Sunday, February 25, 2007

List formats

So I have another question about list formats. While doing the test, it had occurred to me that the list in the email was set off from the body text whereas test one flushed them left. I retained the authors' page setup. I also resorted to Pat's boldface and period scheme. The boldface I can understand (I use it in my assignment design and have been advised to use it by several professors, including Jim Henry, a technical writing guru). But why periodize the list instead of the double hyphen? Is there a rule in some ur-style text like the Chicago Manual? Is it an in-house rule? Is it up to the editor's discretion? Are the periods clearer than the double hyphen? I think they are, but the authors clearly didn't think so (of course, I don't know how much credence I would give them at this point).
I should have asked this last week, before I handed in the exam, because it has been bothering me.


Pat said...

The author of the text has some awareness of proper formatting but not enough to do everything correctly. "Databases" and so forth are what are called run-in heads and therefore require periods, not dashes. If we were editing the text for publication—say, in a newsletter—we would also use initial caps for the words that make up the heads. You'll notice that the Dzanc author wrote "Online Journals"; if he had been more careful or more formally trained, he would have used initial caps for all the words in his run-in heads.

Ryan said...

Ok, I think I understood most of that answer. This is more complicated than I thought. Thanks, Pat.