Portfolio of Editorial Projects
Here is a sample of three projects I worked on. If you would like to read about more examples, you can download my full portfolio here.
Copy-editing & editorial consultation for Limerick Music Throughout the Decades
Paddy Brennan contacted me after I was recommended to him by a history academic at Mary Immaculate College. Paddy was putting together a book celebrating the history of music in Limerick city and county. He was new to the publishing process and wanted a proofreader and editorial consultant to advise him on how best to prepare the book. Paddy had collected a phenomenal amount of content (articles and photographs) and already put a lot of thought and energy into this project. All profits from sales went to charity.
My role expanded from proofreading and editorial consultancy to project management as the author of the book was new to the publication process. Regularly, Paddy would ask me what the next step in the process would be, and I would provide him with a list of tasks, such as fact-checking and gathering copyright permission. I advised the client on what needed to be included in the prelims and the end matter, and the overall presentation of the book. As the text came from various sources, I had to preserve the fidelity of historical texts from the Limerick Journal and improve sections written by local contributors.
There were some issues throughout the process with repetition of articles and organising the proofed documents and those yet to be proofed. The client had some difficulty with this and would often send me articles that were already proofed, so these had to be identified quickly to save time. I created a style sheet so I could keep track of any editorial decisions and important information. During the project there were lots of late-night phone calls back and forth as the client preferred to discuss any issues rather than rely on email. I would have liked another two weeks to go through the book in its entirety before the deadline, but we ran out of time. In future, I would set out an editorial schedule for proofreading the individual articles and the book in its entirety, so the book is ready on time. In total, I proofread approximately 130,000 words from various sources. Limerick Music Throughout the Decades sold out on its initial release and is a much sought-after publication in Limerick and beyond. As a history student, it was very rewarding to help record the musical history of Limerick, and I found I could apply my undergraduate knowledge to the process of recording such valuable information.
Proofreading Junior Cert Cycle Science Book for DCG Solutions
Kora King is the managing director of DCG Solutions, a company that designs and develops educational resources. Unhappy with her previous proofreader, Kora found me through Google. She wanted me to proofread the content and make sure that the language was appropriate for 12–15-year-old students in her new educational resource for junior certificate science. This was provided in both PowerPoint and Word format.
In addition to proofreading and checking the appropriateness of the language, I created several style sheets for the client and myself to keep track of the formatting and terms used across the various aspects of the resource. The content was quite dynamic and included images, videos, and links to external resources. The content was split into different chapters with educational content, experiments, activities, and questions. Each section had specific formatting right down to the list style and the bullet spacing, so all this had to be noted in the style sheets, which were updated as the project progressed. This project also required advising on the appearance of the content, for example, pointing out if a page was too crowded or if the images were unsuitable.
This project was one of my favourites as it covered a vast range of material on physics, astronomy, environmental science, biology, and chemistry. The key factor in this project was to ensure consistency between the textbooks, activity sheets, and the teacher and student resources. This was a fascinating project as it required microscopic attention to detail and the ability to look at the resource as a whole to make sure it was visually appealing and consistent in style. I was delighted to be involved in disseminating scientific knowledge clearly and concisely to young minds.
Website Editor for the School of Law at the University of Limerick
Professor Shane Kilcommins, the Head of the School of Law at the University of Limerick, was looking for someone to improve the school’s website and I felt that my editorial background could be useful in this regard. He wanted me to clean up and modernise the website to make it more appealing to prospective students.
Initially, I went through the website page by page and edited the content to make it less academic and more accessible. I broke up long chunks of text by using headings and formatting to allow readers to scan the site and find the information they need. I restructured parts of the website (removed repeated content, moved important content to a prominent position), I made sure that all content was kept up to date, and that all links were working. I added more modern images to the website as well as little ‘Did you know?’ facts to show-off some of the awards and accolades earned by the University and the School of Law. I quickly became the point of contact for all faculty and staff in the school who wished to make changes to the site.
I learned about a new world of legal academic writing and writing for the web in this role. As the website was hosted on an old Drupal platform, there was very little I could do about how the website looked. Initially, I found it challenging to work with ITD (Information Technology Department) as I found they were quite rigid regarding changes to the website. There was a little clash of agendas, but through increased communication, I found I could strike a balance between making improvements and maintaining the status quo of the site regarding ITD’s concerns. While working as the website editor, I did a short in-house course on writing for the web, where I learned about the best ways to organise information on a website and how to write in a clearer more concise manner. This course also introduced me to WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines), and I learned how to make the school’s site more accessible. As a result of my improvements to the website, student numbers increased, especially international students, as they found the website to be very informative and helpful.