Reference and Writing

Lighten up with the Chicago Style Q&A

October 7, 2008
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Lighten up with the Chicago Style Q&A

The stock market goes up, the stock market goes down. Presidents are elected, impeached, and succeeded. The world we know is transient. One of the less-transient things in the world is the Chicago Manual of Style Q&A. Really. The manuscript editors from the University of Chicago Press have been answering style questions online for more than ten years. Why, that was two stock market bubbles ago! And throughout they seem to have kept their sense of humor: Q. My colleagues are divided in their opinions about “storing data in a computer” versus “storing data on a computer.” Which is correct? Thanks. A. You can do either, but I would store the data in the computer. It used to be easy to store stuff on a computer, but now with flat screens and laptops it tends to slide off. Read more on the CMOS Online website. . . .

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The labyrinthine world of copyright law

August 15, 2008
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The labyrinthine world of copyright law

Eugene G. Schwartz offers an excellent review of Susan Bielstein’s guide through the labyrinthine world of visual image copyright law, Permissions, A Survival Guide: Blunt Talk about Art as Intellectual Property, for his latest posting on ForeWord magazine’s Publishing Matters blog: Before the internet, and especially before desk top publishing, you pretty much had to work with physical copies of things.… This imposed a variety of practical barriers that kept the leakage of rights to a minimum and concentrated its more substantial flow in the hands of professional thieves. All of that has changed—and with the low cost and ubiquity of scanners, cell phone cameras… gate-keeping the rights of images is like keeping a safe deposit box in a room with an open window. Nonetheless, the publishing industry still relies on copyright law as the foundation of its economic viability. As all who read ForeWord well know, publishers have struggled to cope with establishing rights in an electronic world, and authors and agents have been pushing back while warily going with the flow. All of this leads to a book I’d like to recommend to any of you who are interested in the subject, and especially if you deal . . .

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Press Release: Lerer, Children’s Literature

June 2, 2008
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Press Release: Lerer, Children’s Literature

In Children’s Literature: A Reader’s History from Aesop to Harry Potter, Seth Lerer tells us the bedtime story of Western culture’s obsession with books for the young. He traces the transformative power of literature across centuries, from the moralizing allegories of antiquity to the swashbuckling epics of the nineteenth century and the acerbic self-awareness of Judy Blume and Weetzie Bat. Written with the panoramic scope of a distinguished scholar and the affection of a parent and avid reader, Children’s Literature reminds us of the sublime power of books in an era when videogames, MySpace, and text messaging compete for the free time of our youth. Read the press release. . . .

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Lipson on Succeeding as an International Student

April 22, 2008
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Lipson on Succeeding as an International Student

The University of Chicago News Office has posted a podcast featuring Charles Lipson, author of Succeeding as an International Student in the United States and Canada speaking about his new book. In the podcast, Lipson addresses many of the hot button topics for foreign students trying to adapt to life in the United States and Canada, both in and beyond the classroom. From the norms of classroom participation to obtaining health insurance, Lipson covers what students need to know to have a successful and enjoyable adventure as an international student. To find out more listen to the podcast or see this special website for the book featuring reviews, info on institutional use, and an excerpt from the book, “Passports and Visas: A Quick Overview.” . . .

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The Miss Manners of Chicago Style

June 1, 2007
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The Miss Manners of Chicago Style

Today’s issue of the the Chicago Reader—the Spring Books Special—has a nice little feature about the writer of The Chicago Manual of Style Q&A. But if you’re hoping that the identity of the Q&A writer will at long last be revealed to all the world … you’ll be disappointed to learn that the woman behind the wit of the Q&A has adopted a pseudonym, Jody Fisher. Every month new entries are published to the The Chicago Manual of Style Q&A. Here’s one from this month’s lot: Q. Is it really necessary to include “as” before “per”? For example, “Client has requested, as per original agreement, two hard copies of all reports.” Since “per” means “according to,” can’t we just delete the unnecessary (and wordy-looking) “as”? Thank you, great gurus, for your wisdom! A. It is not necessary to add “as.” In fact, it used to be considered incorrect, and sticklers still feel superior when they slash through it. . . .

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CMOS Survey Prize Winners!

April 9, 2007
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CMOS Survey Prize Winners!

After months of anticipation the moment you’ve all been waiting for has arrived—the winners of the raffle hosted by The Chicago Manual of Style Online were announced today at approximately 3:00 pm Central Time in the boardroom of the University of Chicago Press. Not one but two lucky individuals were chosen at random from a pool of respondents to the recent CMOS Online survey. The winners receive up to one hundred dollars worth of free books from the Press, that’s right, one hundred dollars worth of FREE BOOKS. Choosing the winning tickets was none other than Director of the Books Division of the Press, Mr. Bob Lynch. In his press release, Mr. Lynch stated that he was pleased to present the awards on behalf of the CMOS staff and thanked the lucky winners for their time spent helping to improve the CMOS Online user experience. Congratulations! . . .

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Susan Basalla May’s “FAQ From the Lecture Circuit”

March 23, 2007
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Susan Basalla May’s “FAQ From the Lecture Circuit”

Susan Basalla May, co-author of So What Are You Going to Do with That?: Finding Careers Outside Academia has posted an interesting FAQ for students preparing for a nonacademic career to the website of the Chronicle of Higher Education. Culled from the question and answer sessions that follow her frequent lectures, Basalla comments on a variety of topics including how to get started as a freelancer and how to explain to potential employers about unfinished dissertations. You can find the full article in the career section of the Chronicle. A witty, accessible guide full of concrete advice for anyone contemplating the jump from scholarship to the outside world, So What Are You Going to Do with That? covers topics ranging from career counseling to interview etiquette to translating skills learned in the academy into terms an employer can understand and appreciate. Packed with examples and stories from real people who have successfully made this daunting—but potentially rewarding— transition, and written with a deep understanding of both the joys and difficulties of the academic life, this fully revised and up-to-date edition will be indispensable for any graduate student or professor who has ever glanced at her CV, flipped through the want . . .

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Susan Bielstein on WVKR’s Library Cafe

March 22, 2007
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Susan Bielstein on WVKR’s Library Cafe

Susan Bielstein, author of Permissions, A Survival Guide: Blunt Talk about Art as Intellectual Property will appear on Library Café, a program on WVKR Independent Radio FM 91.3 in Poughkeepsie, NY, on March 27th at 11 am CST. Bielstein will join host Thomas Hill to discuss her book. You can tune in to a live broadcast online at the Library Café where they should also post archived audio after the show. Organized as a series of “takes” that range from short sidebars to extended discussions, Permissions, A Survival Guide explores intellectual property law as it pertains to visual imagery. How can you determine whether an artwork is copyrighted? How do you procure a high-quality reproduction of an image? What does “fair use” really mean? Is it ever legitimate to use the work of an artist without permission? Bielstein discusses the many uncertainties that plague writers who work with images in this highly visual age, and she does so based on her years navigating precisely these issues. As an editor who has hired a photographer to shoot an incredibly obscure work in the Italian mountains (a plan that backfired hilariously), who has tried to reason with artists’ estates in languages she . . .

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Press Release: Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations

March 20, 2007
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Press Release: Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations

Seventy years ago, in a small office at the University of Chicago, dissertation secretary Kate L. Turabian changed forever the way research is reported. Asked to provide students with a style guide, she wrote a small pamphlet describing the correct format for writing college dissertations. That pamphlet eventually became A Manual for Writers and has gone on to sell more than eight million copies in six editions. This spring the University of Chicago Press will publish the seventh edition of her widely used and respected Manual—now fully revised to meet the needs of a new generation of students and researchers. The stellar team of Joseph Williams, Gregory Colomb, and Wayne C. Booth, master teachers and authors of the bestselling Craft of Research, have thoroughly updated the Manual while respecting the Turabian tradition. With this careful revision, they have ensured that A Manual for Writers will remain the most valuable handbook for writers at every level—from first-year undergraduates, to dissertation writers, to senior scholars. Read the press release. Much more information will soon be available at www.turabian.org. . . .

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Help desk for the book

February 14, 2007
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Publishing the online edition of The Chicago Manual of Style has given us some insight into how people use electronic editions of books, an awareness of the usability issues posed by the online environment, and a renewed appreciation for the simplicity and naturalness of the physical book. Or at least the physical book seems a simple and intuitive interface. But maybe not. Maybe the first users of the codex had technical difficulties just as computer users have today. Maybe every monastery had a help desk to assist readers and scribes with recalcitrant books. Via YouTube: According to a comment on YouTube, the clip is from a show called Øystein og meg (Øystein and I) and appeared in 2001 on NRK, the Norwegian television network. The sketch was written by Knut Nærum and performed by Øystein Bache and Rune Gokstad. The spoken language in the clip is Norwegian; the subtitles are in English and Danish. . . .

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