33 The Final Check

We learned that after a textbook was proofread, it’s a good idea to conduct one last review. This task should be done by someone with an eye for detail — such as the fixer or copy editor. (See Fix as You Go and How to Copy Edit.) That way, if they are required to make corrections, it won’t disrupt the completed copy editing and proofreading. (Needless to say, the style sheet and style guide should be referenced during this work.) For ideal results, give the assigned individual a few days to a week away from the textbook before they begin. This break allows the checker to clear their head for better concentration.

Like other phases of production, establish the scope of this final check. The amount of time available and length and complexity of the textbook will help shape this plan. Though, as is true for many aspects of textbook production, this final check can feel like it is never finished.

If you’re uncertain about what or how much of the textbook to review, prioritize the items on your list and let the allotted time determine what you will focus on. For example, you might decide that it’s most important to double check the layout of the book, such as its learning objectives, exercises, and key takeaways. This then becomes the first task. Your next priority might be the legality of the resources added to your textbook. So, you ask the checker to review all items borrowed from external sources, such as photos and graphs, and confirm that they do in fact hold an open-copyright licence or are in the public domain. (See Copyright and Open Licences and Resources: Only the Open.) The third item, time permitting, could be revisiting sections where mistakes are easily overlooked, such as citations and attribution statements.

Bottom line: Checking some of your work is better than checking none of your work.


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