Style manuals for writers & editors

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Last Update

  • Updated.jpg 16 Sept 2014


See also Citation management | Information needs of users | Scientific writing | Scholarly publishing and communication | Users of health libraries

Style manuals for writers and editors are books used or style sheets used to explain how to format bibliographic references, tables, charts and other information for academic papers "according to a prescribed style". Style manuals are used by researchers, students and editors to format papers generally, and to cite other papers more specifically. Across all academic disciplines, there are literally hundreds of styles many of which are in-house journal styles. Style manuals provide advice about grammar, punctuation, conducting research and formatting papers. The distinction between a style manual and writing guide is subtle but there are detailed manuals and guides for writing papers, and manuscript preparation.

Two of the most popular style manuals in medicine are the Vancouver style which dates back to a 1978 meeting in Vancouver British Columbia, and the US National Library of Medicine PubMed style. The Vancouver style is also known as the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals which is similar to other medical stylesheets such as the American Medical Association style. It perhaps only differs in matters of punctuation. Health librarians should be aware of a number of other style sheets such as MLA Manual, the APA Style (American Psychological Association) and the CBE style.

Canadian context

In terms of writing styles, there seems to be little consensus that a Canadian style actually exists. However, many of the spelling conventions in Canadian English are a hybrid of British and American spellings, particularly as practiced by Canadian journalists. The Globe and Mail, for example, can be said to set the national standards for Canadian English and, as such, publishes its own style manual. There are other style manuals developed at medical journals such as the Canadian Medical Association Journal and the Canadian Pharmacy Journal. The Oxford University Press also publishes a Canadian dictionary. This wiki HLWIKI Canada uses the Vancouver style almost exclusively.


Style guides for Canadian English


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