Thursday, August 31, 2006

What's In a Word

The edit of The Rider's Back Book continues with relative smooth sailing. If all goes as planned, it will be finished by the end of the week.

One of the inherent difficulties in writing a book with an expert in the field is the fact that the expert is more familiar with specific terminology than the average bear. When I was working on the Photo Book project, I found myself awash in a sea of technical terminology. In the case of Dr. Warson, this means he can rattle off medical terms with the best of them.

While I was typing up the transcription of his notes, I ran across a few terms with which I was unfamiliar. Even if I think I know what he's saying, I make it a point to double check it.

One of my favorite resources for checking terminology, meanings, and the spelling of words is the One Look Dictionary. It has access to multiple online dictionaries in a variety of fields, including Medicine, Law, Arts, Business, and Science. It has a "reverse dictionary" feature that lets you look up a word to fit a meaning. It also allows you to type in a portion of a word and find correct spelling and usage. It's invaluable.

Most recently, the term in question was "vertical lumbar region." That's what I thought Dr. Warson said, but it didn't really make sense to me. I knew "vertical," "lumbar," and "region" were all spelled correctly, but had never heard of the term. (That's ok, I'd also never heard of "spondylolisthesis" before working on this book...)

I looked, but couldn't find any use of the term anywhere. The best I could come up with was "thoracolumbar region."

I contacted Dr. Warson for clarification -- "Thoracolumbar" it was.

When doing an edit, it is important -- essential -- to make sure that the words used are the correct ones. This means double-checking the spelling of all unfamiliar terms. It also means double-checking the meaning of words that you know are spelled right, but which are used in new and unfamiliar ways.

The words may be coming from the mouth of the expert. But I'm the conduit that they're coming through. I owe it to the book, and to Dr. Warson, to make sure that every one is as correct as I can make it.

Bye, Bye, Bogie...

Yesterday was a bad one here. We had to put our 15 year old dalmatian, Bogie, and our 18 year old cat Vincent to sleep. We've been limping them both along for quite some time. I knew neither of them would make it through the winter. Vincent was our first pet. And Bogie was my favorite dog ever. Sad, sad, sad... But our vet assured me that we'd made the right decision. Neither had been doing well or feeling well for quite a while. It was time. The house sure seems emptier, though...