Editorial terms – C

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call-out: a quote taken from the body of an article and displayed in a prominent way as a design feature.

caption: the explanatory words that appear below (or above or beside) an illustration or figure.

character style: a set of formatting attributes that can be applied to one or more characters or words in one step.

citation: an in-text reference to a source. It should correspond with a full reference listing elsewhere in the document, in a footnote or endnote or a reference list or bibliography.

clean file: a copy of the edited or proof-edited file where all edits (Track Changes if using Word) have been accepted and the text appears in its final format.

clean-up tasks: routine changes at the start and end of a job, using Find and Replace and/or macros to remove unwanted formatting such as double spaces between words, spaces before punctuation and extra line spaces between paragraphs, or to implement house style, such as changing hyphens used as dashes to spaced en rules. As they are usually uncontentious, clean-up tasks can often be made as silent corrections.

CMS: see content management system

code/tag: used to show the typesetter/designer where a text element begins and ends (eg <CH> and </CH> around a chapter title); this is an alternative markup system to using Word Styles.

cold proofread: reading a proof without reference to any earlier version of the document (such as the copyeditor’s edited Word file or a hard copy with changes marked).

collating: combining the corrections from two or more sets of proofs (typically proofs read by the author and a proofreader) on to one set of collated proofs for the typesetter/designer to correct. Also referred to as ‘taking in’ corrections.

colophon: publisher’s imprint that gives information about place and date of publication and the publisher’s details.

comma splice: occurs where two independent clauses are (incorrectly) joined by a comma; for example, ‘John went to the shop, Nadia was there.’ While some fiction authors will use this construction for dramatic or literary effect, it is generally to be avoided. There are various ways to deal with this:

  1. Create two sentences: ‘John went to the shop. Nadia was there.’
  2. Replace the comma with a semicolon: ‘John went to the shop; Nadia was there.’
  3. Replace the comma with a coordinating conjunction: ‘John went to the shop and Nadia was there.’

Choose the most appropriate solution for the context of the text you are working on.

compositor: see typesetter

content management system (CMS): computer software that is a repository for files and enables editing (often using an interface that looks similar to Microsoft Word) and publishing of pages of a website or other digital product. A page or document can be worked on by only one person at a time and not everyone who has access to pages will have the authority to publish them.

contraction: (1) a short form in which the first and last letters are present but the middle of the word is removed (eg Dr = ‘Doctor’); (2) a short, informal form, created by running words together, particularly in fictional dialogue (eg ‘haven’t’ = ‘have not’, ‘you’ll’ = ‘you will’).

contributed/contributory volume: in academic book publishing, a book where each chapter has been written by a different author, as commissioned by a volume editor or editors, who may also write their own chapters and supply introductory text such as a preface, and who deal with compiling the various typescripts into a single volume for copyediting.

copy: the document showing any amendments made by the copyeditor to the author’s original text that is then sent to the typesetter to be typeset to produce the proofs of the text. These days the document is likely to be a word-processed document with the copyeditor’s amendments shown through the use of Track Changes. Less commonly, copyeditors may be asked to work on a printout of the author’s file, so copy may be a scan/photo of this manually annotated document – or even the original paper document.

copyediting: preparing the copy so it is ready for the next stage of the publishing process, usually in a digital version of the text. Tasks include ensuring grammar, punctuation and spelling are correct, applying house style, restructuring if necessary and indicating to the typesetter by using styles or inserting codes how the work is structured and where displayed text, pictures and other elements are to be positioned.

copy fitting: adjusting the text to fit the layout and dealing with overmatter. This can involve saving lines by deleting repetition or unnecessary words, using a shorter word with the same meaning, or adjusting spacing between displayed elements in the text. See also subediting.

credit: acknowledgement to the holder of copyright in an image; credits may appear individually in captions or in a consolidated list in the front or end matter of a publication.

crosshead: a structural device of up to a few words (though often just one or two) that breaks up large amounts of text. The words in a crosshead are usually taken from the paragraph that follows it. See also subheading.

cue: a short reference to an image to indicate to the typesetter where it should be placed in relation to the text; it is written in a circle in the margin of hard copy, or keyed, usually in angle brackets (eg <Fig. 1.1 here>, <Table 2.3 here>), in digital copy. The cue is usually placed directly after the paragraph in which the illustration is first mentioned.