Link to SfEP Home PageSfEP: Society for Editors and Proofreaders – upholding editorial excellence

Honorary president: Judith Butcher Honorary vice-president: David Crystal OBE

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SfEP Directory of Editorial Services: Some background

The SfEP Directory is where individual editors and proofreaders can publicise their services and showcase their experience and expertise. It's a key benefit of full membership of the Society. For publishers and other clients, it's an important source of accessible professional editorial talent. And for the Society itself, the directory is a valuable income stream.


A membership directory was one of the initial ideas put forward at the inaugural meeting of the Society on 26 November 1988. The first was printed and published only 18 months later. Almost 300 editors and proofreaders took an entry in it. Their subjects, qualifications, experience and facilities were listed and indexed to assist potential clients to find the right person for the job.

An updated print version of the directory appeared every year for the next 16 years.


Over the years, the directory has developed in response to rapid technological changes. Such changes have also had a profound effect on editors' working lives.

  • Email addresses appeared for the first time in 1993 – three of them, to be exact!
  • By 1996, some 22% of entries listed an email address and more than 80% of members in the directory owned a computer.
  • In 1997, the directory took its first steps on the road to becoming an online resource. Those early pages and those of the parent website itself can still be seen on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.
  • In 2003, the Society website (and therefore the online directory) established its own domain:
  • On 16 December 2004, the directory became fully searchable.
  • In 2006, the directory became an exclusively online resource, when the print version was gracefully retired.

An invaluable resource

The current online version has a number of advantages over the old print directory: it's easier for potential clients to search to find the expertise they need, and more straightforward (and much cheaper!) to update members' details.

The directory now includes 70% of full members and handles around 150 searches by potential clients every working day. Surveys and anecdotal evidence show that many members continue to obtain much of their work through the directory. Rod Cuff, directory manager since 2003, says that 'at one time it gave me all but two of my clients'. It remains absolutely central to both the SfEP and its members.

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Information on directory entries for SfEP members can be found in the Members' area.

Intermediate Members can advertise their skills and availability to the SfEP's membership through IM Available