Peeking behind the curtain

Sometimes, folk are interested to hear what goes on in getting a book out the door. Part of the process is getting the book set in the format to be printed. This involves a program, in our case Adobe’s InDesign, that is really a means of “painting” a page with text from something like MS Word.

This is both labor-intensive, and a skilled craft. But even once it is done, there are interesting issues. Here’s part of an e-mail exchange between the compositor, Joel Anderson, and one of our main proofers, Marcel van Genderen:

On your last finding, p 621 in “Strange People, Queer Notions”,
“connoisseurs stuff”, I’d expect an apostrophe too. It was printed
this way, and a search of the TI notes, which are still in the
textport file, doesn’t find the word mentioned.

Should we fix it? — “connoisseur’s”?

…I think “lid to the gypsy still” is equivalent to “the lid of the
gypsy’s still”, as in the pot they use to distill their poteen.

If you don’t believe that the still was ambulatory, then you might be inclined to insert a possessive. But here’s the response from the Marcel to the Joel:

I read: lift the gypsy, still dripping. The comma is not there of course.

This is amusing, but during the work on the original VIE, we had texts with 600 marked exceptions. These were meticulously tracked down, researched if necessary, and marked for correction. I write “marked for correction” because the folk who made the fix/no fix decision didn’t actually implement the change. This was done by a separate group of volunteers.

When I have a few moments, I may pull a sample sheet from the original work, so that you can see what a text looked like before we addressed the various issues. It’s an eye opener.

More later…


1 Comment

  1. wrycur said,

    March 3, 2010 at 8:31 am

    I realize you’re trying to make a more general point with these examples, Bob, but I can’t think of a context in which “connoisseurs stuff” would be right, whereas I can think of contexts where “connoisseur stuff,” “connoisseur’s stuff,” and even “connoisseurs’ stuff” might be right.

    The part about lifting the gipsy must have been intentional humor on Marcel’s part. But “gipsy still” makes sense, like “German still” or Kentucky still.”

    You mentioned maps of Lyonesse; will there be maps of Durdane too? I read something about that in Cosmo.

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