Books for the News, Reference and Writing

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 the finer points of style. The Q&A feature of the manual’s current web site already gets 100,000 to 150,000 visitors a month, according to the press, which augers well for the online edition. … The editor-blogger who runs the site India, Ink expressed her joy in a recent post. “CMS 15 CD-ROM OMG!!!” was the headline. “Dudes!” she told her readers. “This is huge!”

OMG, huge indeed. Try the online version for yourself.