Proposal for Standard Press Styles of Internet Terminology

and invitation for participation


The birth of the World Wide Web in the fall of 1993 brought the power

and promise of global networking to the masses. With the Internet as

its poster child, the press community began intensely to examine and

report on the state of the online world. Since then, the Internet has

become a social phenomenon that has found its way in every

publication from Computerworld to Cosmopolitan.

Given the Internet's rise in social prominence (a stature that has

garnered literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions of clips in

the past two years), it is disheartening that the journalistic

community has not been able to arrive at standard conventions for

common Net-related terms.

For example, which is the correct spelling?

E-mail or Email or e-mail or email

The American Heritage Dictionary says "E-mail." The Oxford English

Dictionary says "email." Wired magazine writes "e-mail." Many

publications, however, are routinely inconsistent within their own



Traditionally, styles on spelling and usage are established only after

words have been in common use for years. The momentum of the digital

age, however, has forced copy editors and language pundits to

consider standards for a whole new lexicon sometimes mere months

after the words are coined.

In the true spirit of "interactivity" which the Internet embodies,

Niehaus Ryan Haller proposes to let those who use the words -- the

online community itself -- contribute to determining their spelling

standards. The event will be a World Wide Web survey, widely

promoted across the Internet, as well as in the popular and

professional journalism press. The survey will be hosted for several

weeks on a Web page with a polling technology, containing a

list of word choices for Netizens to vote among and add comments as

desired. At the close of the survey period, the results would again

be promoted broadly across the Internet and journalist communities.

The project represents a unique opportunity for those who set

journalistic standards to get feedback first from readers themselves.

Co-sponsors of the endeavor currently include Fitzgerald

Communications; PR Newswire; Ziff Davis;, an online

financial services review; GeoSystems, a mapping software firm; and

Release Software, a company that offers an online auto-payment

solution for software developers.

In addition to these, we are eagerly seeking other interested

companies in the high tech industry and journalistic institutions to

join in endorsing the project. Just as Netscape benefited in being

an industry leader behind standards when it created HTML tags and

then submitted them to the Internet Engineering Task Force for

standards approval, participants in this standards drive can benefit

as being active leaders in the formation of how the Internet affects

the everyday person. Sponsors are in name only. If you would like

to lend your name in support of the survey, the polling Web site

would contain a link to your URL.

Below, please find a list of potential terms to be included on the

survey. Please suggest any additional terms, likely to be used in

the popular press, which routinely present confusion.

Potential Terms for Survey

* Note use of capitalization


Cyberspace or cyberspace or Cyber-space or cyber-space

(Noun & Verb)

E-mail or Email or e-mail or email


Homepage or homepage or Home Page or Home page or

home page or Home-page or Home-Page or home-page

(Noun, abreviation of Internet)

Net or 'Net or net or 'net

(Prepositional phrase, as in "Check out our site xxx")

on-line or online or on line


on-line or online or on line

(Prepositional phrase, as in "Check out this imagexxx")

on-screen or onscreen or on screen


on-screen or onscreen or on screen

(Noun, abreviation of World Wide Web)

Web or web or WWW


Web page or Web Page or Webpage or webpage

or Web-page or web-page


Web site or Web Site or Website or website

or Web-site or web-site

Rick Bruner

Niehaus Ryan Haller

Public Relations

Tel: (415) 827-7058

Fax: (415) 615-7902