Professional Editorial Standards: Appendix

Related Editorial Skills

Acquisitions editing

Acquisitions editing is evaluating proposals or manuscripts to ensure their fit with the publisher’s mandate, guidelines and other titles, as well as their commercial potential.

It includes the following tasks:

  • assessing the quality, originality, accuracy, currency and significance of written expression
  • estimating the editing required
  • pitching selected manuscripts to the publisher or editorial committee

It may also include the following tasks:

  • developing relationships with agents
  • contracting and liaising with writers
  • researching underserved topics, themes or trends, and soliciting manuscripts to fill these areas
  • identifying promising writers from whom to solicit manuscripts

Comparative editing

Comparative editing is comparing the content of a translated text to its source text to ensure the translation is faithful to the original. Comparative editing often includes aspects of stylistic editing and copy editing, and should be done by an editor fluent in both the source language and the target language.

Electronic coding or tagging

Electronic coding or tagging is inserting codes or styles into a document to indicate the document hierarchy and design elements.

Fact checking

Fact checking is checking the accuracy of facts, citations and quotes. Related tasks include citation checking or reference checking.


Formatting content according to the client’s or designer’s instructions or template may include the following tasks:

  • sizing and placement of art
  • setting front and back matter
  • establishing design
  • creating cover art
  • applying cascading style sheet (CSS) coding
  • formatting indexes

Formatting is also known as desktop publishing or production design.


Indexing is producing an alphabetical (or otherwise ordered) list of names, places, subjects and concepts that appear in a work. It includes the following tasks:

  • reading and analyzing the work
  • identifying significant subjects within the work and relationships between them
  • choosing concise terms to represent the chosen subjects
  • arranging terms into entries consisting of headings, subheadings, locators (such as page numbers) and cross-references


Localization is revising a document to make it meet the needs of readers in a specific place. It can include the following tasks:

  • ensuring that the words used are those used by the intended readers (e.g., car trunk vs. car boot)
  • editing for local spelling, grammar and usage
  • using local examples where relevant
  • ensuring that such factors as the brand names of drugs are those that are used in that region
  • checking that cultural and religious details are appropriate (e.g., Christian vs. Islamic wedding details)
  • checking for metric and imperial measures
  • checking for mentions of legal details

A related task is internationalization, which is ensuring that a document doesn’t have details that are specific to a location.

Manuscript evaluation

Manuscript evaluation involves writing a detailed memo to help a writer revise a document, usually a book manuscript. The evaluation is a systematic examination of the strengths and weaknesses of the document and gives specific guidance about how to revise it to make it more publishable. Most evaluations follow a set of headings that guide the editor. The headings are intended to structure the memo and ensure that the editor does not miss key aspects of the manuscript.

Manuscript evaluation also involves assessing the content and organization of a work, and commenting in depth on such factors as characterization, dialogue, setting, plot, structure, subject relevance, believability, research required and potential legal issues. It can also involve evaluation of the following:

  • technique and style
  • clarity
  • voice
  • tone
  • audience appropriateness

It includes providing detailed comments on the marketability of the work and suggesting ways to make it more so. This evaluation is intended to guide the writer or publisher through the process of rewriting or editing the work.

Manuscript evaluation is also known as critiquing.

Production editing

Production editing is coordinating and supervising design, formatting and proofreading stages, and ensuring integration of design and content. It may include the following tasks:

  • formatting
  • proofreading
  • inputting changes
  • locating, negotiating with and supervising designers, artists and printers
  • creating production schedules

Production editing is also known as production coordination.

Project editing

Project editing is coordinating all stages of a project, from an initial proposal or draft material to the final product and incorporating input from the writer and others.

If necessary, it includes getting all approvals throughout the process. It can also involve coordinating long-term projects, such as building large websites. It may include the following tasks:

  • editing
  • budgeting
  • scheduling
  • hiring
  • supervising

Project editing is also known as developmental editing or editorial management.


Rewriting is writing new material based on content that has been supplied. It may include doing research and fact checking.

Visual research

Visual research involves locating suitable still images, artwork, illustrations, maps, diagrams and video. It may include the following tasks:

  • reading the work and composing lists of visuals
  • preparing permissions logs
  • setting and maintaining budgets
  • locating copyright holders
  • arranging and supervising photo shoots
  • organizing images for scanning
  • acquiring images of appropriate quality in electronic form
  • preparing image descriptions and artists’ biographical information
  • obtaining permission releases (including model and location releases)
  • writing labels, captions or source lines
  • preparing acknowledgement copy
  • negotiating usage fees
  • requesting licences and invoices
  • sending final usage letters
  • fulfilling contractual obligations, such as requesting sample pages for approval
  • updating clients’ rights management databases
  • submitting final permissions logs and paperwork

Visual research is also known as image research, picture research or photo research.

Web editing

Web editing is editing and updating the content of web pages, including text, images and links. It includes the following tasks:

  • checking links to ensure they point to the right places
  • checking that the text in links accurately reflects where the link goes
  • reorganizing or revising print copy for the web
  • editing or writing web copy that is aligned with best practices
  • proofreading final websites and checking for consistency of all site elements
  • identifying potential copyright issues

Web editing may also include the following tasks:

  • reviewing websites on multiple platforms (e.g., to ensure that links are substantial enough for touchscreen users)
  • advising on accessibility issues
  • reviewing or creating information architecture
  • implementing changes using a content management system

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