Questions From Users of the Manual

Q: Does the change of footnote symbols from asterisk, dagger, etc (9th edition) to superscript lowercase letters (10th edition) apply not only to tables but also to the title page?

A: No, this change does not apply to the title page. Typically, the only footnotes used on the title page would be the “death dagger” (see section 2.3.2) and the asterisk at the end of the byline if the byline is the name of the group, not all members of which qualify for authorship (see p 15, bottom).

Q: In your information on databases, the link you provide for HUGO no longer links. Do you have the new URL?

A: Yes, since publication of the 10th edition of the manual, the URL for HUGO has changed. The new URL is We have included this in a new batch of errata posted on the companion website in January 2008 and it will be corrected in the third printing.

Q: In medical writing, is it preferred to spell naive with or without the umlaut over the i?

A: We would follow the latest edition of Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary. The 11th edition shows that both spellings are equally correct but, in such cases, to maintain uniformity among all the articles in our family of journals, we arbitrarily select the first spelling given: naive. Also, in the 10th edition of our manual (p 422), it indicates that “in general, English words in common usage should be spelled without the diacritical marks.”—Cheryl L. Iverson, MA

2 thoughts on “Questions From Users of the Manual

  1. I can understand using the lower case letters in tables that are primarily composed of numbers but I find them disconcerting while reading tiny type that is primarily letters. Also, the need to go as far as 26 footnote symbols (available in the alphabet) is rare in anything but journal articles and monographs. We try to use AMA at my place of business but I prefer to continue with asterisk, dagger, double-dagger, etc in promotional pharmaceutical advertising and direct to consumer medical information. It’s excessive for those purposes. It would be helpful if AMA extended its sphere of interest to promotional drug advertising rather than adhere so strictly to formal medical language, especially as influenced by European publications and style preferences. To me, all of those lower case letters is busy, hard to read, and (as mentioned earlier) excessive. Reminds me of the years that AMA tried to eliminate commas in numbers over 5 places and just use a space. I’m happy that’s been rescinded.

  2. This MRI glossary is no longer available:Hendrick RE, Bradley WG Jr, Harms SE, et al. ACR Revised Glossary 2005 (ACR Glossary of MRI Terms. 5th ed.) Chicago, IL: American College of Radiology; 2005. Accessed April 21, 2006.
    I am confused about an MRI term. Why is the “b” in “b value” italicized in the radiology literature but not in the AMA Style Manual? Isn’t it a variable?

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