Typographic Conventions

Typographic Conventions

Murray Maloney

Our typographic conventions are a bit less traditional than the overall composition of the book. Our goal is to make the reading experience easier for you by subtly emphasizing more important material, while de-emphasizing content that is less central, yet still relevant. For example, we emphasize the definition of terms and discussion of organizing principles while we de-emphasize editorial asides and parenthetical references.

These formatting choices are intended to facilitate cognitive uptake. Where colored text is used, we chose dark colors to maintain contrast, while still offering subtle visual cues.


Definition of term. A sentence or paragraph in which a term is formally defined. The subtle underline color is Silver, a CSS built-in. Hover effect is to black underline the definition and embolden the term.

Editorial content: In which the authors and editors discuss the book as a book, cross-references and way-finding, and the editorial process; or, ruminations upon matters quite apart from the topic of the book itself; material that won’t be on the quiz; such as, for example, this sentence, or this entire section for that matter. Hover effect restores text opacity.

Organizing principle. Alphabetic ordering is an organizing principle. The text color is #004400, a dark green. Hover effect is bold text.

Parenthetical content: Typically used for asides, such as references to related material. (For a broader discussion of this topic, see: Activities in Organizing Systems.) Hover effect restores text opacity.

Statement. A topic sentence, or a richly semantic sentence or paragraph. Often, these are pithy sentences that might otherwise be overlooked, or hard to re-discover. The text color is Indigo, a CSS built-in. Hover effect is bold text.

Hypertext Links

To reduce the strain on our readers’ eyes, we have chosen to tone down all the glaring links we normally encounter. Rather than employing the typical blue underlined links that scream for attention, our links are presented in a darker, maroon color, without underline. Again, we hope that this will reduce distraction and facilitate cognitive uptake. The link color is #840024. a maroon. The hover effect restores the link to blue, underlined text to assure the gentle reader that this is, in fact, a hypertext link.Hover over a link to see the title of the target. Following are examples of some link types; other link types follow the same pattern.


This book attempts to represent all the disciplines that contribute to it, without compromising the need for depth, to treat each contributing discipline in a substantive way. Our design solution had been a core text with disciplinary and domain-specific content in hundreds of supplemental endnotes tagged by discipline. Eventually, we also started tagging core paragraphs and sentences. This design allows the book to emphasize concepts that bridge the different organizing disciplines while satisfying the additional topical needs of different academic programs.

Hundreds of paragraphs, sentences, and endnotes tagged with a lozenge-like prefix indicate that the content may be especially relevant within the realm of that discipline. The most tagged disciplinary paragraphs and endnotes are computing, library and information science, business, web, and cognitive science. Data science is closing the gap.

  • Business: Intellectual capital, human resources, access control, branding, decision support and strategic planning, economics.

  • Computing: Computer science, software engineering, and computing technology.

    • DS: Data Science, machine learning, statistical analysis, decision trees, scale and speed considerations, and new techniques for resource selection and classification.

    • Information Architecture: Data and document modeling. Information architecture is about the design of information models and their systematic manifestation in user experiences, for people using web sites, or in other contexts that are information-intensive.

    • Web: Web architecture, web standards, and particular web sites and web services.

  • LIS: Library and information science; these are not the same, but this is a conventional disciplinary category. Issues that apply broadly to memory institutions (i.e., libraries, museums, and archives).

    • Archives: Issues that apply more narrowly to archives.

    • Museums: Issues that apply more narrowly to museums and cultural collections.

  • CogSci: Cognitive science at the intersection of psychology, linguistics, philosophy, anthropology, and computer science. Broadly discusses human perception, decision making, problem solving, and other activities that affect organizing systems and actions, especially personal ones.

    • Linguistics: Issues that apply more narrowly to language construction and use.

    • Philosophy: Apply more narrowly to philosophy.

  • Law: Copyright law, license or contract agreements, “cultural property,” terms of use, and so on, and so forth.


And so on, and so forth and scooby dooby dooby. Oooh cha cha. — Everyday People, Sly Stone

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