Technology often provides essential tools for manuscript editors. Software programs and various devices can help us to work more efficiently and to work far from the office setting. Elizabeth Blake, of Inera, is a perfect example of how an editor can achieve work–life harmony with technology.
Liz began her career with a college major in psychology and a focus on neurobiology and experimental psychology. Her first foray into biomedical communication was as a copyeditor and then as the managing editor for Cell Press with the journal Neuron. She participated in the publisher’s beta testing of eXtyles, an editorial and XML software product developed by Inera, which works within Microsoft Word to automate some document cleanup, structuring, and copy-editing tasks.
Liz didn’t move directly to Inera, however. Her next step found her as a manuscript editor for the New England Journal of Medicine. After a stint there, Liz decided that she wanted a life change—one that would take her from the city of Boston to the beauty and peacefulness of a town in southern Maine.
After freelance editing for a bit, Liz reached out to Bruce Rosenblum, the CEO of Inera and developer of eXtyles, with whom she had worked during her time at Cell Press. She has now been working with eXtyles at Inera for more than 10 years. Her current title is director of business development; this position includes sales and marketing, product management, and serving as a customer advocate during discussions of new and enhanced eXtyles features. Who better to help to manage the development of editing software than a manuscript editor?
Liz works from her quiet Maine home most of the time, commuting to Inera’s main office in Boston about one day a week. One of the great perks of her job is the travel she undertakes for customer site visits. She has traveled all over North America and Europe, her favorite route being a regular detour between Europe and Maine through Iceland. She enjoys the opportunity that her job gives her to work with people all over the world. In addition, Liz often presents a session on “Word Tips for Editors” at the CSE annual meeting.
Liz has found that the Web in particular is a valuable resource for people who have focused interests, such as her unique interest in perfumes. Online she has found a community of like-minded perfume enthusiasts (“so I don’t have to bore my family and friends with my obsession”). Her less-technical interests also include bird watching and art history.
“I am interested in technology as a means to an end and always think about the user experience,” she notes. Liz enjoys helping people to learn to work more efficiently and is always on the lookout for ways to keep up with electronic-publishing trends.
STACY CHRISTIANSEN is director of manuscript editing at JAMA, Chicago, Illinois.