Chicago science fiction

Chicago science fiction

Michael Erard chronicles changes in the new edition of The Chicago Manual of Style:

If you were to send the 16th edition back to 2003, when the 15th edition came out, it would read like science fiction. Here’s a taste. The words “electronic,” “software,” “technologies,” “computing” and “website” all appear in the preface of the 16th, but the word “book” doesn’t appear until the title of the first chapter, “Books and Journals,” whose first section is titled “The parts of a book.” (By contrast, the word “book” appears almost immediately in the 15th, on the sixth line of the preface.) Inside, there are 9 pages on electronic editing and only 3.5 for editing on paper. Words like “web,” “electronic,” “DOI,” “metadata” and “digital” appear many more times in the 16th.

But now:

Significant Rule Changes in The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition

Reading the 15th and 16th side by side, I don’t get the sense that in 2003 the people at University of Chicago Press were going to go into this future without a fight. There’s a kind of haughty disdain and sniffy tolerance in the preface of the 15th for things digital that doesn’t appear in the 16th, as if there was a mass exodus in the intervening years. The new CMoS is refreshing that way.

Then there’s this:

[T]he word “book” appears more frequently in the 16th edition than in the 15th (753 times to 715). Which to me means that as the book wanes, it becomes even more prominent in its absence.

As it should be.