Has Chicago gotten better?

I recently took on a project that involved editing a museum exhibit in accordance with the Chicago Manual of Style. As part of my work, I developed an extensive style sheet based on Chicago, complete with references to various sections of the manual (e.g., “Per Chicago 6.19, please use a serial comma”).

I’ve spent years lambasting Chicago and complaining about how difficult it is to find anything in its index — and largely focusing on projects that involved GPO, AP, or internal house styles. After returning to Chicago for the first time in a few years — and using the 15th edition for the first time — I found the index surprisingly easy to navigate, and I had no trouble locating the multiple points of guidance I needed in the manual itself. Moreover, I found the instructions in the manual to be sensible and straightforward.

So — is this 15th edition of Chicago indeed much better than the last? Or have I just become a more sophisticated editor — such that I’m no longer confused by the way Chicago organizes its information?

What do you think?

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