IPEd conference, part 1

In a major departure from my usual routine, I’ve just been to Brisbane for three days of professional development. Three days away from my desk, in the company of clever, passionate colleagues working hard to advance the profession of editing. It was invigorating, challenging and fabulous.

And, oh! I didn’t have to make my own lunch. And there was morning and afternoon tea! Heaven.

I attended the 8th biennial Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd) conference.

My first priority was hearing about thesis editing, so I attended a half-day workshop and three presentations, including a panel discussion. A series of themes emerged, notably the need to update IPEd’s guidelines for editing research theses. The guidelines prohibit ‘substantive editing’ of theses, as outlined in the Australian standards for editing practice. But there are very fine lines between ‘copyediting’, ‘heavy editing’ and ‘substantive editing’ – for both professional editors and their clients!

The guidelines also advise editors to return edited theses in PDF or hard copy. Only a tiny portion of delegates did this. Like me, everyone else returned Word documents containing tracked changes.

IPEd is setting up a panel to look into the issue, and it’s my strong hope that they’ll include the views of people who contract editors, especially PhD advisers and heads of faculties at Australian universities.

More on the IPEd conference in later posts.