I am a freelancer in the publishing industry, so words are very important to me. I'm a leftist living in a world gone mad, so politics are very important to me. I'm an environmentalist living in a degrading world, so pick up your damn trash, get rid of your gas guzzlers, and don't touch ANWR, you self-absorbed capitalists!

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19 April 2007

This--We Can Offshore*

Originally uploaded by friuduric.

All of my clients' work includes references. Most of my projects style References as numbered, in citation order (that is, the first paper cited in the body of the article is 1, the thirty-first reference cited is 31, and so on). Another chunk of projects don't number, but list the cited papers in alphabetical order in the Reference section. Both of these styles are easy to check. Either I skip merrily through the paper, searching for superscripts (keeping track of the series as I go), and easily notice when there's a problem: 21, 22, 24--oops! they must have cut some material for the final version, losing a citation in the process! Or I check each in-text author group name (Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe 2003) with the alphabetized list in the back--either it's there, between Dance and Tsing 1996 and Kicken and Screemin 2007, or it isn't.

One client, however, numbers the references in the Reference section, but the numbering only represents its alphabetical placement. For example, they may begin the Introduction by citing work by Zapata and colleagues, but the citation number, instead of being 1, is 137 (seeing as Zapata happens to be last of the 137 references, alphabetically).

This isn't normally a big deal when there are 137 references--or even when there are 214. I've made up a grid, and I do the whole "search for superscripts" thing, but mark off the citations in the grid as I go, rather than keep track of an increasing number list in my head.

Every two years or so, there's a doozy of an article, with upwards of 593 references to check. This is not fun, my friends, not fun at all. And it's what I was doing earlier this week. Click on the picture (and view the large size), you'll see, I'm not joking about the number of references.

*In light of my past experiences with hubris, let me make clear that I DO NOT wish to lose this client to an offshore outfit, I DO NOT. It's just the 600-ref reference check part that I don't mind offshoring. Just so we're all clear. OK? Gods of Fickle Hubris, are you listening? (OMG, what have I done?!)