I recently asked this on English.SE. My question was closed but there was a suggestion to post here. To be clear, the "section sign" § is
\S in LaTeX,
§ in HTML and Compose+s+o in the X Window System.
I'm writing a scientific article. In the main text, I write out the word "section". e.g. "In Section 3, I review the details of ..." When referring to books, I like to specify a section to make the reference more useful. Here, I use the section sign. e.g. "... as in Smith & Bloggs (1994, §8.2.5)".
Is this usage wrong or otherwise discouraged? I prefer using the symbol for brevity. A reference like "Smith & Bloggs (1994, Section 30.1.5)" seems awkward to me. But one of my co-authors, who is usually right about grammar and style, disagrees. If it is wrong, then when should one use the section sign, if ever?
I realise I could probably sidestep the issue by referring instead to pages. Is this preferred under standard citation practices?