Revising theory: a universal framework for the comprehensive editing of technical communications
Peterson, Natalie L.
University of Wisconsin-Stout
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Technical editing is an important process in the development of technical materials. Through an analysis of technical editing, two independent dichotomies are revealed: visual versus textual and specialized versus general. Previous editing systems have been practical and have included the Levels of Edit, a well-known system in the technical editing field. The Levels of Edit and similar systems were not developed to be a conceptual framework for thinking about editing, but rather a process to be used to edit technical manuscripts. Significant difference between different levels-of-edit systems were discovered through analysis. A universal, theoretical framework was developed that includes all tasks necessary to revise technical communication products. These tasks were classified by the different dichotomies and into different levels of editorial decision making. Different sources of editing tasks were found to be very incomplete. Using this framework, past editing systems were evaluated for completeness and potential bias. These editing systems were found to be biased towards textual editing tasks. Most editing systems were found to be biased towards general editing tasks.