Heads up to folks responsible for Web pages

The changes in the APA Publication Manual will require many people to change their pages about using APA style. Now, I’m not writing this because I’m recommending that they add non-breaking spaces in their HTML. It’s just that people who have developed Web pages explaining APA style to folks will need to revise their pages.

At least one individual has already updated his page. See the recommendations of Doug Degelman of Vanguard University: “Spacing after Punctuation: Space once after commas, colons, and semicolons within sentences. Insert two spaces after punctuation ending sentences” (emphasis added; accessed 29 July 2009).

To get an idea of whether people had pages (or other documents) that would require updating, I searched with Google using “+apa style spaces after period” (sans quotes, of course). Here are 50 places where authors will apparently need to update their directions:

  1. http://www.docstyles.com/apacrib.htm
  2. http://www.personalityresearch.org/writing/apa.html
  3. http://www.louis-hoffman-virtualclassroom.com/Psychology%20Resources/Writing%20Resources/APA_style_little_things.htm
  4. http://www.unb.ca/extend/wss/apa5.htm
  5. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080620155924AA5VNxh
  6. http://rencsi.com/b/2009/05/one-space-or-two-spaces-after-a-period/
  7. http://www.accreditedwriters.com/apa-style-faq/
  8. http://gradpsych.apags.org/webexclusives/style0408.html
  9. http://www.psychwww.com/resource/APA%20Research%20Style%20Crib%20Sheet.htm
  10. http://www.fluther.com/disc/48808/when-typing-something-what-is-appropriate-after-a-period-one/
  11. http://big.net/amy/sota/howtowriteapastyle.doc
  12. http://ifindmyselfwondering.tribe.net/thread/cd781eb5-3aa7-4505-9a50-6a9a22baa3c1
  13. http://www.sunyjcc.edu/files/apa.pdf
  14. http://www.reddit.com/r/geek/comments/7pagt/apparently_two_spaces_after_a_period_is_no_longer/
  15. http://soe.cahs.colostate.edu/Graduate/Forms/documents/SOE-APA-Guide.pdf
  16. http://drupaled.alphabetademo.org/?q=blogpost/111
  17. http://psychology.about.com/od/apastyle/a/apageneral.htm
  18. http://www3.uark.edu/qwct/resources/handouts/14%20APA%20Style%20Guidelines.pdf
  19. http://www.defendingthetruth.com/off-topic/26870-single-double-space-after-period.html
  20. http://web3.woodbury.edu/library/infolit/apaguide.html
  21. http://chronicle.com/forums/index.php?topic=53775.45
  22. http://forums.macrumors.com/archive/index.php/t-121157.html
  23. http://www.lakeviewcol.edu/documents/APASTYLEREFRESHER-1.ppt
  24. http://www.sonoma.edu/users/s/smithh/psy445/pages/lornacatfordsummary.pdf
  25. http://professorialmusings.blogspot.com/2007/11/one-space-after-closing-punctuation.html
  26. http://cybertext.wordpress.com/2009/01/23/word-change-the-spaces-after-a-period/
  27. http://www.psichi.org/Pubs/Articles/Article_578.aspx
  28. http://blade.nagaokaut.ac.jp/cgi-bin/scat.rb/ruby/ruby-talk/168142
  29. http://new.dixie.edu/health/nursing/File/Nursing/APA%20format%20paper2.pdf
  30. http://teach.valdosta.edu/blbrowne/Experi/apacrib.pdf
  31. http://www.ps.ritsumei.ac.jp/college/files/APA_en.pdf
  32. http://faculty.virginia.edu/patecourses/EDLF_863_052/APA%20GUIDE%202001.pdf (our colleague’s guide for his students)
  33. http://academic.pgcc.edu/~dfinley/writingapastyle.htm
  34. http://www.schoolofed.nova.edu/matl/pdf/APA_QRG.pdf
  35. http://www.docstoc.com/docs/622853/APA-Style-Guide—Punctuation
  36. http://www.2myprofessor.com/Common/apa_intro.html
  37. http://www.docstyles.com/apastudy.htm
  38. http://savvytechtips.com/how-many-spaces-after-a-period.htm
  39. http://www.huntington.edu/students/learning_center/writing%20pointers.doc
  40. http://www2.ivcc.edu/stylebook/apa.html
  41. http://crofsblogs.typepad.com/english/2006/11/space_after_per.html
  42. http://voezo.awardspace.com/gold-rusa9/apa-style-single-space-after-period.html
  43. http://www.drkenhunt.com/apa.html
  44. http://ipt.boisestate.edu/files/APAFifthEditionJan06.pdf
  45. http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/im-so-stylish.aspx
  46. http://www.antiessays.com/free-essays/43113.html
  47. http://library.ccsu.edu/help/style/apa1.php
  48. http://www.missioncollege.org/lib/handouts/APA.pdf
  49. http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/news-and-opinion/the-angry-grammarian/the_angry_grammarian-38461859.html
  50. http://www.lscc.edu/library/guides/sampleapa.pdf

Google returns 248,000 results, though not all of them would be as germane as these first 50. Yahoo returned 145,000 and Bing returned 91,000. I didn’t check the extent to which those items overlap with the items in the list from Google.

To be sure, the authors of these resources will have to update their works to bring them into line with some of the other changes in the Publication Manual (e.g., headings). Still, it’s a lot of updating.

Some of these sources, however, are basing their recommendations on even-older versions of the Publication Manual. Some of these also include substantial other departures from APA style. And, just in case things are not confusing enough, here’s one that states that two spaces are needed, although it’s based on an earlier version of the Manual that didn’t require two spaces!


Filed under Comments, Notes

5 responses to “Heads up to folks responsible for Web pages

  1. I updated my post… kind of. Thanks for the heads up!

  2. You can put as many spaces as you like when typing in HTML and all but the first one will be ignored. To molify the APA, the whole Web will have to change its primary language.

    • Mr. Woolf, thanks for the comment. I agree that HTML will not recognize the extra spaces (unless, as we noted, they’re inserted as non-breaking spaces). I suspect that the folks responsible for APA style would argue that the recommendation for two spaces after sentence-ending punctuation (and colons) does not apply to the Web, that it applies to manuscripts and that Web versions are actually the finished publications.

  3. Good point. But I wonder what the logic is of having different rules for manuscripts and finished products. It’ll just force editors to add an extra stage of removing excess spaces if preparing material for multiple uses. And every extra stage, especially ones which are likely to be automated, introduce another possibility of introducing errors. I don’t want authors doing layouts, and that applies to spaces. (I already run automated scripts to remove tabs for paras, double returns, excess spaces etc, but the more there is to change the more chance of errors creeping through).
    My old argument was that typewriters put the dot in the middle of the character area whereas most word processor typefaces put the dot to the left side so there has long been a wider space than an ordinary word space after a full point.

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