As I am always either writing or editing, or doing a tango with both skills, I’ve found that having certain resources within arm’s reach is priceless.
Granted, most resources are online, so those are just keystrokes, or a couple clicks away, but sometimes a combination of online and paper works best.
So, here is a peek into some resources I use consistently for pulling an article together or editing a manuscript.
onelook.com - Type in a word and it searches numerous dictionaries, then click on the word next to the dictionary you’d like to use. I’m always using this. (online)
Merriam-Webster online - Merriam-Webster is the standard for the contracted editing I do, so sometimes using this specific online dictionary works best. I also have a hard cover of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary 11th Edition within reach at all times. (online or paper)
Chicago Manual of Style - Online version allows you to select 15th or 16th edition. Need a paid subscription. When I need to look something up in the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), I admit I’m challenged many times to figure out where it is found, so I go to the online CMS, type in the word I’m looking for and select 15th edition (since that’s what I’m using in hard cover). I do the online search and I’m usually rewarded with a list of sections where I can find more information. I then open my hard copy CMS and easily find the reference I need. (online and paper)
For instance, I just edited a manuscript that had a lot of U.S. Navy, Navy, and USS ship name. I knew the “USS” was correct as written, but CMS does not require periods in “US”, and if a branch of the military is used without “US”, then it is lowercase. Instead of going to the hard copy CMS and looking up various ‘military’ categories, I went online, typed in “U.S. Navy” and discovered 2 referenced sections for “US Navy”. (example below)
I need (and prefer) a combination of both online resources and paper-based. The variety works well for me.
What online and paper resources do you use on a regular basis?
Lisa Jackson is an independent editor, writer, journalist, and chocolate lover. She writes fiction as Lisa Haselton, has an award-winning blog for book reviews and author interviews, and is on the staff of The Writer’s Chatroom where she gets to network with writing professionals on a weekly basis! © Lisa J. Jackson, 2011