15th EditionAppendix A: Design and Production—Basic Procedures and Key Terms

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In the past, typesetting involved keyboarding text from hard copy prepared by authors and marked up by editors. Today the electronic files originated by authors are often used in both editing and typesetting, although they may require substantial manipulation. The way a manuscript is prepared for typesetting depends on two main factors: the equipment and software that will be used to perform the typesetting and the format in which the work will ultimately be disseminated (print, electronic, or both). Many typesetting programs require the removal or modification of formatting codes used in word-processing programs. Often publications that will be distributed electronically (either solely or in conjunction with a print counterpart) are also tagged in a formal markup language such as SGML or XML (see 2.91); tagging produces an archival file that can be used to create future print or electronic editions. The timing of and responsibility for these tasks vary.

Traditionally, publishers have relied on the services of professional typesetters, or compositors, to produce their publications. Technological advances in areas such as desktop page-layout and illustration programs, however, have given them the option of typesetting manuscripts in-house, commonly using design and production staff. While this option may eliminate outside typesetting fees, it still costs staff time. In addition, desktop programs remain less sophisticated and versatile than professional typesetting systems; they can be prohibitively expensive, and they require substantial expertise. Regardless of which method is used, it is the typesetters responsibility to be sure the electronic files meet the needs of the printer, who is almost always an outside supplier.

Before typesetting (or composition) begins in earnest, a publisher will often ask the typesetter for sample pages, which are prepared in accordance with the designers specifications and layouts to show how various typographical elements will look in page form. The publisher either approves the sample pages or sends them back to the typesetter with a request for changes. Once the sample pages have been approved, composition proceeds.

The first full set of proofs supplied by a typesetter is usually in the form of either galley proofs or page proofs. Galley proofs show all of the text set in type but do not reflect how the text and illustrations will fit on individual pages. Improvements in page-layout programs have eliminated the need for galleys in all but the most complicated projects. Page proofs, in contrast, show the text, the illustrations, and all other elements of the design in paginated form. After the proofreading stage (see chapter 3), the typesetter will make any requested corrections and provide revised proofs if necessary.

The final output from the typesetter—usually in the form of laser proofs—reflects the electronic files exactly and should represent the work as the publisher wishes it to appear in print. (Instead of laser proofs, some typesetters may still provide a more traditional photographic output called repro, or reproduction copy.) The typesetter prepares desktop page layout files or, increasingly, PostScript (PS) or Portable Document Format (PDF) files as well as associated graphics and fonts. These files are checked for accuracy and completeness before they are sent to the printer for reproduction (see fig. A.8 for a checklist).