Reference and Writing

Waiting for Superman to school citizens

November 10, 2010
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Waiting for Superman to school citizens

This week’s issue of the New York Review of Books takes a stance on a hot-button issue that just happens to be the subject of a major new documentary. If you watch Oprah, read the Nation or Time magazine, or, you know, listen to conversations with President Obama on the nightly news, you know that Davis Guggenheim, director of the Academy Award-winning film An Inconvenient Truth (shoutout to Al Gore and polar bears!), helms a new movie about the fate of public education in America and the plight of five children competing for admission to in-demand charter schools. Waiting for “Superman” paints a provocative portrait of the rise of a new generation of charter schools, many funded by the government but privately run, and each presenting an alternative to troubled U.S. public schools. But as Diane Ravitch notes in the NYRB article: Waiting for “Superman” and the other films appeal to a broad apprehension that the nation is falling behind in global competition. If the economy is a shambles, if poverty persists for significant segments of the population, if American kids are not as serious about their studies as their peers in other nations, the schools must be to blame. . . .

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So, um, what are you going to do with that?

November 4, 2010
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So, um, what are you going to do with that?

Here’s the thing about viral videos: take a snooze for a few days, righteously celebrate a pagan holiday, or watch an older and more conservative electorate radically alter the shape of the American political landscape, and you’re already a day late and a dollar short. This week, that video is Xtranormal’s “So You Want to Get a PhD in the Humanities?” Picked up across the web by sites as diverse as Open Culture, a peer-to-peer educational forum, and 3 Quarks Daily, an intelligent commentary webzine, as well as by blogger Scott McLemme and nearly every graduate English student’s Facebook feed, this satiric animated exchange between a tenured professor and an ambitious would-be Humanities PhD has pithily summarized long-brewing debates about the overcrowded academic job market, low-paying adjunct salaries, and grim prospects for those who, you know, continue to study the human in all of its endeavors. We might not have a ready solution to all that ails, here at Chicago, but we do have plenty of resources for students similarly driven. Andrew Roberts’s The Thinking Student’s Guide to College: 75 Tips for Getting a Better Education is a great prequel to that one-on-one conversation with professors near and dear around . . .

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Into the future with the Chicago Manual of Style

October 6, 2010
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Into the future with the Chicago Manual of Style

The new 16th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style has once again assured that Chicago is at the forefront of the publishing world, our advice and instructions fully up to date with the latest publishing practices—and sometimes even beyond, as this question posed to the the all-seeing, all-knowing CMOS Q&A demonstrates: Q. Dear Chicago Manual of Style, If, by using a time machine to go back in time, I’ve inadvertently changed the future, is there a way to make that clear with my verb tenses when I write my note of apology to the universe? For example, how do I refer to an event that happened in the recent past (Mars mission, Cubs’ world championship), but, because I messed up the time stream in the more distant past, now didn’t happen and won’t ever happen? (This is purely hypothetical: I would never jeopardize all of history merely to save myself from a particularly unfortunate high school haircut.) A. As it happens, because this question is so frequently asked, CMOS is currently developing the “temporal transitive” for the 17th edition of the Manual. In consultation with the linguists and physicists of the Chicago Hyper Tense Committee, led by Bryan Garner, . . .

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Autumn Leaves

October 1, 2010
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Autumn Leaves

Image by Rebecca Anne @ Flickr . . .

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CMOS 16 in the News

September 1, 2010
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CMOS 16 in the News

The reviews are in, and they’re all raves! One day after the official publication date of The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, the Chicago Tribune weighed in with a feature-length story about the new edition and the readers who love it. Steve Johnson, the Tribune‘s pop culture critic, writes: Bound, famously, in orange and thicker with each new edition, the 104-year-old reference classic has kept watch over the publication of hundreds of great books and thousands of not-so-great ones, an arbiter and aide-de-camp for editors trying to decide how to handle items in a list, punctuation within quotes or, these days, the proper hexadecimal code for the German double low-9 quotation mark (201E, as you probably suspected). The Tribune article also quotes Wendy McClure, an author and editor at Albert Whitman & Company: “I love that big, crazy, orange book.… It’s what I’ve turned to when I’m unsure about something when I’m proofreading. But also, when you have your first publishing job and are trying to figure out how this all works, you’ve got this whole big book you can plunge into.” The New York Times Paper Cuts blog chimed in with a “usage geek’s” take on what’s new . . .

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September’s free e-book brings the Manual‘s past into the present

September 1, 2010
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September’s free e-book brings the Manual‘s past into the present

With the release of the 16th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style the publishing world has reached another landmark. Though its predecessor, the fifteenth edition, was released but seven short years ago, technological innovations in publishing and the proliferation of new media platforms have continued to revolutionize the field, making the release of a new edition—a guidebook to this new digital frontier, if you will—a necessity. The first edition to be published simultaneously in print and online, the new sixteenth edition in both form and substance fully engages with the future of the publishing industry. But no matter how it may exhibit our editorial staff’s enthusiasm for change and flexibility, we haven’t forgotten our roots either. And to prove it were bringing a piece of the Manual‘s past into the present with this month’s free e-book: The Manual of Style: A Facsimile of the 1906 Edition. That’s right, its an electronic version of the first ever Manual of Style—all 214 pages of it, including specimens of type, ornaments, initials, and borders! And in two colors! Check back each month for more free e-books from the University of Chicago Press or for all our currently available e-books, see our complete . . .

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The Bible of the Publishing Industry and its #1 Evangelist

August 23, 2010
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The Bible of the Publishing Industry and its #1 Evangelist

Anita Samen, one of the many brilliant minds behind the new sixteenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style—and as managing editor at the press, also one of its foremost devotees, evangelists, and hermeneutists—made an appearance on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight last Thursday to discuss the new 16th edition and the updated CMOS online website. Check out the archived video below: See more about the book or check out some of the various subscription options for the Chicago Manual of Style Online. Or, get started by sampling some of the free content offered on the site including the Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide and the ever popular Q&A. . . .

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CMOS 16 Goes Digital

August 20, 2010
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CMOS 16 Goes Digital

And we’re live! The evening of August 17, Press IT staff flipped the so-called switch, and The Chicago Manual of Style Online, 16th Edition, was successfully launched to much fanfare from editors, writers, and style mavens alike. As the very first edition to be published simultaneously in print and online, this revision begins a fresh chapter in the hundred-year history of the venerable Manual. Much has changed since the last edition came out in 2003, and the sixteenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style has been reorganized to reflect the way publishing professionals work in the digital age. Replete with the clear, well-considered advice on style and usage that devotees of The Chicago Manual of Style have come to expect, the sixteenth edition also provides a wealth of new information and guidelines for electronic workflow and processes. After the launch, The Chicago Manual of Style Online subscribers automatically received the sixteenth-edition content update, while retaining their access to the fifteenth-edition content. Garrett Kiely, director of the Press, explains why. “We took this unusual step of keeping the previous edition available in our online product because of the way editors and authors work. Many will be involved in projects that . . .

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CMOS 16: Paper vs. pixels

August 17, 2010
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CMOS 16: Paper vs. pixels

It’s unofficially here! Though the official publication date is set for the 31, the new Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition rolled in to our warehouses not long ago, and then began rolling right back out the door and into the waiting hands of wordsmiths across the globe. Meanwhile our IT department officially flips the switch on the updated Chicago Manual of Style Online later on this evening—the first ever simultaneous release of both a physical and digital edition of the CMOS. This is certainly a cause for celebration, but with the increasing popularity of the online experience, one might begin to ponder the future of the CMOS‘s physical incarnation. Will we ever see a day in which most editors opt for mouse clicks and full text searches over thumbing through tables of contents and indexes? Though obviously embracing the digital medium, the New Yorker‘s Book Bench blogger Eileen Reynolds writes: Surely, someone must enjoy having the whole manual available at the click of of the mouse, but I’ll stick with the book. After spending so many hours squinting at a screen, trawling for information on the Internet, any excuse to pull a hefty tome off the shelf is a . . .

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For all those who didn’t know not “grounding your club in a bunker” was even a rule

August 16, 2010
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For all those who didn’t know not “grounding your club in a bunker” was even a rule

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