Reference book survey - SUMMARY

Subject: Reference book survey - SUMMARY
From: kcronin -at- daleen -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 11 Mar 2002 22:10:41 -0700

Okay - as of 11:30 pm (EST), here are the summarized results of my
reference book survey. I only tallied the results once, and it was done
whilst sampling MY favorite beverage (Scotch). And incidentally, I never
ASKED what your favorite beverage was! (Although I may, in an upcoming

Anyway, without further ado.....................

Most popular reference books, in order:

Microsoft Manual of Style
Chicago Manual of Style
Elements of Style (Strunk & White)
Newton's Telecom Dictionary
American Heritage Dictionary
Webster College Dictionary (various editions, all with the word "College"
or "Collegiate")
Roget's Thesaurus (various editions)
Gregg Reference Manual
Dictionaries and Thesauruses (thesauri?) were listed generically twice

I did not tally what kind of writing everybody does - all but 2 or 3 of
the people who replied did so publicly, so you can get a good idea by
perusing this thread. I wanted this information to help me put their
choice of books in context.

Dog or cat person? The survey showed conclusively what I've suspected all
along - that dogs are inherently superior to cats.

Okay, it didn't exactly show that. I suspect typos.

My fellow whirlers disappointed me by preferring cats. Here are the

Evil feline beasts - 16
Noble faithful dogs - 12
Pigs - 2
Armor (don't ask...) - 1
Blue bellied swift (supposedly this is a lizard - sounds like some kind of
twisted code-name to me...) - 1

Interesting conclusions:

Y'all hate the Microsoft MoS, based on how I've been flamed for bringing
it up in previous posts. BUT - y'all use the sucker.

Lots of you use the Web almost exclusively for reference, eschewing books.
Many Web sites were listed in your responses (although I specifically
asked about books, which proves we're better at writing directions than we
are at following them). I did not tally which Web sites you prefer (maybe
in my next survey I will), but Google definitely came out on top.

I was surprised by how few of you use dictionaries and thesauruses as your
primary resources. Among technical reference books, those published by
Microsoft, Sun, O'Reilly, and QUE were preferred.

Anyway, I enjoyed this, and found a few titles I'd never heard of, which I
plan to purchase. For those of you not familiar with Newton's Telecom
Dictionary, I highly recommend it. It is both informative and
entertaining, something you cannot usually say about a dictionary. Imagine
a dictionary written by ME and edited by Andrew Plato and you'll start to
get the idea of its tone..... (frightening, I know). I also recommend
Merriam Webster's Manual for Writers and Editors, and look forward to
reading A Concise Dictionary of Confusables.

Thanks for participating! I look forward to presenting a similar survey

-Keith Cronin

Don't mind me; I'm a signoramus.

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