Reference Books

Subject: Reference Books
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- AXIONET -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 4 Jan 1997 16:20:10 -0500

Carolyn Haley (DocuMania <dcma -at- MAIL1 -dot- NAI -dot- NET>) wrote:

>Hi, I'm new to this list and would like to know if anyone >recommends the
>recently mentioned Microsoft _Manual of Style for Technical >Publications_
>as a good resource to add to my library. I recall hearing >somewhere else
>that it suffers from inconsistency and/or inaccuracy and may >not be worth
>getting. Opinions?

>Also, I'm debating whether or not to spring the $40 for the >most recent
>edition of Chicago _Manual of Style_. My present copy is the >12th Edition.
>Are there enough changes between editions to warrant buying >the latest?

What you say about the "Microsoft Manual of Style" is true, but it's
still useful to have. It gives you the exact name of screen features,
and makes some useful suggestions about what terms to use (or not use)
for different audiences. Of course, it shouldn't be regarded as
definitive, but as a general guideline it is often surprisingly

As for the Chicago MOS, you might want to see if the new edition is as
conservative about usage as the older one. A journalistic MOS might give
a better sense of how language is being currently used. In Canada, for
example, many editors and tech-writers prefer the Canadian Press MOS to
the Chicago (I'm not sure what the best American MOS for journalists
might be).

Bruce Byfield (bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com)
Technical Writer
Burnaby, BC, Canada
(604) 421-7189

"You can go home again, so long as you understand that home
is a place you have never been." --Ursula K. Le Guin

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