06 December 2005

Editing Notes

I'm currently schlocking my way through some excrutiatingly technical notes for a book we're preparing to publish at my place of work, Caveat* Press. I use the word excrutiating for two reasons: the notes supplied are incomplete or questionable and the type of notes are so varied that each one presents a new formatting challenge.

Sure, it's difficult deciding on which rule to follow out of Chicago Manual of Style, but the real trick is deciding how to format. At my place of employment, we still use the 14th edition, a real problem when it comes to documentation of online sources as its only guideline is to go to the International Standards Organization (ISO) for the stylistic rules. I chose to ignore this rule; ISO documentation is so different looking from the look of Chicago that following said guidelines makes the formatting look entirely inconsistent.

I own the 15th edition of Chicago, which contains an expanded section on documenting online sources, so I chose to follow those rules—especially because the style looks so much cleaner than ISO.

I may come under fire for my editorial decisions; the book is so far past deadline mostly because we want to get the notes to a level of undefeatable credibility. Even if we follow the style guidelines to a tee, we will still receive criticism from the staunch academic types solely because many of the sources come from the Internet and are associated with too many non-refereed groups with an obvious agenda. Many of the sources lack credibility as it is, so I opted for consistency of look over adherence to rules of style.

In your opinion, did I make the "right" editorial choice? Or, should I have stuck to the rules even if it did mean producing a schlocky-looking notes section?

No comments: