Archive for August, 2011

Review of PerfectIt (professional editing software)

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

I recently downloaded and bought the Professional version of PerfectIt, editing software for professional editors. On balance, I’m glad I did so but it is not a silver bullet, eliminating the need for a professional editor. In the wrong hands, it could introduce errors to a document or book. Nor is it the sole tool you will need. You will still need to use Word’s spell checker and the New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors and macros and your intelligence and professional experience. You still need to check suggested changes for context before permitting PerfectIt to change something, lest you demote Wolfe Tone to Wolfe tone, or eliminate hyphens where they should be kept or introduce them where they don’t belong (e.g., ‘the built-in wardrobe’ versus ‘built in Dublin’).

On balance I’m very happy to have PerfectIt and I run it before filing a document to a client to check if I’ve missed anything and to aid me in my editorial work. It is an efficient tool which spots things and does much of the donkey-work, identifying inconsistencies about which the editor can then make a professional decision. I particularly liked its automatic creation of a list of all abbreviations used in the document being edited. It also notes any abbreviations without definitions and if an abbreviation has been written out in full after its definition. That it checks inconsistencies in lists and bullet points is very helpful and a relief, removing a tiresome job for editors. I also liked that it identifies unfinished edits such as bookmarks or highlighted text. This was very reassuring. It’s not perfect, but will help you get your manuscript closer to perfect.


New publication pending on the Guild of Uriel

Friday, August 19th, 2011

I have just finished writing a booklet on the Guild of Uriel. It is a fascinating group. They arranged meetings outside the glare of publicity between the different sides of the socio-political-religious divide in Northern Ireland, often getting enemies into the same room at the same time to…dialogue. They invited guest speakers and organizations to meet with them. They didn’t judge anyone. Even when the IRA ceasefire broke down, they kept up their quiet, invaluable work. Some criticized them for talking to the political wing of the IRA – Sinn Fein – but they met them nevertheless, convinced that to resolve conflict you have to talk to everyone. Roy Garland was the inspiration behind the Guild. He is a unionist yet he realized the interconnectedness between everyone in Ireland. He discovered his own roots through an examination of the Anglo-Norman history of his family. The truth is, so often, far more complex than the unionist versus nationalist debate that the conflict was so often conceived as. The booklet is being read now by Roy and by Julitta Clancy, both long-time chairs of the Guild. Julitta is well known for her work in the Meath Peace Group and she was awarded an OBE for her work for peace and reconciliation between the peoples of the two islands that constitute Ireland and Great Britain.