Recent OUP critical editions in Greek prose could use a lot more
>> copy-editing; I would assert that their production standards in this
>> area have fallen drastically in the last decade. We have new editions
>> of the Greek orators Demosthenes and Lysias in the Oxford Classical
>> Text series, all filled with rampant flaws in hyphenation and line
>> numbering in the apparatus. Reviews have also identified numerous
>> slips of a more substantial nature, that seem to suggest very little
>> copy-editing is happening on these in house. It seems that OUP has
>> adopted new modes of production for these critical editions that
>> create these problems, and authors (and copy-editors?) don't regularly
>> take the time to fix it all. I know in the case of my book the
>> copy-editor, who was otherwise very attentive, didn't seem to have
>> looked at the Greek at all.
>> The other major series of critical texts in Greek (and Latin), on the
>> other hand, the Bibliotheca Teubneriana, has been shuffled from one
>> publisher to another in the last decade. It's now in the hands of De
>> Gruyter, who seems devoted to its revitalization. They're requiring
>> all editors to submit camera-ready-copy, and recommending that they
>> use Critical Edition Typesetter (<http://www.karas.ch/cet/>). I have
>> the impression they only really care about the appearance of the CRC,
>> though, and wouldn't really care if authors prefer other typesetting
>> systems.
>> Jud Herrman
>> On 2010-10-23, John Was
>> <john.was at ntlworld.com> wrote:
>>> OUP will normally be amenable if saving money is in prospect!  I
>>> think the
>>> barrier here has always been the copy-editing process (now more
>>> vulnerable
>>> since house style is not seen as so important and indeed there is no
>>> longer
>>> any copy-editing department at OUP).  A critical edition will normally
>>> require a rather small amount of copy-editing, though there is still the
>>> introduction and commentary to consider - but if a TeX-savvy author is
>>> willing to implement those copy-editing changes and suggestions s/he
>>> agrees
>>> with, there is no real difficulty.  The copy-editor would then
>>> presumably
>>> work by pen(cil) on a draft PDF printout in the traditional way (or by
>>> annotating the PDF electronically, which can be tedious).
>>> Or of course one can simply trust the author not to make any mistakes at
>>> all, and forgo copy-editing.  Even twenty years ago this was
>>> mentioned as a
>>> possibility at OUP but no one dared to do it in my time there.
>>> But I hope this doesn't become too much of a trend or I'll have to
>>> look for
>>> something else to do!  In the meantime, I must dust down my old brown
>>> OCT of
>>> Hyperides...
>>> John

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