Colby is one of the world’s finest institutions of higher learning, and inconsistency, misspellings, and factual inaccuracy in its written materials, publications, and webpages undermine that reputation and damage the College’s image. Consistent style and usage are essential to conveying quality and professionalism.
The good news? Resources are easily accessible to check for consistency and accuracy as you write and edit. Keep them in your browser’s bookmark bar and you won’t have to guess.
The American Heritage College Dictionary online makes it easy to check if “nonprofit” uses a hyphen (it does not) or if “mnemonic” is spelled right (it is), as well as to confirm that quality is a “long-standing” (hyphenated) and “longtime” (no hyphen) hallmark of the College.
The Chicago Manual of Style is accessible from the Colby network and can be used to determine if works of art such as Winslow Homer’s The Trapper or books such as Sandy Maisel’s From Obscurity to Oblivion should be italicized (yes) or in quotes (no).
The Colby Style and Usage Manual addresses Colby’s special usage and style issues and presents guidelines for issues that are not covered or that are treated differently in the Chicago Manual. (Did Colby’s trustees meet at 12 pm or did the Board of Trustees meet at noon?)
The Colby College Catalogue is a reference for the names of courses; titles of faculty members, administrators, and trustees; lists of majors and minors; and other official information about the College. Think how many ways there are to get “Trustee Emerita Anne Clarke Wolff ’87” wrong.
The Colby Factbook, maintained by the Office of Institutional Research, has a wealth of official information including lists of athletic teams, current clubs and organizations, and enrollment and admissions data.
It’s up to all employees who produce correspondence, publications, or webpages for the College to make the extra effort required to maintain the accuracy and consistency that people expect from one of the world’s great colleges.
If you have questions about style and usage or references and resources, please contact College Editor Stephen Collins ’74.