Tonight, is the eve of my last day as ECQC – an Electronic Content Quality Controller. Exactly five and a half years ago, I gave up the day to day drudgery of data entry and temp jobs to leap headlong into science publishing as the then Blackwell Science’s first ever Electronic Content QA Assistant. It was a nicely timed move, being just two weeks before Christmas; my second day was the departmental Christmas lunch; and I got paid for the long Christmas ‘Millennium’ holidays. The job itself was dull-dumb in the extreme. Scrolling through pages of badly formatted html finding countless errors that no one’s ever going to fix in a million years. Still, I found a way and within a month was writing the procedural documents to enable better QA. Interest came along in the guise of Joanna Rewcastle SGML-in team, and that, led to doing backconversion for Information Press and thus, into the world of QC. For the life of me I don’t know why we continue to persist with the acronyms of QC and QA to signify, firstly the electronic production of the journal, and secondly the checking of what you’ve created, when surely Quality Control and Quality Assurance are to all instances the same thing?!!

Still persist we do, and five and half years later it is at the same time, both a very different, and strangely similar world. So, tomorrow, five and half years (to the day) since I left my 10 month stint of address cleaning at OUP, I shall parse my last batch, and bid the world of Synergy goodnight. On Monday morning I shall return to my (same) desk, and take up the Production Editor’s red pen and BEES file for the Linnean Society’s three journals.

Tomorrow, by way of celebration, we are going out to lunch at the very nice Mole Inn – real restaurant quality food at pub prices in a delightful setting…