Internet, Web, and Other E-Issues

Q. When publishing a web address in a print publication, do you recommend underlining it (as it would appear on the web), bolding it, or doing nothing? Is one way better than another when the web address is at the end of the sentence (thus, followed by a period)? Example: For more information, visit www.chicagomanualofstyle.org.

Q. In your bibliography, do you type in your websites so they will be “active”?

Q. The CMOS standard is to paginate front matter with lowercase roman numerals, and then use arabic numerals in the text and back matter. This causes a problem when I publish an electronic book in PDF format. PDF numbers the book sequentially, ignoring the different numbering of the front matter. Reading between the lines in CMOS, I have come to believe that numbering the front matter separately is a historical artifact. When the text was written first, followed by the front and back matter, and all were done mechanically, one could not number everything sequentially from the title page. In these electronic times, though, sequential numbering takes seconds, literally. Why then use a separate numbering scheme for front matter?

Q. According to CMOS, computer menu items are capitalized. The editors I work with insist that a menu item from a specific website (such as yours) should also be placed in quotation marks. Here’s an example: Click on “About the Manual” to learn about changes made to the recent edition. I think the quotation marks are unnecessary. What do you think?

Q. My question is, is there any standard for the usage of emoticons? In particular, is there an accepted practice for the use of emoticons that include an opening or closing parenthesis as the final token within a set of parentheses? Should I (1) incorporate the emoticon into the closing of the parentheses (giving a dual purpose to the closing parenthesis, such as in this case. :-) (2) simply leave the emoticon up against the closing parenthesis, ignoring the bizarre visual effect of the doubled closing parenthesis (as I am doing here, producing a doubled-chin effect :-)) (3) put a space or two between the emoticon and the closing parenthesis (like this: :-) ) (4) or avoid the situation by using a different emoticon (Some emoticons are similar. :-D), placing the emoticon elsewhere, or doing without it (i.e., reword to avoid awkwardness)?

Q. We’re trying to find a definitive style for representing file names, commands, and computer buttons (e.g., click “exit”) in text. For file names, for example, I’ve found quotation marks, italics, all caps, boldface . . . you name it, including no differentiation at all. How would you suggest treating a file name in a sentence such as “Open the readme.rtf file before continuing with the installation”? What about commands in a sentence such as “Click on File and select Open”?

Q. We are debating in our office how to refer to our website when the URL appears at the beginning of the sentence. Would we capitalize the first letter (i.e., Www.abcd.com [address changed for this forum]) or not (i.e., www.abcd.com)? Are there any conventions around dropping the “www” (i.e., abcd.com)? If so, would we capitalize the first letter (i.e., Abcd.com)? What about all caps (i.e., ABCD.COM or WWW.ABCD.COM)?

Q. I could not find the term “dot-com” addressed, and I need to know how to capitalize it and punctuate it. I have seen both dot.com, and dot-com. Which is correct? In capitalizing titles, is it Dot.com or Dot.Com (in title headings, etc.)?

Q. I get so tired of reading about writers using their “spell-checkers” on their computers. Surely they mean “spelling-checkers” don’t they? I’ve always thought that only wizards use “spell-checkers”—what do you think? I love CMOS—read it all the time—I start browsing and I can’t stop! Thanks again for a great resource!

Q. I edit documents used in the healthcare informatics domain, where e-health, eHealth, e-community, e-practice, and other ever-growing variations on the “e-” are present. If the “e-” or the “e” plus a word begins a sentence, I am capitalizing that darn “e.” Otherwise, it looks very strange. Am I correct?