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Macro-Typography

The layout of text on a page follows certain rules that generally remain unconscious after they have been learned. Only when young children or newcomers to literacy write on paper do we realize from the "oddness" or "disorder" of the arrangement that these rules have been breached. The introduction of personal computers in the 1990s made many adults feel like children again as they struggled to arrange text on computer screens.

This research website and style guide investigates these rules and examines the ways in which traditional mise-en-page has been adapted to the web. It will examine the invisible architecture of information, the history of text arrangement (which generally goes back to Antiquity) and the mechanisms offered by web-browser software to replicate and augment traditional formats such as the footnote, verse, the list and the stemma.

To understand the browser discussion, readers will need to know at least a little about two mark-up languages: HTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). The historical discussion includes links to digitized manuscripts which follow the rules that later became codified as macro-typography.