Re: style manual

Subject: Re: style manual
From: Lori Lathrop <LoriLathrop -at- compuserve -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 28 Oct 2000 11:31:14 -0400

Dan Roberts (droberts63 -at- earthlink -dot- net) asked:
>i'm curious...and the list might be as does this manual stand
>relation to things like CMos, MSMos, Sun's ReadMeFirst, etc. How
>does it relate to the computer industry? Or is it more "generalist"?

Hi, Dan. The 2nd edition of _Science and Technical Writing: A Manual of
Style_ edited by Philip Rubens has a design similar to the Chicago Manual
of Style, and I believe the authors' intentions were to make it the
equivalent of CMS but with specific guidelines for scientific and technical
writing. I don't use the MS Manual of Style, so I can't comment on any
comparisons with it. I do have _Read Me First! A Style Guide for the
Computer Industry_ by Sun Technical Publications, and I think it is one of
the most readable style guides I've seen; however, I would say that
_Science and Technical Writing: A Manual of Style_ appears to contain more
nitty-gritty details.

I really hadn't intended to write a review of this book. No doubt, there
are others far more qualified than I to do that. Perhaps the TOC might be
useful to you and others who are curious about the book. Note: The
following shows only the primary chapter titles (not the lower-level

1. Audience Analysis and Document Planning
2. Writing for Non-native Audiences
3. Grammar, Usage, and Revising for Publication
4. Punctuating Scientific and Technical Prose
5. Using Acceptable Spelling
6. Incorporating Specialized Terminology
7. Using Numbers and Symbols
8. Using Quotations, Citations, and References
9, Creating Indexes
10. Creating Nontextual Information
11. Creating Usable Data Displays
12. Designing Useful Documents

A few additional comments:
Chapter 1 contains guidelines for determining the appropriate medium -
articles, booklets, brochures, newsletters, correspondence (including
e-mail), manuals (including tutorials, training guides, user guides,
operator manuals, reference materials, user reference manuals, and job
aids), reports (scientific research reports, business research reports,
progress/status reports, proposals, and feasibility studies), help systems,
wizards, and Web sites).

Chapter 2 contains guidelines for minimum word strategy, Controlled
English, Global English.

Chapter 7 contains guidelines for abbreviations as professional shorthand,
organizational names, military terminology, health and medical terms,
scientific terms and symbols, technology terms (computer terms,
electronics, and telecommunications).

Chapter 11 is very comprehensive. It includes guidelines for tables,
charts, and diagrams.

Chapter 12 includes guidelines for designing page and screen elements and
grids, designing specific information types (newsletters, papers and
articles for publication, and technical manuals), controlling large
document sets, and graphic production

Whew! That's a whole lot more than I intended to write. And now ... back
to my current indexing project.

Best wishes! .... Lori

LoriLathrop -at- compuserve -dot- com

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