CMOS 16: Paper vs. pixels

August 17, 2010
By

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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 welcome relief. Is there anything not contained in that sprawling index? Any question that cannot be answered in those 1,040 crisp pages?
Reading about online publishing in a giant book provides a strange tickle of pleasure; it’s not unlike that moment of prurient curiosity one feels upon glimpsing a dirty word in Webster’s dictionary. (If you must know, the glossary of the Chicago Manual contains entries for “hypertext,” “web browser,” and—yes—”Internet.”) And this peculiar note about citations for blog comments is sure to bring a smile to any blogger’s face:
There is no need to add pseud. after an apparently fictitious name of a commenter; if known, the identity can be given in the text or in the citation (in square brackets).
If only we could know what Strunk and White would have had to say about these strange times.

Read the full post at the Book Bench blog.
Also check out The Chicago Manual of Style Online for yourself as well as all the free content for writers and editors—no subscription necessary. Or read more about the 16th edition.

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