Dictionary Society of N. America - How I Compiled a Cybersecurity Style Guide

Date & Time:
Past Event
Bishop Fox speaking engagements on offensive security research and tools.

When I joined the information consulting firm Bishop Fox as a technical editor three years ago, I had trouble finding definitive answers for questions about pronunciation, near synonyms, and font choices. It was difficult to edit without knowing what to turn to for authoritative answers. I started building out a list of tricky terms, and in 2 years that list grew into a style guide. I’ve always loved and used reference works, but through creating a new one from scratch, I have become more aware of (and very sympathetic to) lexicographer-specific problems. Through creating a style guide for my company, I learned to consider the huge consequences of decisions like how to alphabetize, what to cross-reference, and how to decide when a style guide is “done.”

Cybersecurity terms blend together corporate jargon, military slang, and internet memes, and this style guide reflects that composition. By listing them alphabetically, this guide recreates the feeling of being in an infosec conversation – One minute it’s ransomware and Raspberry Pi, the next it’s rickrolling and Rule 34.

Come learn how developing a spelling bee from the word list influenced its most recent form, how DSNA Barbados helped me make an intentionally compassionate reference work, and what changed after I received early feedback from more established lexicographers.

I am proud to have compiled a resource that editors and lexicographers can point to in the future when they look to track the spread of niche terminology, and so glad to provide security writers with a daily resource that accurately represents their industry.

Technical Editor Brianne Hughes will present her talk Self-made Lexicographer: How I Compiled a Cybersecurity Style Guide at the Dictionary Society of North America 22 conference on Wednesday, May 8, 2019.


Brianne hughes

About the speaker, Brianne Hughes

Technical Marketing Writer

Brianne Hughes, a Bishop Fox alumna, is a technical marketing writer. Brianne led the compilation and curation of the Bishop Fox Cybersecurity Style Guide. She has spoken at CactusCon, SOURCE Mesa, and DSNA-21 about the guide. She designed and hosted SpellCheck: The Hacker Spelling Bee (based on the style guide) at The Circle of HOPE in 2018 and DEF CON 26. Brianne pursues research on cutthroat compound words and shares her linguistic findings at conferences. She is Assistant Executive Secretary for the Dictionary Society of North America (DSNA), an Odd Salon Fellow, and is on the board of directors for Wordnik Society, Inc.

Prior to joining Bishop Fox, Brianne worked as a freelance copy editor and as a technical editor for IHS Inc. Brianne holds a Master of Linguistics from the University of York.

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