E-Book Preparation

The Electronic Manuscript

While most historians today work with a variety of computers and programs - word processing, database, spreadsheet, even perhaps graphics and web-authoring packages - the special requirements of web-based and other electronic-format books will require new approaches in the production process that are described under the Section The History E-Book Project Center. Chief among these are the need to provide all electronic files for text, charts, maps and other artwork in a format that can be produced in a time- and cost-efficient manner.
The editing of an e-book will vary from the traditional model of print books in certain ways. As early as possible in the production process, the author will be asked to provide the Project Directors with a title "map," that is, a verbal and/or visual key to the structure of the electronic project as the author conceives it. This will then be reviewed by the Project Directors for general issues of practicality and viability to determine if the structure outlined by the author is compatible with the parameters set by the project. The author will also be asked to indicate on the manuscript and in the electronic files the "hot spots" and other hyperlinks and to indicate the destinations of these links. The actual process of entering these and other stylistic and structural directions in the electronic file is generally called "tagging." The Project Center will work closely with the in-house editor on these issues and are always available to offer advice and general approaches to this work to both the author and the in-house editor.

Depending upon the author's experience with hypertext and interactive projects, he or she might also be able to suggest to the in-house editors, or to work out with the Project Directors, the form of transitions, layout, and deeper structures from among a template menu of possibilities provided by the History E-Book Project Center. Please bear in mind, however, that as with all standard publishing contracts, final decisions on these matters of design and approach are conditioned by a wide variety of factors, including scheduling, budget, and the needs and experience of authors and readers. The actual tagging of the project may be completed at the participating press, or- in rare cases - at the History E-Book Project Center. In addition, all matters of such design and presentation, pricing, and marketing are generally the province of the publisher: i.e., university press (for the print version) along with the History E-Book Project for the electronic book.

To sum up: once the manuscript (and electronic files) have completed the acquisitions, review, and editorial process at the university press, including content and copy editing, proof reading, the author's indications for tagging, and the assembly of the complete art package, the work is then ready to proceed to the next step in the production process: the History E-Book Project Center.

 

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Revised 1/16/2001