Monday, October 13, 2014

The End Matter

I'm close enough to the end, or I'm deluding myself I'm close enough to the end, of this manuscript to start compiling the Works Cited in an actual document rather than Endnote as I work through the footnotes. In looking at the press's guidelines today, guess what citation format I'm supposed to use.

MLA? No.

Chicago 14? No.

Chicago 15? No.

APA? Bite your tongue.

Chicago 16?  Yes indeed, the only one that I had not, until today, shelled out $42 to purchase. Now, if I ever leave academe, I will have enough hefty Chicago/MLA Style books to serve as doorstops for every door in the house.

This made me think of one of my favorite essays, whose title I've shamelessly stolen, Louis Menand's "The End Matter."  Among other gems, there's this one:
To begin with, the designers of Word apparently believe that the conventional method of endnote numbering is with lowercase Roman numerals—i, ii, iii, etc. When was the last time you read anything that adhered to this style? It would lead to sentences like:
In the Gramscian paradigm, the “intellectual”lxxxvii is, by definition, always already a liminal status.lxxxviii
If I weren't laughing so hard, I would cry, because every single time I rename or resave a file, my footnotes revert from Arabic numerals to the Word default for endnotes, something that looks like ASCII run amok.

And I have been looking into the mysteries of compiling master documents in Word, of which only two pieces of advice found online are remarkably consistent:

1) If compiled improperly, master document can turn your chapters into word salad.
2) Sometimes it turns your chapters into word salad just for the sheer joy of destruction.

I still have a lot to do, conference papers to write, and so on, but the fact that I'm getting this close to the end matter makes me think that this will not be the Key to All Mythologies but an actual book.

And now, for a treat, I'm going to read "The End Matter" one more time.

5 comments:

sophylou said...

Oh, I was going to suggest you check your library's site... my library offers subscription access to the digital version of Chicago 16 (includes 15, too). Can't speak for all libraries, but worth checking?

nicoleandmaggie said...

Does Endnote not have Chicago 16? I am confused...

Z said...

I feel your pain, but also congratulate you!

undine said...

sophylou--good tip! I will check.

nicoleandmaggie--Endnote has two flavors of Chicago 16, but at least for MLA, things still have to be corrected--the reversal of editors' names, for example.

Z--thank you! I hope this is really close to the end.

Belle said...

I am convinced that the designers of Word are out to irritate the world. And yes, they are succeeding!