While the basic rules of copy editing apply whether working on a traditional or open textbook, there are some differences. The below guidelines are for (and reviewed by) professional copy editors.
- Writing and editing a web-based textbook will likely occur in an online platform such as Pressbooks. Therefore, it’s important that editors, authors, and other participating parties agree to and understand how changes in the textbook and platform will be made.
- Like print books, starting with a standard style guide is important. As the project progresses, be sure to record styling exceptions for the textbook on a style sheet. You might find that an openly licensed textbook has special requirements such as ensuring that all images are properly licensed and correctly attributed. (See Appendix 2: Style Guide.)
- Be sure that the copy editor is familiar with or receives training for editing web-based textbooks in the online platform.
- A web-based textbook will likely include live links (in the body and possibly in the reference list), and multimedia. Decide at the outset of your textbook project what the copy editor is responsible for checking.
- A web-based textbook, online platform, and other technical elements introduce additional challenges. Clarify at the beginning of an editing project:
- if the copy editor should report technical problems in the textbook
- to whom the copy editor should report technical problems relating to accessing or using the online platform or textbook
- who is responsible for fixing technical problems (the author, the project manager, or the managing editor)
- Clarify, at the beginning of an editing project, who will receive the copy editor’s editing notes and how issues will be addressed. Determine if the copy editor will contact the author directly or through an intermediary, such as a project manager.