Quotations and Dialogue

Q. We do a lot of excerpts from articles and books at my job. But folks here are unhappy because they cannot distinguish between ellipses that existed in the originals and ones that we have inserted to indicate missing material. I can find no mention of how to deal with this quandary in The Chicago Manual of Style. Please help—many reprints lie ahead!

A. If you’re going to mix original and editorial ellipses, you should alert the reader that you’re doing it, either up front or in a footnote at the first occurrence. Explain that you will put editorial dots (as opposed to original ones) in square brackets [. . .], or devise some other system that makes sense to you and your colleagues. For instance, you could insert “[Ellipsis in original.]” in a note or in the text at the end of the sentence in question, although this will become annoying if there are many such instances.