Abstracting. Preparing a succinct summary or synopsis of a work, often for an academic publication or professional journal. The length, style, and amount of detail in an abstract vary depending on its intended use.
Copy editing (also called line editing; sometimes spelled copyediting). Any or all of the following:
- correcting spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax, and word usage while preserving the meaning and voice of the original text
- checking for or imposing a consistent style and format
- preparing a style sheet that documents style and format
- reading for overall clarity and sense on behalf of the prospective audience
- querying the appropriate party about apparent errors or inconsistencies
- noting permissions needed to publish copyrighted material
- preparing a manuscript for the next stage of the publication process
- cross-checking references, art, figures, tables, equations, and other features for consistency with their mentions in the text
Fact-checking. Verifying the accuracy of content. The scope and specific tasks involved vary depending on the type of publication.
Indexing. Providing a comprehensive guide to the contents of a work and generally involving the following:
- reading page proofs or the equivalent to compile an alphabetical list of references to pertinent terms and concepts in the text
- choosing, grouping, and consolidating page references under main headings, subheadings, and cross-references as a guide to specific information.
Manuscript evaluation. Reading and reviewing an unpublished manuscript and preparing a written report about the work that addresses the client’s specific concerns, such as competition, audience, and timeliness of topic.
Proofreading. Comparing the latest stage of text with the preceding stage, marking discrepancies in text, and, when appropriate, checking for problems in page makeup, layout, color separation, or type. Proofreading may also include one or more of the following:
- checking proof against typesetting specifications
- querying or correcting errors or inconsistencies that may have escaped an editor or writer
- reading for typographical errors or for sense without reading against copy
- verifying links in online publications
Researching. Gathering and verifying information to develop all or part of a publication (more extensive than fact-checking).
Rewriting. Any or all of the following:
- adding original material to a draft
- deleting material
- reorganizing material
- collaborating with other editors
- producing another draft
- reworking print copy for online publication
Substantive editing. Improving a manuscript in any or all of the following ways:
- identifying and solving problems of overall clarity or accuracy
- reorganizing paragraphs, sections, or chapters to improve the order in which the text is presented
- writing or rewriting segments of text to improve readability and flow of information
- revising any or all aspects of the text to improve its presentation
- consulting with others about issues of concern
- incorporating responses to queries and suggestions and creating a new draft of the document
(Adapted from the Code of Fair Practice, Editorial Freelancers Association)