Reference and Writing

In the News: The Chicago Manual of Style Online

September 29, 2006
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In the News: The Chicago Manual of Style Online

The online publication of The Chicago Manual of Style sparked pre-release feature stories in several publications including the New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education, heralding the transformation of a venerable reference work into a digital tool. From yesterday’s story in the Times: Starting tomorrow the manual—sometimes known as publishing’s Miss Manners—will be available online by subscription, meaning that those who need to know, pronto, whether it is ever all right to capitalize the first letters of e. e. cumming’s name will no longer have to search through the more than 956-page volume to find the answer.… And if you listen to Anita Samen, managing editor of the press’s books division, having the manual online is going to revolutionize the way its users, who include writers, editors, and publishers, work. ‘You can consult it on the fly,’ she said, ‘so you are free to do your writing and editing without having to retain huge numbers of rules in your head.’ The article in the Chronicle of Higher Education also focused on the potential of the Manual‘s electronic versions: The press hopes to build a virtual community surrounding the new online version, a space in which editors can debate . . .

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Press Release: Lipson, Cite Right

September 20, 2006
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Press Release: Lipson, Cite Right

Charles Lipson demystifies the process of preparing citations in research writing in his latest book, Cite Right: A Quick Guide to Citation Styles—MLA, APA, Chicago, the Sciences, Professions, and More. With the humorous, no-nonsense approach he is known for, Lipson offers sound advice for citing in every major style, including Chicago; MLA; APA; CSE (biological sciences); AMA (medical sciences); ACS (chemistry, mathematics, and computer science); physics, astrophysics, and astronomy; Bluebook and ALWD (law); and AAA (anthropology and ethnography). Using simple, easy-to-understand examples from a wide range of courses in the arts, law, and medicine, Cite Right offers an unparalleled range of information on how—and why—it’s so important to cite correctly. At $10 in paperback, no student or researcher can afford to write without it. Read the press release. . . .

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An endangered species of publishing

August 2, 2006
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An endangered species of publishing

An article in the August 4 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education quotes Susan Bielstein, our executive editor for art and architecture: “The art monograph is now seriously endangered and could well outpace the silvery minnow in its rush to extinction.” Publishing art monographs is financially challenging, for the author and for the publisher. To obtain an image of a work of art suitable for reproduction, the author usually has to pay a permission fee to the owner of the work—a museum, say—even if the work itself is in the public domain. An author might shell out tens of thousands of dollars for such fees. Costs are high for the publisher as well, what with color illustrations, coated paper stock, and the durable binding needed for a hefty, oversized book. The CHE article discusses the state of art-history publishing at several university presses and a forthcoming Mellon-funded report, “Art History and Its Publications in the Electronic Age.” The article concludes: “All parties agree that it is harder than ever to navigate what Ms. Bielstein calls ‘the ecosystem of rights publishing.’ What’s fair use? Should a museum be able to charge for a reproducible image of an out-of-copyright object in . . .

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Review: Bielstein, Permissions, A Survival Guide

May 16, 2006
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Review: Bielstein, Permissions, A Survival Guide

Museum News has praised Susan M. Bielstein’s Permissions, A Survival Guide: Blunt Talk about Art as Intellectual Property. From the review: " gives life to what could be the driest subject ever with chapters such as ‘Permissions: A Love Story,’ ‘Privacy Woes and the Duchess of York,’ and ‘Doing and Saying Whatever It Takes.’ And besides enjoying the tongue-in-cheek prose, readers will learn how to determine if an artwork is copyrighted, how to get a high-quality reproduction, and what ‘fair use’ is." If a picture is worth a thousand words, then it’s a good bet that at least half of those words relate to the picture’s copyright status. Art historians, artists, and anyone who wants to use the images of others will find themselves awash in byzantine legal terms, constantly evolving copyright law, varying interpretations by museums and estates, and despair over the complexity of the whole situation. Susan Bielstein offers her decades of experience as an editor working with illustrated books. In doing so, she unsnarls the threads of permissions that have ensnared scholars, critics, and artists for years. . . .

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Gapers Block highlights The Encyclopedia of Chicago

May 12, 2006
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Gapers Block highlights The Encyclopedia of Chicago

Today, Gapers Block highlights the Encyclopedia of Chicago Web site. Brush up on Chicago trivia by visiting the special features section of the site, which features essays, maps, photo galleries, indices, timelines, and tables. If you’re impressed by the Web site, be sure to check out The Encyclopedia of Chicago book. At 1152 pages, it’s the definitive historical reference on metropolitan Chicago. If you think you know how Chicago got its name, if you have always wondered how the Chicago Fire actually started and how it spread, if you have ever marveled at the Sears Tower or the reversal of the Chicago River—if you have affection, admiration, and appreciation for this City of the Big Shoulders, this Wild Onion, this Urbs in Horto, then The Encyclopedia of Chicago is for you. . . .

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Review: Stow, Oceans

April 11, 2006
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Review: Stow, Oceans

Library Journal‘s new issue features a nice review of Dorrik Stow’s Oceans: An Illustrated Reference: "This authoritative reference work presents a thorough overview of the physical, geological, chemical, and biological properties of the world’s oceans.… Stow’s up-to-date and well-organized volume would make a valuable introduction to a huge field of knowledge and is therefore recommended for high school, public, and academic libraries." Although the oceans are vast, their resources are finite. Oceans clearly presents the future challenge to us all—that of ensuring that our common ocean heritage is duly respected, wisely managed, and carefully harnessed for the benefit of the whole planet. Lavishly illustrated and filled with current research, Oceans is a step in that direction: a rich, magnificent, and illuminating volume for anyone who has ever heard the siren song of the sea. . . .

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Review: Dorrik Stow, Oceans

March 28, 2006
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Review: Dorrik Stow, Oceans

The New Scientist has praised Dorrik Stow’s Oceans: An Illustrated Reference. From the review by Adrian Barnett: "From sun-drenched atolls to the ice-capped Arctic, Oceans provides a photo-packed history of the seas, their geology, geochemistry and physics, their cycles and circulations. In elegant prose, Stow examines marine life in all its glorious strangeness and extreme abundance. He covers major areas of oceanographic research, including sociology, anthropology and archaeology, revealing how much we know, and the enormous amount we don’t. Helped by lots of colour photographs and explanatory diagrams, charts and maps, this is a splendid, fact-packed read." . . .

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While discussing matters of style

March 6, 2006
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While discussing matters of style

Okay, we admit to occasionally reading the blog of Mimi Smartypants. She works in Chicago, for one thing, and so we are just trying to stay hip to the blogging scene in Chicago. It’s more than that though. As noted by Rebecca J. Roberts in the JournalStar of Lincoln, NE—a town whose hipness is vastly underrated—Ms. Smartypants is “unashamedly articulate and intelligent, with a twisted bent—someone you want to drink yourself silly with on dollar beers while discussing The Chicago Manual of Style and obsessive-compulsive disorder and oral sex, possibly all at the same time.” And you know how we like to talk about The Chicago Manual of Style. . . .

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Chicago Manual of Style Q&A

March 1, 2006
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Chicago Manual of Style Q&A

Clear, concise, and replete with commonsense advice, the fifteenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition offers the wisdom of a hundred years of editorial practice while including a wealth of new topics and updated perspectives. For anyone who works with words, in any medium, this continues to be the one reference book you simply must have. However, even at nearly 1,000 pages, The Chicago Manual of Style can’t cover every detail. The Chicago Manual of Style Web site features a Q&A page, where the University of Chicago Press’s manuscript editing department interprets the Manual‘s recommendations and uncoils its intricacies. Anyone can submit a question to the Q&A. Every month new questions are featured—and answered—on the site. Here are some recent Q&As: Q. A colleague insists that this sentence is both ungrammatical and misuses a metaphor: "One of the major benefits of cloned stem cells could be as a more accurate window on diseases." While I think the sentence is clumsy, I don’t see the mistake in grammar. And, while "accurate window" also isn’t elegant, a quick search on the Web turned up plenty of uses of "accurate window" on reputable academic and government agency sites. Who’s right? . . .

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