Sunday, April 25, 2010

Style Sheets

Anyone who attends my bibliographic instruction sessions knows that I hate APA style sheet because it tells the users to ignore full given names. I tell students that APA, MLA, University of Chicago are just advisory. The idea of a style sheet is to facilitate scholarly communication. I advise the students that the standard style sheets are merely advisory. Their teacher or the publication where they submit has the final say.

Recently I submitted an article to a publication I'll call JA. They don't want any MS Word tables. I had data in a table. That was the easiest way to make the information readable. Before submitting the article I asked what to do. They said the information had to fit in a very specific space. They gave me measurements in centimeters. I changed my margins and increased the line spacing to the requested double space. The table went from one page to six. It was hard to interpret the data. I had to delete one who table and two columns with Latin and Aramaic. I also had to delete about 20 examples. To make up for the missing data I included a link to a file with all the information.

The publication said end-notes could not use the MS Word notes feature. This feature does automatic numbering. It takes away the tedium of including notes. They said note were to entered in plain text. The numbers for the notes had to be in superscript. When I deleted part of the tables I have to figure how to re-number the notes that were left.

I had three parts to my argument. They made me practically delete one of them.

I create many notes and I included a bibliography of sources. They don't like bibliographies. All citations had to be within the text or in an end-note.

Finally the format was acceptable and they had nothing to say about the actual content. The publication has a style sheet that is very limited. It is so limited that I had to ask for an interpretation. Well, the publication is their game and if I want to play, I have to follow their rules.

I hope that after all that formatting change, they publish the article.

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