Would you play Scrabble against this man? Peter Sokolowski is editor at large at Merriam-Webster, where he works on the Word of the Day podcast, Ask the Editor videos, articles about word trends and etymologies—and serves as pronouncer for spelling bees around the world. Editor Carol Saller asks him about Merriam-Webster’s billion lookups each year.
CMOS: You have now translated a large portion of the Hebrew Bible into English. What motivated you to take on such an enormous, high-profile, high-stakes project?
Matt Upson, assistant professor and director of library undergraduate services at Oklahoma State University, and C. Michael Hall (Mike) Hall, a writer, cartoonist, and public speaker, sought a better way to teach these students how to do research. Together with cartoonist Kevin Cannon, they created Information Now: A Graphic Guide to Student Research. It’s the first graphic novel to tackle information literacy and also the first graphic novel published by the University of Chicago Press.
CMOS: How did medical school happen after you seemed set for a career in journalism? Was it your intention all along to combine the two?
John Perry is emeritus professor of philosophy at Stanford University and the author of The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawding, Lollygaggy and Postponing. In it, he points out that many successful people are actually “structured” procrastinators—those who get a lot done by not doing other things. In it, he points out . . .
CMOS: When it comes to word processing, CMOS users probably represent every level of expertise (or nonexpertise), but regardless of skill level, we all experience frustration at times when we don’t know how to accomplish a task on our computers. Often we do something the way we’ve always done it—the slow way—because it just seems too difficult or scary to try to automate it. Is there a cure?
CMOS: You teach classes on chapbooks/small presses at the University of Chicago. How do you convey to your students what a chapbook is and why it’s important? SA: Chapbooks are incredibly variable and various, so we begin by . . .
CMOS: “When people borrow copyrighted material without permission for casual, nonprofit use, such as in a blog post or lecture or slide show, are they doing something illegal?” Aufderheide: “Not necessarily . . .”
Mary Norris is a copy editor at the New Yorker, where she has worked since 1978. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, she attended Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and earned a master’s in English from the University of Vermont. Her book Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen was published by W. W. Norton on April 6.
Andrew Abbott, the Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, edits the American Journal of Sociology. Abbott has twice chaired the University of Chicago’s Library Board and played a central role in planning the university’s Joe and Rika Mansueto Library. His latest book is Digital Paper . . .