Angle Brackets, Anybody?


16 March 2014


Is this a venial sin or a mortal one?  Fifteen years ago, when URLs were new to citations, style manuals called for placing them in angle brackets. Those angle brackets had become the editorial norm for enclosing instructions meant for those who executed editorial commands electronically—despite the contention of software engineers that angle brackets alone didn’t create proper HTML code. We shouldn’t be suprised. After all, editors and software engineers aren’t known for speaking the same language.

Since then, that dictate has caused more than a few software engineers to mutter things that style gurus don't like to hear. CMOS 14.11 (16th ed.) still tries to walk a fine line: "Though angle brackets ... are standard with e-mail addresses or URLs in some applications, these are unnecessary in the context of [citations]."

Unnecessary? Or undesirable? No big deal? Or an absolute abomination? How does the EE congregation feel?

yhoitink's picture
As long as you include the

As long as you include the full form of the URL (including the http://), it is clear that it is a URL and does not need angled brackets. I must say that I always found angled brackets useful to show if interpunction was part of the URL or of the sentence, i.e. <> but that is an edge case.

Yvette Hoitink, CGSM, the Netherlands
Dutch Genealogy Services