Words matter: Systemic exclusion of women and their work
CyberText Blog
by Rhonda
1d ago
For many years now I’ve been hunting down various branches of my family tree (thank goodness for the internet!). Most recently, the US census forms from 1950 were released and made available to Ancestry.com members who have a subscription to the US data. Over the past couple of years, various states’ census forms have gradually become available on Ancestry as they’ve been converted/transcribed. I’ve got a fairly extensive branch of my family tree in the US, so I’ve been gradually checking my records and adding the 1950 US census information, if I can find it. And if there’s other information m ..read more
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Word: Find lower case letter after an opening quote mark and change to upper case
CyberText Blog
by Rhonda
4d ago
In one of the Facebook editors’ groups, someone asked: ‘[The author] presents dialogue like this — no capitalisation of the first letter, “a lovely day for it, isn’t it my dear.” Is there a way to change all the first letters of dialogue to upper case or is it just a matter of handling each one as it comes?/ You can use a wildcard find and replace to achieve this, but there are a couple of things you need to be aware of before deciding if this is what you want to do: Unless you’re using ‘straight’ quote marks, you’ll have to copy/paste the opening quote mark used at the beginning of phrases l ..read more
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Another bit of bragging
CyberText Blog
by Rhonda
6d ago
Another document I edited late last year is now publicly available: https://library.dpird.wa.gov.au/bulletins/281/ (it’s a nearly 30 MB PDF download from that page, which is why I haven’t linked to it directly). Unlike the one released to the public last December, this one was for a Western Australian government department and is a 360p document on the geology, soils and climate of the wine-growing regions of the south-west of Western Australia. I found it fascinating to edit for several reasons: I grew up in the south-west, and have lived in several of the wine regions discussed: specificall ..read more
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Word: Macro to convert one set of styles to another (revised)
CyberText Blog
by Rhonda
1w ago
A few years ago, I wrote a blog post about a VBA macro to convert one set of style names to another set of names in Word. One of my readers had an issue where the macro stopped running when it came across a situation where there was no existing style name that needed to be replaced with the new style name. I’d also come across this, but had ignored it and fixed up those mismatches manually. But because I was asked the question, I used ChatGPT to see if it could offer a starting point for identify some VBA code that could ignore the ones not found. This gave my reader enough information to revi ..read more
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ChatGPT: Some uses for editors
CyberText Blog
by Rhonda
1w ago
After doing a few ChatGPT experiments recently and having a lengthy Zoom discussion yesterday with a fellow freelance Canadian editor, I have some initial thoughts on how editors can use this as another tool in their suite of editing tools. And just like any other tool (e.g. PerfectIt, Editors Toolkit, even Word’s find and replace and spellchecker) the results ChatGPT (and similar AI tools) suggests should be used judiciously and with a human eye and brain involved—keep what fits your purpose and the context, and ignore the rest. And if you don’t want to use it, don’t. Some people eschew looki ..read more
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ChatGPT: Writing Word VBA macro code: Another use for editors
CyberText Blog
by Rhonda
1w ago
In a comment on a blog post I wrote about using a macro to globally change certain style names to other style names (https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2018/09/11/word-macro-to-convert-from-one-style-to-another/), Joseph reported getting an error where a specific style name was not found. He asked if there was a way to avoid this. After looking through more than 100 results for my search term—Word macro line to exclude an unfound style—and finding nothing that was suitable, I decided to try ChatGPT as I’d read that it was pretty good at writing and analysing code. I reworded my request a little t ..read more
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Remembering things I thought I’d forgotten
CyberText Blog
by Rhonda
1w ago
In a discussion with a work colleague today, something came up about consistency and setting up a taxonomy (for want of a better term) where the preferred spelling, usage, etc. of a term was established. For example, in a list of authors for a reference list you could have the same person represented as Brown, S; Brown SD; Brown, Sue; Brown, Susan Diana; Brown, S Diana; Brown, Susan D; or any other combination depending on whether you included periods and/or spaces for initials (e.g. Brown, S. D. versus Brown, S.D. versus Brown, SD). And if this person married later and took her spouse’s surna ..read more
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ChatGPT is not the only AI writing tool
CyberText Blog
by Rhonda
1w ago
ChatGPT has been receiving a lot of publicity since its public beta launch in November 2022. But using AI (specifically ‘large language models’ [LLMs]) for some writing tasks has been around for a long time. At least 10—possibly 20—years ago, I heard of machine translation (MT) tools when I was working as a technical writer in the computer software industry. For those having to translate user manuals into multiple languages (as required by the EU etc.), these tools were essential for dealing with the repetitious stuff (translate once, re-use many times). Sure, they had their issues, but over t ..read more
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Using ChatGPT to write editorial notes: Remove from acknowledgements
CyberText Blog
by Rhonda
2w ago
One request I see quite regularly in the various Facebook editors’ groups that I’m a member of, is for others to help an editor phrase an email to the author explicitly asking them NOT to include the editor’s name in the acknowledgements*. There can be many reasons an editor doesn’t want to be acknowledged, including not wanting to be associated with the work because of the topic, or perhaps because the author refused to accept or adopt most of the editor’s suggestions and so it’s not work they’d be proud to promote. Whatever the reason, it’s best if the issue is dealt with before work even st ..read more
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Getting linked to from Gizmodo
CyberText Blog
by Rhonda
2w ago
Lucas Ropek, a writer at the tech news website Gizmodo wrote an article a few days ago on 10 things that ChatGPT can and can’t do well. The original article on the .com website is a click-through carousel of each thing, but the Australian site lists them all in one page: https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2023/01/10-things-chatgpt-can-and-cant-do/ So why am I writing about this? Because in the first paragraph, Lucas links to a post I wrote last month on testing ChatGPT for editorial tasks, specifically ‘unpacking’ a dense piece of rambling text. That post is here: https://cybertext.wordpress.com ..read more
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