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Book Review: The IBM Style Guide

January 8, 2012

In my chat with Kristina Halvorson in her 5by5 series, I mentioned that my role in IBM prior to becoming the global search strategy lead was as editor in chief of In that role, I was in charge of improving content quality across marketing pages on The first  job was to develop a corporate marketing style guide and link it to our enterprise corporate style guide. I also mentioned that the  enterprise style guide was about to be printed.

COnventions for Writers and Editors

Since that talk, I am pleased to announce that The IBM Style Guide is in print and available from most  online book sellers. The book is chock full of content quality advice, especially for technical and computing-related content. For those in marketing, please see “Appendix A. Exceptions for Marketing Content,” which I wrote with the help of a committee of editors.

I’m pleased that my small contribution to this book reflects the overall effort by dozens of brilliant editors to unify style guidance across an enterprise of millions of assets serving every business and user goal. The authors and their colleagues in the IBM Style and Usage Council–which created and maintains the online version of the guide–have hundreds of years of corporate writing and editing experience between them. My relatively brief time on that council was some of the most rewarding work I’ve done, primarily because of how smart everyone on the council is.

This book is not just for IBM content producers. It is a model for similar large-enterprise content quality efforts. It is a must-have desk reference for anyone publishing technical subject matter.


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