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New Writing Style Guide launched

Thursday, 20 July 2017 12:50pm

Style guide typewriter image
An updated style guide has just been launched for non-academic writing here at the University of Otago.

The University has recently published the first update to its Writing Style Guide in many years and for the first time, the guide is available online.

The new guide aims to help ensure writing maintains a professional and consistent standard across the University whether staff are writing for internal or external audiences, in print or online.

Communications Adviser Kim Connelly says the guide is not intended to tell users how to write, rather to “ensure those of us writing on behalf of the University are doing so in a consistent and professional manner”.

"...on the whole, we were seeking to ensure we delivered clear, concise and consistent guidance for writers across the University."

Working on the project provided a much needed opportunity to review the University’s established styles and ensure they reflect current usage, Ms Connelly says.

“We definitely refreshed a few things along the way – full stops are out and colons are in when it comes to writing out times, for example – but on the whole, we were seeking to ensure we delivered clear, concise and consistent guidance for writers across the University.”

The guide includes over 100 listings which users can search by keyword, browse by category, or scan through an alphabetical list of entries.

For added clarity, many listings include examples demonstrating the right way – and wrong way – to apply each guideline.

Where applicable, the guide illustrates points of difference between writing for print and writing for the web.

"Debating the finer points of grammar and style is not everyone’s cup of tea. But, I must say, for those of us involved in this project, it was a very satisfying and, at times, fun experience."

Anyone with copies of previous writing style guides are encouraged to discard those documents as they have been superseded by the new guide. The long-standing Health Sciences Style Guide has also been decommissioned with the launch of the new site.

Development of the new guide was spearheaded by Communications Office staff in consultation with representatives from the Department of English, Division of Health Sciences, the Marketing Office, Web Services, and the Publications Office within Admissions, Enrolment and University Information Centre.

"Debating the finer points of grammar and style is not everyone’s cup of tea. But, I must say, for those of us involved in this project, it was a very satisfying and, at times, fun experience," Ms Connelly says.

“It’s great to be able to share it with the wider University at last.”