CMOS 17 is almost here—and at the University of Chicago Press, that’s a really big deal. Every seven to ten years the team here revs up for an overhaul of The Chicago Manual of Style, and two to three years after that, the new edition appears.
We don’t start from scratch. Russell David Harper, the principal reviser of the last two editions of the Manual, started making notes for the 17th the minute it was no longer possible to make changes to the 16th.
Although the 17th edition won’t hit our warehouse for another week or so, my personal email* file for the 18th edition of CMOS already has thirty-nine items: ideas for new sections, tweaks to particular guidelines, emails from readers asking for an addition or example or clarification, and discussions with colleagues on all of those. When feedback on the 17th starts rolling in, that file will quickly grow.
It’s a privilege to serve on the fabulous team of experts that creates The Chicago Manual of Style—experts not only in editing, but in design, production, marketing, IT, and sales. No department could produce the book or online edition without the others.
Few experiences are as satisfying as when we all work together to solve a problem that requires an aggregate of knowledge that no single person or department has. Someone will point out a problem, and when no one can produce a solution, the brainstorming begins. One person will identify the crux of the issue; a couple more will throw out suggestions; everyone weighs in on what will work or not work and why, until a plan emerges.
I’ll admit that it’s not always smooth sailing; we expect a few bumps when readers have the book in their hands and CMOS Online goes live. If you yourself hit a bump, please let us know. We’ll be ready and waiting, and we’ll do our best to resolve any issues that we’re made aware of.
*I know we aren’t using the 17th yet, but I just couldn’t wait to take the hyphen out of email!
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The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition
Editor’s Corner posts are the opinion of Carol Fisher Saller, editor of the Chicago Manual of Style Online Q&A and author of The Subversive Copy Editor, now in its 2nd edition. Find Carol on Facebook and Twitter (@SubvCopyEd).
Top photo: Columbia Space Shuttle, courtesy of NASA.