Friday, July 18, 2014

How Not to Write an Article

Before you start writing,  decide the purpose of your article or your thoughts may be scattered!

What is your purpose in writing the article?

Is it to review the literature, post an opinion, document original research, or to advertise a service or product? Do not try to hide your purpose, it will show up in the product!

Have a few targets in mind, but understand the difference between a blog (max at 700 words, but the most popular  blog posts are under 600 words) and an article in a peer-reviewed journal, which may not allow citations to secondary sources, opinions, blogs, etc. If you are writing a blog, check the length of the most successful blogs posts. If you are writing an article, try to stick to the word count, going over has impacts beyond ones you might think of in our online world and interfere with sponsorship.

Check out the complete "Instructions for Authors" before you start writing, including any footnotes or hyperlinks now as it will save you much time in redoing later! Collect the appropriate data from the onset, or you will be doing it on the back-end, and taking a ton of time to reinvent your wheel! Double check your links as you go, as unless you have much experience as a webmaster, it may be difficult to trace intended links.

The more you read your text, the more you may read over typos, but do not forget about the
hidden information included with any file, like a file's attributes or what I think is a much broader concept, the file's metadata.

Be aware of the hidden data elements of a file. I had completely forgotten about attributes of files until I worked on an article with my mentor of 40+ years and noticed a third name in our two-author article! Our names were not included but another name was. No matter what I tried, this third name would come up and I could not help but wonder, Why? I am still not positive per the "why?"

File attributes have been around since the days of DOS, but metadata is a broader and more recent term.  A file has data connected with it, to describe the file. This data is called "metadata" and includes the author's name. I used to change "attributes" on a file by adding  terms like Read-Only, Write, etc, and had forgotten about metadata, etc., and hidden information tagged on to file. The file information may be hidden, but most journals want the author field blank in regard to metadata, and for sure one would not want one author's name on the hidden file and another set of authors on the visible file!

If you are submitting an article as "anonymous," you are defeating your purpose if a name appears in the metadata. Some of the hidden data can be changed, some can not.

For example, in Windows, if one right clicks on a file, the attributes of the file appear, usually in a box. In both Microsoft Word and Open Office (open source), the metadata appears in each file, again on right clicking and then selecting "properties" of that file, then clicking on the various tabs including the "security" tab.

I am noticing that it is very easy to make changes in a document in Word, but Open Office is my choice for making the best PDF Files. Since I have been moving the text from Word to Open Office and back again, I have much extra code on my manuscript which needs to be as my mentor states,

He copies and pastes the text into another Word file, I would write my document in simple HTML, look at it in a web browser, and copy and paste into my target word processing application as it is easier for me to write code in very simple HTML using notebook and hand coding, than to edit in any word processing program, especially features like tables!

I right clicked on a file called Blank 39 (below) and the dialog box opened with the last option as "properties." Click on "properties" and then tab over to "security," and check out the information.

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