What do you call a gathering of editors?

I attended the 6th IPEd National Editors Conference in Fremantle, Western Australia last week. Two-hundred-and-twenty editors from across the country came together to share in their love of language – and cry over the decline in its standards. Though as one editor put it, “We aren’t all cardigan-wearing, tea-sipping, introverted pedants.” I’m not sure everyone would agree.

But the negative stereotyping of editors aside, the conference was a wonderful opportunity to hear what’s happening in the editing industry (with plenty of discussion on the future of the national body) and to consider the place of editing in new developments in publishing and learning.

Highlights for me included:

  • Don Watson’s amusing yet terrifying critique of lifeless bureaucratic and business language (plenty of editors reaching for the razor blades after this one)
  • Nury Vittachi’s opening keynote address about English in Asia (did you know there are more English speakers in Asia than anywhere else?)
  • Useful tips from Katy McDevitt on blogging for editors
  • Roly Sussex’s overview of the openness of data, learning and information. I was particularly interested in the breadth of free online courses (some with accreditation) now available online. Check out www.edxonline.org as one example.
  • Agata Mrva-Montoya’s presentation on changes to how editors work with digital books (XHTML looks like the way to go)
  • and an inside-look at the nightmare that is editing geological maps.

The conference had something for everything and the team from the Society of Editors (WA) did an excellent job in pulling it all together and bringing such a large contingent to the West.

To find out more about the presentations and pick up some useful tips, visit the conference website, which has a number of blogs about the sessions.

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