Second and final installment in my look at style guides.
APA Style: “The rules of APA Style, detailed in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, offer sound guidance for writing with simplicity, power, and concision. APA Style has been adapted by many disciplines and is used by writers around the world.”
One nice thing about their website is that it offers tutorials on using their style.
The Research and Documentation Online 5th Edition: This seems to be more of a guide used to help you decide which style guide to use.
Chicago Manual of Style: This is the one I remember using back in college all those many years ago. It gives almost no information on its website, but offers subscription access for $35/yr. Print copy is $65. They are up to version 16, but I think I’ll stick with the one I’ve got, version 14.
MLA Style: MLA actually has two different style guides: The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers and MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing. I guess that pretty much sums up what they are used for. Can’t get info from the website on actual style usage, but the books are cheaper than the Chicago book.
Microsoft Manual of Style: “The essential reference for technical writers, editors, journalists, and everyone else who writes about computer technology. Developed by Microsoft’s senior editors and content managers, this manual of style captures the up-to-date standards and best practices for delivering clear and consistent technical communications. Now in its third edition, this popular reference has been fully revised, expanded, and optimized for ease of use. You’ll find new coverage on meeting the needs of a global audience, accessibility concerns, and the latest technical terms and acronyms—along with expertly organized sections on usage, grammar, punctuation, tone, formatting, and common style problems. Whether you’re creating print documentation, online help, Web content, or other communications, you’ll get the information and examples you need to maximize the impact and precision of your message.” Well, it is Microsoft. Of course they think it is the best. But for a technical writer, I think it is pretty comprehensive. You can find the book, which includes a CD with the eBook, for sale online for about $150. O’Reilly is now offering an eBook in various formats for $23.99, which, compared to the $150 of the print book, seems to be a pretty good deal.
That’s all I’m going to write about style guides. Google “style guides” and you’ll find more info than you will need. I’m sticking with Microsoft and Chicago.