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purpose of style guide

to address program needs for the preparation and presentation of content, Alliance for the Advancement of Technology develops some normative style guidelines for presenting programs. guidelines should be applied to promote effective communication and clarity of thought, in addition to facilitating efficient processes of documentation development. part of this involves a proactive approach to integrating methods of readiness for sources of data interchange.

adapting to audience concerns finding ways to communicate content effectively. in one sense adapting to audience concerns providing information about content so that the information is clear. in another sense adapting to audience concerns choosing content that addresses the purposes of a document. if proper date formats are used (formats that are unambiguous), adapting to audience need not mean rearranging year month day date elements. the question for the communicator is what formats and styles are appropriate for a document. or stated another way, what formats and styles can one use to improve the communication of scientific or technical information.

if the right-pointing arrow graphic of a multimedia application is clear to users as a 'play' function, adapting to audience need not mean labeling the button "play", nor necessarily translating the function name into other languages. however safety issues can demand that user information for electrical appliances be documented in the language(s) of the user market.

notes about style resources style guidelines are developed to represent objectives for the use of a usable style. although certain style practices may vary in other communities or genres, principles of style are derived from various other language and style references, and from programs development. readers should note that certain documents may not yet reflect current style usage. even so this document provides information about style guidelines that can also be used by others who are looking for practical solutions to matters of clear communication and information interchange.

this style guide should be used in coordination with other designated style resources which include the following:

other sources also describe information that can relate to editing, content, or vocabulary guidelines. metrication policy

a review of a possible future metrological framework that can be referenced in terms of an ICAS (Integrated Chonological Applications System) that is traceable to SI (International System of Units, Le Système International d'Unités) remains in process. in accordance with AAT ICAS 9030, communications should reflect the use of ICAS uniform scales of date and time as preferred scales for the expression of dates and times. SI measures should be presented as preferred measures for other practical areas of measure. the development of a larger SI-ICAS framework however calls for additional consideration of standards for the normative usage of one or more metrological frameworks. those interested in additional information about ICAS development should register an ICAS license, or subscribe to the aaticas forum.

usage of metrication expressions

use the expressions 'International System of Units' or 'SI' to refer to SI. the use of conventional expressions 'metric system' or 'modern metric system' is however discouraged for normative uses in favor of more specific formulations. Also avoid hyphenating term 'metric' with terms 'SI' or 'ICAS'. Consider reserving the use of term 'metric' as an adjective for reference to notions of 'measure' or 'scale' rather than 'system'.

use ICAS terms and expressions to refer to ICAS systems and measures (AAT ICAS 2020). avoid referring to scales or systems of measure in terms of particular communities, organizations, or users unless referring to a specific standard; for example, avoid referring to units as 'american', 'babylonian', 'european', 'imperial', and so forth. metric scales should be referenced in terms of specific systems such as SI or ICAS. traditional scales may be referenced as 'traditional', 'customary', or as 'pre-metric' scales. the proper names of particular units may also be appropriately referenced: for example, 'm k s', '24-hour dial', or 'IFP'.

usage of terms 'SI' or 'ICAS' should reference a current or effective version. any references to prior versions must be specifically referenced. the status of W3C documents must also be appropriately represented. links to standards documents should be structured to anticipate changes in version or status. consider linking to a high-level directory document to avoid the need to update for lower-level document changes.

about AAT

general formats

documents should be structured for presentation per designated styles.

character encoding

to reduce needs to normalize documents for different sets of regional character encodings, or for different vendor-specific encodings: UTF-8 character encoding is designated for the preparation of organizational documents.

styles of capitalization

different projects may call for different types of structured document. use a style or convention of capitalization that is appropriate for the type of document. writers should note that different organizations might use different styles of capitalization for particular purposes such as titles of documents or works. please refer to Chicago Manual of Style or to other specific style guides for further details.

  • sentence capstyle—general style of capitalization that is widely used for many types of prose (capitalize first letter of a sentence and proper words).
  • titleword capstyle—capitalize all major or topical words (generally, capitalize nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs but not articles, conjunctions, or prepositions).
  • summary or structured capstyle—only capitalize proper words such as proper names, and the designated capitals of initialisms and acronyms. don't capitalize the first word of a sentence or phrase for a purpose of only formatting the beginning of a sentence. a structured capstyle may be particularly appropriate in structured document contexts where document headings are presented with designated header style formatting, such as a CSS presentation of XHTML. a structured capstyle may also be appropriate for summaries or items in a list, or for content that might be read quickly or scanned.
  • ALLCAPS—this style can be easily overused. reconsider another style unless there is a clear reason why a sparing use of all caps would be appropriate.
  • embeddedCaps—refer to specific programming style guides.

some particular terms may have special capitalization and lowercasing of terms, and these conventions should be observed with reference to a designated practicable reference style. those terms subject to designated lowercasing should always be presented in terms of lowercase designations, even at the beginning of a sentence.

given the variety of casing conventions for various different projects that include areas of computer science, the particular casing conventions to be used for a particular project should reflect needs for case sensitivity. in some processes case information is ignored ('Calendar' and 'calendar' are parsed as equivalent), and in others it is not ('Calendar' and 'calendar' are parsed as different). in the case of a web page form, a user may need to know what effects casing might have on the submission of an expression. in such cases, case-sensitivity should be documented.

for an example of the use summary or structured capstyles on the web site, please refer to documents in the AAT ICAS code library.

organizational Identity

use an appropriate long or short form name for the organization. capitalization and lowercasing of organizational name or identity forms should be observed.

the long form of organization name is Alliance for the Advancement of Technology.

the short form of organization name is 'AAT' or 'AAT at'

organization can also be referenced in terms of 'aatideas' brand, or by web site domain. In these cases 'aatideas' should always be presented in lowercase characters, even at the beginning of a sentence.

with regard to the usage of articles 'a' and 'an'; express terms 'AAT', 'ICAS', 'NC', 'UC', and 'IDC' in terms of how the letters would be spoken. term 'aatideas' may be pronounced as 'a' - 'a' - 't' - 'ideas'.

  • an AAT program.
  • an resource for information about technology education.
  • an ICAS interface
  • an NC yeargroup
  • a UC date
  • an IDC time

the use of designated organizational graphics remains under consideration.

normative representation of networked address systems

for purposes related to organizational operation and programming content, some designated address formats are specified:

referencing telecom

references include International Telecommunications Union standard ITU-T E.123 and W3C standards for HTTP.

  • ITU-T E.123 : Notation for national and international telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and Web addresses. International Telecommunication Union (2001 feb).
  • W3C Architecture domain : HTTP - Hypertext Transfer Protocol.

telephone numbers can be represented for global audiences in a format that begins with a plus sign and a space delimiter between any country code, city code, and number. parentheses ( ) can be used to indicate digits that might not always be dialed. hyphens are not specified in E.123, however are customary in certain regions.

tel + 1 510 555 5555

if a telephone number is a data, fax, or TTY line; consider the use of periods as a delimiter of area code and number:

fax + 1.510.555.1111

to be more clear and to be more ready for many sources of data interchange, write web addresses that are to be read by readers between single quotes, and include a protocol specifier (for example 'http://'). single quotes can clearly delimit a web address and this method is also used for representing web addresses in ECMAScript or JavaScript.

referencing post

term 'post' is to be used for reference to system of postal addresses. postal addresses should be specified sufficiently in any case. standard abbreviations and punctuation guidelines may be appropriate for use.


indefinite gender communications should reflect the reference of indefinite gender when appropriate. references to third-person term designations that are not subject to identification with a particular gender should be represented by gender-indefinite language. for example, use expressions 'police officer' rather than 'policeman' or 'policewoman' or 'policeman/woman''; or 'mail carrier' rather than 'mailman' or 'mailwoman' or 'mailman/woman'.

a trend for usage of a singular 'their' or 'they' is gaining acceptance as proper usage among some communicators. the use of these terms for cases of indefinite gender is even gaining acceptance to the extent of being considered more grammatical than references to 'he', 'she', or the cumbersome 'he/she'.

one can also refer to indefinite gender in terms of the subject 'one' rather than 'he' or 'she' or even the cumbersome 'he/she'.

punctuation conventions for the use of punctuation are reviewed in relation to program objectives (such as the development of ICAS usage guidelines) and to certain established usage conventions. Chicago Manual of Style should also be consulted for general and specific matters of style, grammar, and punctuation.

punctuation of short forms

a trend away from certain conventional uses of periods in punctuating short form expressions such as abbreviations is under review as a principle of usable style. not only is less typography easier with regard to preparing text, it may also be less ambiguous for readers with regard to determining sentence punctuation. short forms should only be used unambiguously. in some cases, text may be better communicated via the use of long forms.

special note: writers applying this convention to short forms for 'United States' should also be aware of sections of the US Government Printing Office Style Manual that concern abbreviations and letter symbols. some other organizations also observe the punctuation of short forms for 'United States' regardless of whether referring to a geopolitical entity or to a geographical region. communications takes the approach that the most important consideration in the use of a particular short form is that the referent should be clear by context (or consider using a formal long form expression). in any case, no language, expression, nor convention should be interpreted to convey that a particular view is endorsed by, or that AAT is acting in an official capacity on behalf of, a governmental organization unless such claim is specifically authorized. if for a specific case another style convention is more needed or is more relevant, then writers should consider its use for that case. if information about a particular style convention also needs to be conveyed to readers, then writers may also consider the use of a special style note.

in style, text expressions of eras (UCN, UCA, AD, BC, and so forth) are not punctuated with periods. likewise, SMH clock time of day designations (am and pm) are not punctuated with periods. the short forms 'am' and 'pm' are sometimes capitalized by other organizations('AM' and 'PM').

avoid the use of non-standard short forms. either use a standard short form or use the long form. for example use terms 'MN' or 'Minnesota' but NOT 'Minn.' likewise use terms 'CA' or 'California' but NOT 'Cal.' or 'Calif.' (However term 'Cal' is sometimes used as a proper short form, for example, 'Caltrans'.).

usage of serial comma

the serial comma is to be used in communications in support of a focus on readability in the context of the potential expression of a variety of sentence structures and types of series units. the use of a serial comma reinforces the structure of serial sentence units as a series, and can support the expression of good sentences that might otherwise be ambiguous.

clausal punctuation

generally, two main clauses should be separated by punctuation stronger than a comma unless one of the clauses is connected by a coordinating conjunction. connecting terms like 'however' and 'therefore' are considered by many usage references to be adverbs or conjunctive adverbs that can function as both an adverb and a conjunctive. although conjunctive adverbs can be used like a conjunction would be used, they are considered to be adverbs because the position of these terms can often be rearranged in a clause (also because they typically function like adverbs).

the application of a 'comma-splice' rule to certain conjunctive adverbs however raises certain grammar and style questions concerning sentence punctuation. some grammarians have also suggested that sentence punctuation might be better addressed with a focus on the types of units in a sentence, rather than the particular choice of a coordinating expression. finds that a strict application of the 'comma-splice' rule to conjunctive adverbs does not always address how certain main clauses relate.

in one sense commas and semicolons are used to indicate a level of punctuation or pause for the clauses in a sentence, with a main objective of guiding a reader along through the sentence. if a conjunctive adverb is coordinated more like a conjunction than an adverb, is the matter of whether the term can also be rearranged in a sentence as pertinent to the matter of punctuation? under consideration by is whether the punctuation of main clauses connected by conjunctive adverbs would be more practicably served by determination of how they are used rather than how they are categorized. in this sense the way that main clauses are related would play a larger role in the determination of sentence punctuation than would the part of speech category of a connecting expression.

an alternative to the 'comma-splice' rule remains under consideration. some expressions can be rewritten to conform to the 'comma-splice' rule, [however/but] certain expressions continue to raise practical exceptions.

level of quotation

the arrangement of punctuation with regard to quotation marks, single quotes, exclamation points, and question marks is determined in terms of whether the punctuation indicates a reference to a sentence or a part of a sentence. these guidelines may be appropriate for use in describing topics concerning computer science and linguistics, and are under review as appropriate for use as a general Internet style.

usage of quotation marks

the expression of sentence punctuation for material enclosed by quotation marks is determined by whether the quoted material belongs to the sentence or to the quoted material:

  • "ICAS can simplify timesetting tasks."
  • yet
  • the web site says that "ICAS can simplify timesetting". *
  • however
  • the web site says that "ICAS can simplify timesetting tasks."
  • see also Chicago Manual of Style, 14th ed., 5.11–13.

* make a determination on how much information about the quotation would be useful for readers. in cases where distinctions of content as quoted or as presented are trivial, one may also practicably and conventionally include the sentence's terminal period inside quotation marks; as is the convention for many American usage resources. however if a such a practice might compromise the meaning of the quoted material then consider placing the sentence's terminal period outside the quotation marks. if the meaning of the quote still doesn't seem clear then consider an alternative expression of the material.

usage of single quote marks

sentence punctuation for material enclosed by single quotes should be placed outside of the single quotes:

  • decitriad expressions may also be expressed in terms of an abridged format: for example, '1tt389' is equivalent to 't001 tt389'.

quotations of translated material

single quote marks are also used to indicate an English translation of material quoted from another language.

the metric system is designed:

  • a tous les peuples; a tous les temps
  • 'for all people; for all time'

[translation cited from Metrication Leaders Guide by Pat Naughtin,]

hyphenation of compound words

principles of clarity and readability are the foundation of many of the rules about the hyphenation of compound words. consult a dictionary or the style resources listed above for further information.

as some uses of the compound 'non-profit' are hyphenated, while some other uses of compound 'nonprofit' are non-hyphenated (even for certain adjective compounds), and as the use of phrase 'nonprofit' poses little or no risk of ambiguity or misreading, the compound phrase 'nonprofit' may forthwith be regarded as a closed (non-hyphenated) compound even when used as an adjective compound.

the expressions 'pre-metric', 'pre-SI', and 'pre-ICAS' are hyhpenated.

dates and times

AAT ICAS standards are designated as a primary normative reference for the expression of dates and times.

in many cases, era designators can precede the year number of a date more practicably. for the time being however, style also reflects the representation of an era designator following a year number for purposes of copyright legends. communications should reflect the expression of SMH clock unit indicators 'am' and 'pm' in lowercase and without periods.

expression of numbers

with regard to international conventions for the expression of numbers, communications should forthwith designate the space character for use as a numerical place delimiter.

numbers consisting of 4 or less places are expressed without a delimiter: 1000

numbers consisting of 5 or more places are expressed with a delimiter at every thousands multiple: 10 000 or 10 000 000.

the larger uniform yeargroups of the AAT cosmological timeline may however be expressed with hyphen delimiters: pre-gigalennium 1-000-000-000.

terms in the set 'million', 'billion', and 'trillion' may have different customary meanings in different regions. consequently, usage of these customary terms are discouraged in favor of the preferred usage alternatives described in AAT ICAS 2024

the numeral designations 'Roman' and 'Arabic' are capitalized in a historical context, or when referring to Roman or Arabic developments. the numerical designations 'roman' and 'arabic' are however lower-cased when used in a conventional context, or when referring to numerals as a particular conventional system of numbers.

top document updated:

system identifiersdatetime
Uniform CalendarUCUCN 12011 P09 Violet
Inter-Dial ClockIDCzone(UT)t408 tt900
'ICAS in use' can accommodate calendar and clock formatting 'for all people, for all time'.
day of yearD-o-YAD common year day039
Gregorian calendarGG2011 February 08 Tuesday
seconds, minutes, hoursSMHUT09:48:49
style legend


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