A new national resource

Portrait of Pam Peters

We are very pleased to announce that, after 3 years of inhouse development at Biotext, AMOSS will be launched in an exciting new partnership between Biotext and Macquarie University. AMOSS will be relocated to a Macquarie University platform to improve access, and the university will co-develop new content for this well-respected reference on scientific style.

AMOSS extends Macquarie University’s long tradition of developing references on Australian language and style, including the Macquarie dictionary, and contributing to the last 3 editions of the Australian Government Style manual. More recently, Macquarie linguists have created a multilingual online platform (TermFinder) to provide accessible information on terminology in specialised academic and professional fields, such as family law and cancer medicine.

Both Biotext and Macquarie University take seriously the need for research when it comes to making recommendations on style, language and terminology. AMOSS embodies the experience of Biotext’s team of expert science writers, while Macquarie’s language guides are based on linguistic evidence extracted from databases of current Australian English and technical writing, compiled under the leadership of Emeritus Professor Pam Peters of the Macquarie University Linguistics Department.

Built into the new Biotext – Macquarie University partnership is a commitment to further research on scientific style and general communication. We will conduct user experiments to establish how best to present technical and numerical information in verbal and visual forms. In particular, we will develop comprehensive standards for accessibility for information-oriented websites, to ensure that information is not lost in a virtual wilderness.

The university also plans to build a style hub around AMOSS at stylehub.edu.au. This hub will be enriched with other publications relating to style, communication and accessibility standards, generated by the research program. The TermFinder banks of specialised terminology will also be linked to the hub. Future issues of Australian Style will be published through the hub, to disseminate research reports and letters on current trends in Australian English, and conduct surveys of community attitudes to changing usage. The ultimate aim is to make the style hub the go-to site for seeking information on all aspects of style – general and scientific – in Australia.

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