Alphabetic Reference in Glossary

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    Melissa Klepper

    We have a glossary that has displayed material (i.e., illustrative material). We formatted the entry words as cell-5 headings. We were wondering if there would be a blank line after the alphabetic divisions since in this case it precedes a cell 5 heading.


    The guideline 22.6.5 Glossaries with Samples. states that we would use cell-5 headings for the guide words. In the old BF (1997) the Rule 19.3.b(2) points to Rule 4 Sec 3, for cell-5 headings, which states you would have a blank line before it.

    Could you please clarify if we would use a blank line after the letter K and before the cell-5 heading? This is what I am reading about Alphabetic Divisions:

    22.2.3 Alphabetical Divisions
    a. Center alphabetical division letters.
    b. The letter indicator is used before alphabetical division letters.
    c. Always insert a blank line before, but not after, the first alphabetical division.
    d. Do not insert blank lines before or after other alphabetical divisions. *******
    e. Follow print for capitalization.

    ... I don't see an exception for headings, so I would be inclined to leave out the blank line between the Alphabetic reference and the heading, but it just feels so wrong...

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    No, it doesn't feel so wrong. It LOOKS so wrong. That's because you and I can see it. But your reader can't. There is a similar question a couple of posts down called Index Alpha Divisions that raises the same issue. Here is my response to that:

    Print readers see a blank line immediately and read on, but braille readers can only tell by journeying across at last half of the print page, whether that line is indeed blank or bearing text. In the case of that very short alphabetical division, when centered, it also requires a journey across half the page before the reader knows it's there. The elimination of that blank line may not be so pleasing to look at for the print reader, but I suspect it improves the reading experience in braille. The braille reader has to look at only one line past the running head, catch that division letter, and immediately see text close in, if not actually at, the left margin on the very next line.

    Of course here, the next text will be in cell 5, pretty close in, especially since the reader will now be aware that these are cell-5 entries and be expecting to see them. And as you have rightly noted, there is no exception for headings. No blank line before and after alpha division letters except for the very first one. That way, the reader spends as little time as possible to get across from a letter to the next entry.


    Melissa Klepper

    Thanks again for quick response and clarification. I read the one on indexes but this was a little different because of the cell 5 heading. I am comforted to know I was on the right track. Sometimes I just need a second opinion, I appreciate you SO MUCH! I just have to say THANK YOU again, for taking the time to answer not just me, but all of us who have these types of inquiries. This is such a great resource for us all.

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