…and Last But Not Least: Fact Checking

March 1999
by Dan Poynter

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Nonfiction writers have long realized that they have a responsibility to their readers, to their own credibility and to history to check all the facts they repeat in their books. The challenge increases today due to the fast growth in our knowledge base and the quick changes in our technology. An interesting recent example will encourage us to add one more item to our checklist before we go to press.
At Para Publishing, we produce several publishing-industry books, reports, mailing lists and other databases. More important,we “maintain” them. This maintenance is becoming increasingly time consuming.
We recently returned to press with the 11th edition of The Self-Publishing Manual. Just prior to sending the revised pages off to Chris Nolt for typesetting, we spot checked some of the addresses. Alarmed, we asked the editor Karen Stedman to contact each supplier listed in the 62-page Resource Section. She discovered an astounding 85% of the addresses had changed in just 13 months!
Most changes were area codes. We all know that after a few months, the telephone companies replace the “change” recording with “That number is no longer in service.” Most people assume the company is out of business. It takes some detective work to find the new code and test it. Next to area codes, email addresses change often too. We found that many more companies have web sites to list. We even found some companies had new street addresses and some had gone out of busine…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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