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Work begins on new edition of government style manual

The federal government’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) has appointed Canberra-based communications agency Ethos CRS to lead the development of the seventh edition of the Australian government’s Style Manual, which for the first time will be released as a digital product.

Ethos CRS will work with the DTA to scope out the detail and digital architecture of the new Style Manual in the first stage of the project, which begins this month. Oxford University Press (OUP) and the Australian National University’s Australian National Dictionary Centre will provide Australian English language expertise in the first stage of the manual’s development.

Ethos CRS CEO Chas Savage said the objective of the project is to ‘refresh and define government style and provide comprehensive advice on whole-of-government standards and publishing requirements’. ‘We also know that the current edition, published in 2002, is silent on the style conventions that enable the creation and use of digital content,’ said Savage. ‘A whole generation is waiting for the Australian government to define digital style.’

The Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd) congratulated Ethos CRS, and said a major revision of the manual is long overdue. ‘We hope that the seventh edition will provide relevant and detailed advice on best practices for all editors, not only for those working in and for government,’ said Rowena Austin, chair of IPEd’s Style Manual Steering Group.

OUP ANZ secondary publishing director Lee Walker said she was delighted to be involved with the project. ‘As the authority on Australian English, we are looking forward to contributing to the Australian Government’s Style Manual, ensuring the highest standards for writing and publishing are maintained, and that the language used in government publications reflects the new realities of the digital age.’

The DTA, which has been working on the Style Manual since 2017, aims to release the live product in 2020. The style guide will be digital-only in the first instance, with a print edition to follow if there’s demand. For more information, visit the DTA website here.

 

Category: Local news