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Department for General Assembly and Conference Management

Copy Preparation and Proofreading Section

The responsibilities of the Copy Preparation and Proofreading Section include electronic copy preparation, layout/desktop publishing, proofreading and electronic output creation for black and white and colour publications, public information materials, and archival documents.  All materials are set out in accordance with United Nations typographical and editorial standards.  As an aggregate for the Section’s basic tasks of copy preparation, proofreading, and desk-top publishing, the actual reported production total for 2008-2009 was over 478,000 pages; the estimated total for the biennium 2010-2011 is over 530,000 pages.

Within the field of layout/desktop publishing the duties of the Section comprises conversion of various file formats to the required format, the placement of “cleaned-up” files into the appropriate application (mostly from MS Office formats into desktop publishing and graphic design software applications), the manipulation of images, graphics, text, and tables, and formatting in accordance with the typographical specifications provided by the copy preparers.  All required adjustments in page layout geometry and design are made, including justification of pages, balancing of columns, and – last but least – colour consistency. A complete set of proofs is the end result of that collaboration.

The proofreading stage of the work involves reading the set of page proofs against the original manuscript in order to ensure that the printed version is an exact, accurate transcription of the file.  Corrections are made for spelling, grammar, style, and typography, and the language texts are concorded (that is, read against each other) in order to verify that all say the same thing.  Corrections are then incorporated electronically and, once more, the proofreaders check the new proofs to confirm that all changes have been made.  The document file is then converted into an output form, which may be print, web-based or electronic publishing (ePub).  A digital file is also produced, ready for commercial printing via computer-to-plate technology (called CTP) and/or uploaded to the Official Document System and, increasingly these days, to digital content providers.

That final point represents the greatest growth area and the greatest challenge for the Section as all United Nations publishing activities move into the twenty-first century and take advantage of newly available technologies.  Member States, delegates, Secretariat staff and the public – are increasingly eager to receive texts in electronic format and to be able to read them on hand-held devices.  The Section moves with the times.


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Last Update: 23 May 2011 / Razmee APPADU