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Editorial style

Guidelines for editorial style

The style of presenting information affects how comprehensible and usable it is. Open Development Initiative recommends adherence to the following two well-established systems for editorial style and referencing:

For general editorial style guidelines, punctuation, spelling and definitions:

AP Style

For referencing research:

Chicago Style

Specific departures developed for ODI from AP have been documented in an in-house style guide that builds on AP and includes a detailed list of Cambodian place names in English:

ODI Style Guide v0.9

Although your organization may choose to establish its own specific guidelines for editorial style, we require that these be based on AP, be well documented, and in general the following principles should apply:

  • Consistency: whatever decisions are made about spelling, punctuation, or other matters of style, they should be settled and followed consistently. The decision can be based on most common usage instead of what is strictly “correct.” For example, official spellings of a place's name may differ from how it is spelled by newspapers or by local residents. Choose the spelling that is most likely to be recognizable to your expected users. If there are many variations in such spellings, it may be worthwhile to maintain a list of names and alternate versions. Style for abbreviations should also be consistent (“St.” or “St” without a period for “Street”; EWMI or E.W.M.I.).
  • Conformity: consider adopting well-known editorial styles such as the Associated Press or Chicago Manual of Style as a foundation or default, since they have been professionally developed and cover a wide range of issues. The basic rules that these guides provide a good reference point and can help avoid having to make new style decisions every time.
  • Clarity and simplicity: ease of comprehension and usage should take precedence if there is doubt about what style option is best. Clarity means using language that is concise and not overly technical or specialist, so that readers can understand the basic ideas and then look for more detail if they need it. Provide a logical explanation for any debatable choices made, in terms that users/readers will be familiar with. Consider the literacy level of your audience.

Guidelines for editorial news gathering and publishing

The OD country instance will be pre-installed with the tools necessary to gather, edit, geo-tag and publish news summaries according to established editorial standards and best practices.

Please see the relevant guide for more information.

editorial_style.txt · Last modified: 2020/06/23 15:04 (external edit)