Preface

This, the sixteenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style, marks the first edition to be prepared and published simultaneously in print and online. As opportunities for publishing have grown dramatically in an era of electronic publication and distribution, the guiding principles for this edition have been twofold: to recognize the continuing evolution in the way authors, editors, and publishers do their work, on the one hand, and to maintain a focus on those aspects of the process that are independent of the medium of publication, on the other.
       In service of the former principle, this edition assumes that all publishers might benefit from an extended discussion of the organizational and proofreading requirements of electronic publications (chapters 1 and 2). More attention has also been given to the role of software for manuscript editors—for example, with the addition of a manuscript cleanup checklist intended to benefit authors and editors alike. Complementing chapters 1 and 2 is an overview (in appendix A) of production technologies and in particular the role of electronic markup in a publishing workflow. Coverage of copyright and permissions (chapter 4) includes new information on fair use and electronic rights, including a discussion of the NIH Public Access Policy for journal articles, and the treatment of bias-free language in chapter 5 has been significantly expanded. The chapters on documentation (14 and 15) offer updated information on citing electronic sources, including many more examples, and an updated glossary (appendix B) includes more terms related to electronic publishing.
       Also new to this edition is an introduction to Unicode (in chapter 11), a widely adopted computing standard that defines many of the letters and symbols required by the world’s writing systems. Unicode identifiers and descriptions are included alongside special characters in the chapters on foreign languages and math and elsewhere to aid authors, editors, and publishers in the positive identification and proper implementation of these characters. More generally, an effort has been made to acknowledge organizations that publish their standards and guidelines online—in an era when this has become routine. For example, we defer not only to the website of the Unicode Consortium for more information on the tens of thousands of characters defined by that organization thus far but also to the romanization tables published online by the Library of Congress for guidelines on transliteration. And, though we continue to present guidance on abbreviating country names in general contexts—including our new preference for US over U.S.—we also direct readers to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for the latest two- and three-letter country codes for the 250-odd areas of the world for which these have been defined.
       With an eye to facilitating navigation and streamlining our recommendations, a few organizational changes have been made. Part titles organize the body of the manual into three sections: on the process of writing, editing, and publishing; on matters of style and usage; and on documentation (including indexing). Titles of individual paragraphs have been expanded to become more meaningful, and many smaller paragraphs that treated different aspects of the same issue have been combined. To facilitate finding related discussions and for faster navigation online, more cross-references have been added. To recognize the overlapping roles of authors, editors, and proofreaders, the discussion of manuscript preparation and editing has been combined with that of proofreading into a single chapter, as have the discussions on illustrations and tables, which are typically prepared and edited separately from the text. In response to overwhelming reader input, our hyphenation guidelines (chapter 7) are now presented as a four-part table. And, in a significant departure from previous editions, Chicago now recommends a uniform stylistic treatment for the main elements of a citation—authors’ names, titles of works, and so forth—in both its systems of documentation. The differences between the notes and bibliography system (chapter 14) and the author-date system (chapter 15) are now a simple matter of arrangement of elements, eliminating the need for repetitive examples.
       Though most of the fundamental principles of the manual remain in place, a few changes were once again in order. In response mainly to comments from our readers (on our Q&A page and on e-mail lists for editors), this edition has moved toward recommending a single rule for a given stylistic matter rather than presenting multiple options. We now recommend, for example, a single approach to ellipses—a three- or four-dot method (chapter 13, where we also explain the European preference for bracketed ellipses). And we have eliminated most of the exceptions to the rules for forming the possessive of proper names (chapter 7) as well as those for implementing headline-style capitalization (chapter 8). We have come to understand that even in the case of somewhat arbitrary rules, writers and editors tend to look to this manual for the most efficient, logical, and defensible solution to a given editorial problem. On the other hand, none of our recommendations are meant to foreclose breaking or bending rules to fit a particular case, something we continue to do ourselves. Once again, we have looked to what has become a maxim (from the first edition of the manual in 1906): “Rules and regulations such as these, in the nature of the case, cannot be endowed with the fixity of rock-ribbed law. They are meant for the average case, and must be applied with a certain degree of elasticity.”
       This edition marks an evolution of more than forty years, starting with the landmark twelfth edition, published in 1969. As part of this evolution, and as with the fifteenth edition, Chicago consulted a broad range of scholars and professionals in the fields of publishing and academics throughout the revision process. We also continued to benefit from the many helpful comments and suggestions sent to us by our readers, many of whom come from fields outside of scholarly publishing. Their input, in particular, helped us to keep in mind those principles of writing and editing that remain true regardless of the medium or field of publication.

On behalf of the University of Chicago Press
Russell David Harper
Spring 2010