Since the publication of the eleventh edition of The Chicago Manual of Style in 1949, each new edition has been marked by a significant shift in publishing technologies, starting with the advent of phototypesetting in the 1950s, whereby text was rendered on photographic paper rather than as lines of metal type, the norm since the first edition. The introduction of computers and desktop publishing drove further changes until, starting in the early 1990s, the graphical internet changed everything once again.

Fast-forward to the seventeenth edition. Today, publishing generally relies on digital technologies (even for print), and more often than not the end product is available in your pocket, a development that had just started to take hold when the sixteenth edition was published. It is safe to say that most of us now have ready access, at any given moment and from practically anywhere we happen to be, not only to the classic novel Moby-Dick but also to the Congressional Record and a map of the human genome as well as the catalog of the Library of Congress and countless other databases. We can add to those practically anything else we might want (through a library or for a fee if necessary). At the same time, many of us are busy adding our own ideas to the conversation from the same devices that we use to enjoy this access to the ideas of others.

The seventeenth edition recognizes this shift in a number of ways. First, how we look for and find information influences what we choose to read. New coverage of metadata and keywords in chapters 1 and 2 recognizes the roles that authors and publishers play not only in making their work available but also in making sure it can be found by potential readers. This is complemented by significantly expanded coverage in chapter 4 of options for open-access publishing and distribution, which are also directly related to how readers engage with published sources. These and other discussions also recognize the needs of self-published authors and how they can benefit from close attention to procedures once followed mainly by traditional publishers.

The ways in which we read and conduct research and how we record and share our findings have also influenced coverage of source citations. Chapters 14 and 15 have been updated to include more detailed coverage related to identifying and citing sources consulted online, including tips for choosing the best form of link to cite, when and how to list a time stamp in addition to a date, and when to keep a permanent copy of a source. Expanded coverage of citation management applications recognizes that many writers document their sources automatically, often from the same platform used to consult the sources themselves. New coverage of social media demonstrates how to cite publicly accessible posts and comments as well as direct, private messages. Other newly added source types include live performances, app content (including video games), published standards, self-published books, and maps (including satellite data).

Dozens of changes throughout every chapter stem from the many ideas our readers have generously contributed through social media and our Q&A. For example, the new coverage on Hawaiian orthography in chapter 11 was inspired by reader requests. And the recognition in chapter 5 of the rising use of they as a gender-neutral singular pronoun referring to a specific person stems in part from discussions with our readers that go back to at least the fourteenth edition. Many crucial additions were suggested by our advisory board. These include coverage of PDF annotation tools and the more detailed checklist for electronic books in chapter 2, the discussion of electronic theses and dissertations in chapter 4, and coverage in chapters 1 and 14 related to journals that follow a continuous publishing model.

Broader changes affect the manual as a whole or specific chapters or subsections. Our extensive coverage of source citations for legal and public documents in chapter 14 has once again been updated to reflect the latest edition of The Bluebook (now in its twentieth edition). In general, paragraph titles and text have been revised with keyword searching in mind to make it easier to find specific content. And the bibliography has been thoroughly updated not only to include the latest resources but also to recognize the latest versions of older resources, including those that have moved exclusively online (as is the case for the continually updated unabridged dictionary from Merriam-Webster).

Meanwhile, the chapters on style and usage have been revised to include many refinements, clarifications, and additions. For example, chapter 5 has been expanded to cover sentence structure and syntax, including elliptical sentences, negation, expletives, and cleft sentences. Chapter 6 now includes coverage related to the use of commas with phrases and clauses in all positions in a sentence and clarifies the use of commas relative to quoted material, coverage that continues in chapter 13. Chapter 6 also includes new recommendations related to the use of nonbreaking and other types of spaces and the division of slashes and dashes at the ends of lines. Chapter 7 now recommends email (no hyphen) and internet (lowercase) in response to changes in usage and editorial preferences. Chapter 8 adds new guidelines for presenting Korean names in text and for styling the names of operating systems, applications, and devices. Chapter 9 includes new examples featuring Chinese currency and bitcoins. Chapter 10 now sanctions using US as a noun (subject to editorial discretion). In these chapters and throughout the manual, examples have been updated to feature additional scenarios or to reflect the latest usage.

Once again, the recommendations in this manual have been guided by the principles that have been handed down through earlier editions, principles that have outlasted technological changes and cultural shifts. In writing, editing, and publishing, accuracy and attention to detail supported by clear, accessible prose never seem to go out of style. It is in support of these fundamental goals in the context of an evolving publishing landscape that this edition is offered.

On behalf of the University of Chicago Press

Russell David Harper

Spring 2017