Re: DANKER 3rd Ed / Alsop

Date: Fri Jun 19 1998 - 15:05:18 EDT

Concerning "GALLEY PROOFS" :

James Ernest wrote (absolutely accurately) about the current meaning of
"galley proofs." I would like to add a historical addendum, showing why
the term was used over several hundred years, just prior to computer-
generated books. (The end meaning is still the same, just as James
described it.) I presume to offer this explanation because I began setting
my own type for my own press six decades ago, and eventually became
a journeyman printer as a hobby.

Until recently, printing was primarily accomplished by setting movable
type--picking the pieces of lead type one by one from a "typecase" into
a "composing stick," preset to the width of line desired. (About a century
ago, newspapers began using the Mergenthaler Linotype, which actually casr
one line of type at a time, from melted lead, producing solid-lead lines,
instead of single letters lying together.) These lines of type were then
transferred, batch by batch to a "galley," which is something like a
cookie-tray with three sides, but open at the bottom. A galley might be as
long as 15-18 inches. A hand-roller spread printer's ink over the face of
this galley-ful of type, and then a sheet of paper was placed over the
typed, and pr4essed against the inked type with a roller. (Most shops had
a "proof-press," which somewhat simplified this process.) The result was
a printed sheet of paper (maybe 15-18 inches long). Galley after galley
was thus printed, until the whole work was set in type and printed.

But, as James Ernest points out, this is prior to dividing the work into
individual pages--which await all major corrections by the editor and the
author. The "galley proofs" were actually proofs printed from the type
still in galleys. This was often shortened to "galleys" instead of
"galley proofs." After all such corrections are made and agreed on, the
galleys can be divided into pages of the proper length, etc. Then
"page proofs" are run off, and sent to the author and copy editor. Authors
who introduce changes at this point are hated, loathed, and vilified by
publishers, who want to assume that the author has decided on the final
form of the work by the time the galleys were returned.

Twice I had books produced by the University of Chicago Press--the first
published by them (_The Book of the Judges of Israel_, 1950), the second
type-set by them [because it contained Hebrew type] for Southern Methodist
University Press (_A Stubborn Faith_, 1956), and I can certify that
James is telling the truth when he says that "Don't hold your breath"
is a fair interpretation when they say "now reading galleys."

Edward Hobbs
Wellesley College

------------------------------------- James Ernest wrote:---->>>>>>

Not to be pedantic, but I think Prof. W. is describing page proofs.
Galleys come sooner, after a design has been applied but before
anyone has seen to the correctness of line breaks, page breaks, etc.
With some books, the
galleys are where the author first sees and can respond to
changes introduced by the copy editor and the project editor and
to their queries, so a lot can still change at that point. After the
galleys are corrected, the content is presumably close enough to
final that the page breaks can be locked in and other design
elements finalized. So if you ask "when will the book be out"
and receive the answer "we are editing the galleys" I would
translate that roughly as "don't hold your breath."
--Different dialects are spoken at different publishing houses,
however, so a safer translation might be "Maybe we think we
know, but we aren't saying." :-)

James D. Ernest
Senior editor, academic books, Hendrickson Publishers
Ph.D. cand., Boston College
S-MAIL: c/o Hendrickson Publishers, 140 Summit Street,
  P. O. Box 3473, Peabody, MA 01961-3473 USA
FAX: 978/573-8243 PHONE: 978/573-2243

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