KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

How to Teach Yourself AMA Style

If you need to learn AMA style (AMA Manual of Style, 10th edition), you can check the websites of various editorial professional associations for courses on the topic. The American Medical Writers Association and the Editorial Freelancers Association, for example, periodically offer courses, workshops, and webinars on medical style.

But while you're waiting for courses to open up, you can cobble together your own program for learning AMA style:

  • Buy a hardcover copy of the style manual and a subscription to the online version. There is an online form for ordering an individual subscription. Each day, spend 30 minutes to an hour studying a different portion of the manual until you've worked your way through it.
  • Follow the advice in the handout "How to Learn a Style Guide in 10 Days" (a PDF) from the 2012 conference of the American Copy Editors Society.
  • Bookmark the following sections of the manual, both in the hardcover and online:
    • Proper usage: chapter 11
    • Abbreviations for clinical, technical, and other common terms: chapter 11, section 14.11
    • Units of measure: chapter 14, section 14.12
    • Terminology for various medical specialties: chapter 15
    • Reference lists: chapter 3
    • Style for reference-list entries, within chapter 3:
      • Regarding a journal article: section 3.11 (pages 47–52)
      • Regarding printed books and chapters within them: section 3.12 (pages 52–56)
      • Regarding newspaper articles: section 3.13.1 (page 57)
      • Regarding government or agency bulletins: section 3.13.2 (pages 57–58)
      • Regarding theses or dissertations: section 3.13.4 (pages 58–59)
      • Regarding unpublished material: section 3.13.8 (pages 59–61)
      • Regarding electronic media (such as online journals, websites, online conference proceedings, email list messages): section 3.15 (pages 63–72)
*Note: After I wrote this post, Copyediting newsletter was redesigned after being sold to new owners. Thus, the links to the audio CDs given above no longer work. That may change as the site redesign continues. I will supply updated links for the CDs when they become available. This post was last updated on July 7, 2016.


LyzzyBee said...

Oh, the horror, the horror! I confused the AMA with the APA style. They're the one who have the lovely, lovely hard-copy book. Oops. Good advice here though, as always!

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

To each her own, stylewise. ;-)

Anna B. said...

This is priceless information, Katharine. Thank you!

I just printed the "How to Learn a Style Guide in 10 Days" handout. I am making this my goal for the next several days.

Bouncing from in-house to standard style guides can be jolting at times. As a professional editor, you need to know enough that when you see something that is off, you check it against the appropriate guide.

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