Documentary Editing, Association for


Date of this Version


Document Type



ADE Newsletter: News of the Association for Documentary Editing, Volume 1, Numbers 1, March 1979


© 1979 The Association for Documentary Editing. Used by permission.


The present level of reviewing for our editions is, to my mind, lower than that of the editing itself. Leave aside the occasional critics, high priests of ipsissima verba, who bemoan our textual impurities; look at the average, run-of-the-mill review. It normally contains a paragraph of mild praise for the editing, a paragraph on what the editee, if there is such a word, was doing in the period covered (this can often be written from the jacket blurb), and a paragraph that points out a few errors or, for lack of them, challenges a few specific editorial comments. The result is a balanced concoction that in my op1n10n is as worthless for readers as it is for us editors. We need to have errors noted and particular judgments questioned whenever (which is not always) the reviewer knows enough about the subject. But what we need much more is an informed opinion about how we are doing our job. Are the standards of selection defensible? Is our annotation uniform or does it vary, perhaps unwittingly, with our view of the document's importance? What are the main editorial problems in the volume, and how have we met them? This kind of reviewing is not child's play. It requires reading most of the