As a college newspaper editor and journalism major, I’ve lived in the world of rules on punctuation, grammar, and the Associated Press Stylebook for more than 30 years. Around the LISI office, we have spirited discussions about such pedantic topics as double-quote vs. single and the Oxford comma. It gets pretty wild (if you’re a librarian).
Along that line, this article caught my eye: “Bulletin! The ‘Internet’ Is About to Get Smaller.” The New York Times has decided to follow the AP’s style of making the word “Internet” lower case rather than capitalized. Going into effect June 1, this change is more than turning an “I” into an “i.” It shows how pervasive the global network of networks has become in our business and personal lives.
I’ve been on the [I]nternet since before the days of websites, since my early law school days. At one point, the style was to write, “World Wide Web” and refer to its properties as “Web sites.” At the time, these computer-served ‘places’ seemed a strange frontier. As part of the Villanova Law School Center for Information Law and Policy, I helped guide lawyers and law students to this seemingly untamed new world, with some claiming that its unregulated and not-fact-checked nature would render it useless in their profession or lives. I would imagine that all of those early doubters not only rely on the Internet for many aspects of professional and personal life, but also are absolutely attached to a mobile device that delivers the power of the Internet wherever they are.
As technology and times change, our language changes with it. With the pace of change seeming to accelerate, we will surely experience similar changes before too long.
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