AskDefine | Define stylebook

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

style + book

Noun

  1. A manual containing an organization's standardized usage conventions for how to write. All newspapers and other media have a stylebook, which is sometimes sold to the public. The stylebook usually includes which dictionary is to be taken as definitive for spelling.
    I have a copy of the UPI stylebook which I check when I need to know how to write something.

Extensive Definition

A style guide or style manual is a set of standards for design and writing of documents, either for general use or for a specific publication or organization. Style guides are prevalent for general and specialized use, for the general reading and writing audience, and for students and scholars of the various academic disciplines, medicine, journalism, the law, government, business, and industry. Some style guides focus on graphic design, covering such topics as typography and white space. Web site style guides focus on a publication's visual and technical aspects, prose style, best usage, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and fairness.
Many style guides are revised periodically to accommodate changes in conventions and usage. For example, the stylebook of the Associated Press is updated annually.

For academia and publishing

Publishers' style guides establish house rules for language use, such as spelling, italics and punctuation; their major purpose is consistency. They are rulebooks for writers, ensuring consistent language. Authors are asked or required to use a style guide in preparing their work for publication; copy editors are charged with enforcing the publishing house's style.
Academic organization and university style guides are rigorous about documentation formatting style for citations and bibliographies used for preparing term papers for course credit and manuscripts for publication. Professional scholars are advised to follow the style guides of organizations in their disciplines when they submit articles and books to academic journals and academic book publishers in those disciplines for consideration of publication. Once they have accepted work for publication, publishers provide authors with their own guidelines and specifications, which may differ from those required for submissions, and editors may assist authors in preparing their work for press.
Indexing of the published work, which can be a tedious task, can be done by the author or by a professional editorial indexer. If done by the author or close collaborators of the author who are not professional indexers, the work is called "self-indexed".

For general use

Some style guides are created for the general public, and may adopt the approaches of publishing houses and newspapers. Others, such as Fowler's Modern English Usage, 3rd ed., report how language is practiced in a given area and outline how phrases, punctuation and grammar are actually used.
About Fowler's Modern English Usage, Robert Burchfield states: "Linguistic correctness is perhaps the dominant theme of this book ... I believe that 'stark preachments' belong to an earlier age of comment on English usage." John Updike comments in The New Yorker: "To Burchfield, the English language is a battlefield upon which he functions as a non-combatant observer."

Specialized guides

Some organizations, other than the aforementioned ones, produce style guides for either internal or external use. For example, communications and public relations departments of business and nonprofit organizations have style guides for their publications (newsletters, news releases, Web sites). Organizations advocating for social minorities sometimes establish what they believe to be fair and correct language treatment of their audiences.

Graphic design guides

Many publications (notably newspapers) use graphic design style guides to demonstrate the preferred layout and formatting of a published page. They often are extremely detailed in specifying, for example, which fonts and colors to use. Such guides allow a large design team to produce visually consistent work for the organization.

Examples

International

Several basic style guides for technical and scientific communication have been defined by international standards organizations. These are often used as elements of and refined in more specialized style guides that are specific to a subject, region or organization. Some examples are:

Canada

  • The Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing: by Dundurn Press in co-operation with Public Works and the Government Services Canada Translation Bureau. ISBN 1550022768.

Newspapers

  • CP Stylebook: Guide to newspaper style in Canada maintained by the Canadian Press. ISBN 0920009387.
  • The Globe and Mail Style Book: Originally created to help writers and editors at the Globe and Mail present clear, accurate and concise stories. ISBN 0771056850

United Kingdom

General

Journalism

United States

In the United States, most books found in bookstores and libraries follow the Chicago Manual of Style, while most newspapers base their styles upon the Associated Press Stylebook. A classic style guide for the general public is The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White.

For general writing

For academic papers

For journalism

For technical writing

Style guides are particularly important in technical writing projects. Where technical writing is undertaken in a large team or project, it is important that the finished documentation is devoid of any one individual's discernible personal style. A style guide is just one of the tools that can be used to help achieve this along with the use of specific standards, e.g. ATA100 or AECMA S1000D in the aerospace and defense industries.

For electronic publishing

For the computer industry (software and hardware)

Editorial style guides on preparing a manuscript for publication

Academic

External links

stylebook in German: Styleguide
stylebook in Hebrew: מדריך כתיבה
stylebook in Malay (macrolanguage): Panduan gaya penulisan
stylebook in Dutch: Stijlgids
stylebook in Japanese: スタイルガイド
stylebook in Norwegian: Stilmanual
stylebook in Portuguese: Manual de redação
stylebook in Simple English: Style guide
stylebook in Swedish: Grafisk profil
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