About English Handbooks as a Genre

An English Handbook is a reference work used by writers when they have questions about various issues related to writing.  These include: formatting guidelines, style guidelines, SWE usage guidelines, citation guidelines, etc.  As a genre, the English Handbook, is quite old and books belonging to or related to this genre have been published almost as long as the printed book has been in existence.  However, it was only in the 20th century that an English Handbook specifically designed for "the" college writing course came into existence.  Since that time, hundreds of English Handbooks have been published and millions have been printed and distributed.  One of the best known is The Bedford Handbook by Diana Hacker.  With more than an estimated 3 million copies in print, this handbook continues to be printed and sold in new editions to this day.  With the increasing adoption of the world wide web as a publishing platform, many writing programs and writing professors now publish their own English Handbooks.  One of the best known of these is housed at the Purdue OWL, which is a resource for writers that offers much more than a "mere" English Handbook, but that also, with some navigational help, includes the materials usually contained in an English handbook.  On this website, you will find a collection of Open Access resources that can be used as a Digital English Handbook by students.  Like every digital text, this one offers some advantages and disadvantages compared to printed English Handbooks.  I recommend making use of both a printed English Handbook and various digital resources related to them.