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Communities of practice

Content Guide vs Aust Gov Style Manual - what are you following?

I’ve only had a cursory look through the new Style Manual, but I’ve seen some variation (eg full stop on last bullet point; spelling out zero and one).

I’m curious about whether the content guide plans any revisions to align. If so, when?

Has anyone done a thorough comparison? Feel like sharing?

What are y’all planning to do / follow as your #1 guide?

Hi Jo

the new Australian Government Style Manual (Style Manual) supersedes the Content Guide.

You can see a summary of the differences between the Style Manual and the Content Guide (and the sixth edition of the Style Manual) on the Style Manual Changelog.

We are in the process of setting up a banner and some redirects from the Content Guide to let users know about the change.

You can find out more about the Style Manual by reading the About and Getting started pages, including that it replaces the Content Guide.

We will be switching off the Content Guide on 23 October 2020. The information will still be available through Trove’s snapshots of the Content Guide.

If you want to stay in touch with the Style Manual you can subscribe to our monthly newsletter. You can also tell us what you think about the Style Manual using the feedback form at the bottom of every page.


Susan Baird

Style Manual Team

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Ooh thanks heaps Susan, good to know :+1:t4:

Hi Susan - acknowledging that the new Style Manual is being presented as an online-first resource and will be updated regularly, are there any plans to produce regular snapshots in OpenDocument (or even PDF) format as a download for offline use?

Some additional questions:

  • The changelog mentions “DSM 1.0” and lists the items introduced - will there be ‘releases’ of updated content or will changes be made on a rolling basis?
  • Will version info be displayed on pages or the Style Manual as a whole? (I couldn’t see any at the moment.)
  • Will the changelog contain diffs between releases/rolling edits of the Style Manual on an ongoing basis or only between the Content Guide and the DSM 1.0?



Hi Jessica,
I hope the following helps to answer your questions.
Hard copy
At this stage the Style Manual is available as an online resource only. During Discovery, some users told us they want a book as well as a website. This wasn’t in scope for the first release MVP (Minimum Viable Product). At that time we also had no way of knowing if users would continue to want a book after the digital product became available. This is first time the Style Manual has available online and we’re not sure how this will change the way users interact with it. We’ll look into this further once the digital product has been Live for a few months and people have had a chance to become familiar with it.
One issue with making the Style Manual downloadable is that users won’t know when new content has been added or when guidance has changed. Meaning they may proliferate out-of-date style, resulting in more inconsistency instead of less. The antithesis of what we are trying to achieve with the new manual.
Rendering of version numbers
I’m not sure that we’ve made a decision about publishing the version number on the header or on every page. I have added it to our backlog as something we should look at. It sounds like a sensible thing to do.
Regular releases
There will be regular releases, we think these releases will be quarterly. This won’t mean that the rules and guidance will change every 3 months. We have confidence in the guidance that has been published. Rather, releases will expand current topics (more detail, more examples etc) and introduce new topics that we couldn’t cover in the first release.
This is one of the strengths of the digital product. We were able to target the content that users told us was the most important and release that early. It probably would have taken us another year to complete the ‘long tail’ of content.
Future of changelog
In the future the changelog will highlight differences from previous releases of the Style Manual only. The history of changes will remain in the changelog.

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