Not all questions can be put to rest with a Google search. While Internet advances have led many reference publishers to put parts of their guides on the web, there's a certainty to looking something up in a nice, heavy book—the answer just seems to have more weight. This fall brings important updates to some of the reference industry's biggest contenders.
A matter of style
The University of Chicago Press has just released a new edition of The Chicago Manual of Style ($55, 964 pages, ISBN 0226104036), the book that sets style guidelines for writers across America. For the first time, the editors of the manual consulted a panel of advisors, including editors at other university presses, launching detailed debates over even the most minute formatting questions. The result is the most extensive revision of the Chicago Manual in 20 years, and only the 15th in the guide's 97-year history. The new edition includes complete information on how to format journals, press releases and electronic publications (previous editions focused mainly on the traditional book), as well as a comprehensive chapter on English grammar. Other shocking developments: the preferred abbreviation for state names is now the two-letter postal code (e.g., AL) instead of the longer traditional abbreviations (e.g., Ala.), and the date format has changed from day-month-year to the much more prevalent month-day-year.
Joseph Gibaldi and Phyllis Franklin's MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers is a time-tested resource for documenting sources. This year, the publication aimed at high school and college students releases its sixth edition. In addition to the usual updates of citation examples, the new edition offers a chapter on plagiarism, including advice on how to avoid unwittingly committing this offense (a section some of today's top authors may need to consult). There's also expanded information on the ever-changing field of electronic publications and a revised punctuation section.
For dictionary devotees
Those with a thirst for words will drink up Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (Merriam-Webster, $25.95, 1,664 pages, ISBN 0877798095). This 11th edition of America's best-selling dictionary has been 10 years in the making. Paired with a CD-ROM for easy use while working on a computer, the 11th edition contains 10,000 new entries, including "phat," "Botox," "psyops," "comb-over" and other words culled from our modern vernacular. Need additional proof that this isn't your grandma's dictionary? Each Collegiate Dictionary purchased includes a user code granting a one-year subscription to the online version of the dictionary. The thoughtfully designed site allows users to look up words, bookmark them for future reference and e-mail definitions to friends. It even includes pronunciation for more difficult entries. At last—the ease of the Internet combined with the authority of a trusted name in reference. Copyright 2003 BookPage Reviews
Library Journal Reviews September #1
Gibaldi has been affiliated with the Modern Language Association's (MLA) Book Publishing and Research Program since 1976 and has been involved with every edition of the MLA Handbook. This classic tool for humanities scholars is a collaborative effort by MLA staff members and scholars, especially the Committee on Computers and Emerging Technologies in Teaching and Research. Core guidelines for formal research and writing are retained from earlier editions, but new rules have been developed for citing electronic material. Some sections have been expanded, and new summaries provide quick reference for key ideas, from selecting a topic to writing drafts. At the request of MLA members, an entire chapter addresses fundamental issues of academic honesty for a generation that has come of age amid Napster lawsuits and professional journalistic scandals. Plagiarism is defined in detail, along with examples of instances when source documentation is not needed and examples of copyright infringement. There is a new section on full-text databases and a revised section on evaluation of Internet resources for quality information. The "Citing Electronic Publications" section is more user-friendly and is now enhanced with annotated illustrations. Needed updates will be online at www.mla.org, but there is a growing demand for the entire content of this handbook to be available online as an electronic book. Essential for every high school and post-secondary library.-Betty J. Glass, Univ. of Nevada, Reno Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.