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Humanist Archives: July 31, 2019, 8:07 a.m. Humanist 33.158 - getting the word out

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 158.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
                Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org

        Date: 2019-07-30 14:18:46+00:00
        From: Samuel Huskey 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 33.152: an editorial: getting the word out

Dear Willard,

Thank you for your editorial, which is applicable beyond just the Humanist list.
For example, for nearly two decades I have been involved with the processing of
abstracts for the annual meetings of some learned societies. The majority of
submissions require little reformatting, but many still have serious issues,
often because authors continue to type, not enter, their text. That is, it is
still common to see a hard return at the end of every line of a paragraph, as
though there's a bell that dings and a carriage that needs to be returned to its
base position. Page numbers are inserted manually. The liberal use of the tab
key and space bar to achieve a certain look is also very common. To a certain
extent, modern word processing applications contribute to these habits, since
they encourage users to combine content with typographic style, but there are
right and wrong ways to achieve the expected results.

The upside of this, at least for me, is that I have had an excellent reason to
learn about writing scripts and using Regular Expressions to automate a lot of
the cleanup work. But I agree that it would be better if people would keep it
simple, particularly in a plain text setting such as email.



Samuel J. Huskey
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Classics and Letters
University of Oklahoma
650 Parrington Oval, CARN 109
Norman, OK 73019
(405) 325-0490


                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 152.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
                Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org

        Date: 2019-07-24 06:50:02+00:00
        From: Willard McCarty 
        Subject: getting the word out

The basic argument I would advance this London morning is that typography
and layout of postings should matter to the sender -- if, that is, the
sender actually wishes them to be read with interest, or at all.

Many messages come to Humanist so poorly formatted that were I to send
them out as is not only would they not be read but also, I fear,
Humanist would so disappoint its members that it would quickly cease to
exist. Safe Links and its kind are only part of the problem;
monolingually conceived software mechanisms also contribute (still, in
2019!). The biggest part, however, is due to thoughtless cut-and-paste
or forwarding of messages containing graphics, which in general do not
survive well. Frustrating for me are over-linked messages, in which,
it often seems, every other reference to anything is hyperlinked -- as
if the intent were to make sure that reading of the posted words never
happens. It seems that early enthusiasm for hypertext has settled into a
chronic ailment.

So, I would urge everyone to go for the lowest common denominator of
encoding so that as messages thread their way through the various
systems they suffer the least amount of damage, encourage the greatest
amount of reading -- and cause me the least amount of work.

To be entirely fair, however, it should be noted that, in Summer, temperatures
do rise and patience (even of your Editor) evaporates. Londoners are currently
suffering in a heat-wave; today, temperatures may set an historical record.
I do not enjoy air-conditioning. :-(


Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/),
Professor emeritus, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College
London; Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews
(www.tandfonline.com/loi/yisr20) and
Humanist (www.dhhumanist.org)

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