EAC Publications and the new Editing Canadian English (EAC conference 2013)

EAC’s Publications Committee gave us an update on its activities, primarily on its work developing a new edition of Editing Canadian English. The second edition of ECE is showing its age, said editor-in-chief Karen Virag, and it’s due for a revision. The committee gathered teams of experienced editors to go over every chapter of ECE, word by word, and make recommendations on the content, addressing such questions as whether there is such a thing as Canadian usage of punctuation. In keeping with the trend of similar language resources, the next edition of ECE will be exclusively online. Subscriptions will cost $30 per year, and it will launch in 2014.

Beth Macfie, one of the managing editors, then explained how the committee has spent the last year and a half analyzing the existing ECE to figure out how to make it into a modern product. The title of the new publication will be Editing Canadian English: The Guide for Editors, Writers, and Everyone Who Works with Words, to emphasize that it is aimed at a much broader audience than just editors. ECE will explain what Canadian English is, how to handle special situations in language, and where to find additional information. The publication will feature sections about

  • editorial roles
  • editorial niches
  • an editor’s legal responsibilities (including in cases of subcontracting) and where to keep up to date on new legal developments
  • Canadian usage
  • inclusive language
  • spelling
  • compounds and hyphenation
  • capitalization
  • abbreviation
  • punctuation
  • measurements
  • documentation
  • working with bilingual documents

The new edition’s electronic format will allow the Publications Committee to update and annotate the content as time goes by. The aim, explained Macfie, is to provide something that no other publication provides.

Over the next year, as the publication takes shape, the committee will need more researchers and writers, copy editors, proofreaders, and beta testers.

Finally, production editor Carolyn Pisani gave us a glimpse of how this new publication will be implemented. She recruited volunteers to test existing databases that provide a similar reference function, using the resources as they were working to get a sense of the systems’ advantages and disadvantages in applied, real-world situations. Volunteers answered an eight-question survey to evaluate these databases for writing and editing, including

  • What makes this online database user friendly?
  • What did you like in terms of ease of use, thoroughness, etc.?
  • What seemed to be missing? What didn’t you like?

Pisani is compiling this feedback and will work together with EAC’s executive director, Carolyn Burke, to find a team that can handle the technological implementation of the new ECE.


Certification Steering Committee co-chairs Anne Brennan and Janice Dyer also presented at the same plenary session, but whatever I have not written about before will be covered in important updates to the Certification section of the EAC website. I’ll tweet or post the link once the updates have happened.

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