Editorial Standards

The purpose of this editorial style guide for writers, editors, and proofreaders is to ensure that a clear and consistent message is presented in all non-academic publications. This guide is by no means an exhaustive collection of the University’s editorial policies, but it does attempt to cover the most common or problematic issues found in copy for publications and websites.

Download the UNO Editorial Standards (pdf format) >>

Academic Degrees

Full names of degrees are lowercased; abbreviations are uppercased and take periods:

  • bachelor of science degree in chemistry, bachelor’s degree in chemistry, B.S. in chemistry
  • master’s degree in music, master of arts in music education, M.A. in music education, holds two master’s degrees
  • master of business administration, M.B.A.
  • doctorate in English, Ph.D. [NB: As at many other colleges and universities, “Dr.” is used to designate the holder of a medical, not an academic, degree. To pithily indicate the possession of a doctorate, the following format may be used: history professor Connie Atkinson, Ph.D.]

Degrees and Class Years

  • George Doe ’67
  • George Doe ’97, M.S. ’98
  • Judy Smith Doe, M.B.A. ’04, has been promoted to vice president.
  • the class of 1992, the class of ’92, the senior class

Ages, Events, and Movements


  • the Bronze Age, Iron Age, Ice Age
  • the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Reformation
  • the nuclear age, the information age [ Chicago recommends lowercasing modern periods]


  • American Revolution, Industrial Revolution
  • the baby boom, baby boomers
  • the civil rights movement
  • the cold war
  • the Great Depression, the Depression
  • Hurricane Katrina
  • Prohibition
  • September 11; 9/11


  • art deco, art nouveau
  • baroque
  • impressionism
  • modernism, postmodernism
  • Romanesque [uppercased because derived from a proper noun]
  • romanticism, romantic


We alphabetize letter by letter, as in dictionaries, rather than word by word, as in telephone directories. In the letter-by-letter system, alphabetizing continues up to the first comma or parenthesis; word spaces and all other punctuation marks are ignored:


Acronyms and other abbreviations are alphabetized as they appear, not according to their spelled-out versions: FBI, Fears, Saint-Gaudens, St. Denis. Numerals that begin entries, however, are alphabetized as though they were spelled out.

Personal Names

Family names containing particles (de, von, la, etc.) are alphabetized according to traditional or national usages: Beauvoir, Simone de; Beethoven, Ludwig van; de Gaulle, Charles. Compound family names are alphabetized according to the first element: Lloyd George, David; Vaughn Williams, Ralph.

Personal names that serve as names of businesses or organizations are usually alphabetized under the first name or initials: Franziska Racker Centers, J. C. Penney Company, John Heinz Institute of Rehabilitative Medicine.

Sample alphabetized list using these principles:

  • Simone de Beauvoir
  • Ludwig van Beethoven
  • CC’s Community Coffee House
  • Peter Dabson
  • Anne Da Cunha
  • Michael C. Daniels
  • Dave Smith’s Auto Service
  • John and Marcia Dean-Smith
  • Matthew L. DeCarlo
  • Edward Decker Jr.
  • FBI
  • Ferris Bueller Day Care Services
  • Franziska Racker Centers
  • Mary Lamson
  • David Lloyd George
  • Gregory O’Brien
  • Sandra Olson
  • Dave Smith
  • 10 Downing Street
  • Ralph Vaughn Williams


Specific names of awards, prizes, and medals are capitalized. Categories within those prizes are lowercased.

  •  Academy Award for best actress, best actress Oscar
  • Alpha Epsilon Rho Award for audio documentary
  • Dean’s Award
  • dean’s list
  • Emmy Award, a regional Emmy Award, three Emmys for directing
  • Los Angeles Times Book Award [NB: Do not italicize names of periodicals if they’re part of an award name.]
  • Purple Heart

College and University Designations

We use ACE’s Accredited Institutions of Postsecondary Education as our reference guide for the official names of colleges; commonly cited institutions are listed below.

  • University of New Orleans
  • University of New Orleans – Lakefront Campus
  • University of New Orleans – East Campus (in reference to the Lakefront Arena)
  • University of New Orleans – Jefferson Center
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • University of Wisconsin–Madison

Compound Modifiers

As a general guideline, compound modifiers are open or hyphenated before the noun, and open after the noun: she was well known; a well-known authority on British history. If there’s a chance of ambiguity, it’s better to hyphenate: a high school reunion, graduate studies programs, a thought-provoking lecture, a first-year student, an off-campus apartment, non-English-speaking nations. Compounds that include proper nouns or “ly” adverbs are never hyphenated in either position: a Supreme Court justice, Middle Eastern countries, a rarely invoked section of Chicago Manual of Style.

Compound terms with “American”—African American, Hungarian American, Native American, etc.—are always open, whether noun or adjective.

Computer/Internet Terms

  • database, download
  • e-blast, e-commerce, e-mail, e-newsletter
  • hardwired, hypertext
  • Nola.com; the “Five Semifinalists Selected For UNO Presidential Search” article in Nola.com; the University of New Orleans Student Handbook [an online document], the student handbook    
  • the Internet
  • log-in (n.), log in (v.); log-on (n.), log on (v.); log-out (n.), log out (v.)
  • online
  • URL, URLs; www.uno.edu [NB: (1) “http://” is not needed; (2) normal sentence punctuation should be used (Find out about our offerings at www.uno.edu.)
  • the World Wide Web, the web; web page, web designer; website, webcast, webmaster
  • website titles: lowercase and roman when generic: home page, UNO home page, art history home page; title case, roman, and quotes when substantive: the “At a Glance” page.
  • Software and Languages
  • Official names of computer software, networks, languages, and the like are capitalized; generic terms are not: Microsoft Word, a word-processing program; Internet Explorer, a browser. Common UNO examples: OmniUpdate, PeopleSoft, Sharepoint, Moodle.

Course Titles

Official names of courses are title case (also called headline style): Cases in Contemporary Management, the contemporary management course; Introduction to Photography, the introductory photography course.

Numbers and Numerals

  • Spell out numbers one through nine and their corresponding ordinals, and use numerals for larger numbers: e.g., three blind mice, 24 blackbirds baked in a pie; the second out of the ninth inning, the 21st century. Such multiples as one hundred or nine thousand may also be spelled out. When the number begins a sentence or course title, spell it out: Twenty-five students are taking Twentieth-Century American Drama this semester.
  • If the same category contains numbers both above and below nine, use numerals within that category: The two tennis players had each won 14 matches and lost 7.
  • Use a comma in numbers with four or more digits—e.g., 3,256—unless the numbers refer to pages or addresses.


  • If a number is spelled out, then the currency amount is as well: Cigars used to be five cents each. Those tickets cost $35.
  • If fractional dollar amounts are included, then zeros must be used for whole dollars: Tickets are $35 for the general public, $20 for students. but Tickets are $35.00 for the general public, $29.50 for students.


Use numerals for percentages, even in running text. The percent symbol (%) may be used in tables, but in non-scientific running text, write out the word: Only 6 percent of the residents filled out the survey.

Personal, Organizational, and Place Names

Use the biographical and geographical sections of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary for the preferred spelling of names, including the use of diacritics.

Personal and Organizational Names

  • Do not use a comma before Jr. or roman numerals that are part of the name: John F. Kennedy Jr., Richard III.
  • Maiden names precede married names and are not placed in parentheses or quotation marks: Elizabeth Smith Brown ’90.
  • Do not use “Inc.” or “Ltd.” in running text unless absolutely necessary; when they must be included, do not use a comma: Time Inc. publishes Time magazine.
  • Use diacritics for proper names whenever feasible: Héctor Vélez-Guadalupe (Vélez on second reference). However, if certain diacritics (e.g., haceks) can’t be typeset or replicated on a website, it’s better not to use any accents at all: either Dvořák or Dvorak, but not Dvorák.

Place Names

  • the Arctic, Arctic Circle, arctic breezes blowing through New Orleans
  • Central America, Central American countries, central Europe (unless referring to the political division)
  • central Louisiana, upstate Louisiana
  • the Central Business District, downtown New Orleans, the City of New Orleans (as a political entity)
  • the Continent [Europe], continental breakfast
  • the Finger Lakes
  • the East, the East Coast, eastern; the Middle East; eastern Europe  (unless referring to the political division)
  • the Midwest, midwestern, a midwesterner
  • the North/the South, northern/southern (but Northern/Southern in Civil War contexts); the Northwest, northwestern
  • the West, West Coast, western United States; the Western world (considered as a cultural entity)
  • Audubon Park
  • Jönköping University in Sweden
  • Louisiana State, the state of Louisiana; Washington State, the state of Washington
  • the Bay Area, the Old World, the third world, the iron curtain
  • the earth, Earth


Latin-Based Words

We use the first plural listed in Webster’s.

  • alumnus, alumni; alumna, alumnae [NB: “Alumni” is not singular, despite common usage. “Alum” should be used only in informal contexts.]
  • curriculum, curricula
  • professor emeritus, professors emeriti; professor emerita, professors emeritae

Letter Grades

Plurals of letter grades do not take an apostrophe before the s: She gave out more As than Bs this semester.


When a generic term is capitalized as part of an official name, the plural used with another name is also capitalized: Mounts Baker and Rainier, Cayuga and Seneca Lakes, the Berlin and London Symphony Orchestras.


In general, for possessives of singular nouns add an apostrophe and an s; for plural nouns ending in s, add only an apostrophe: the professor’s lecture, the three professors’ impressive credentials. This general rule also applies to proper nouns: Dickens’s novels, Marx’s theories, the Williamses’ reception.

Serial Comma

To avoid ambiguity, use commas to separate all items in a series: a, b, and c.

If the items contain internal punctuation or are complex, use semicolons instead of commas: He thanked his wife, Linda; his parents, Herb and Doris Miller; and his children, Joshua, Jennifer, and Jacob.


In the case of alternate spellings or plurals, we use the first entry in Webster’s.

  • adviser
  • birthdate
  • catalog
  • coauthor, cochair, cocurricular, coeditor, co-worker
  • coursework, classwork, fieldwork
  • cross-country (adj. and noun)
  • dialogue, monologue
  • dietitian
  • extracurricular
  • flier [one that flies]; flyer [an advertising circular]
  • freelance
  • full-time, part-time [adj. or adv.]
  • fund-raising, fund-raisers
  • health care
  • in residence, artist in residence, fellow in residence, professional in residence
  • lifestyle
  • “like”: catlike, childlike, bell-like, Truman-like
  • “long”: hourlong, daylong, weeklong, yearlong, semester-long
  • midsemester, mid-19th century, mid-19th-century literature
  • multicultural, multidisciplinary
  • nondegree, nonsmoking; non-English major, non-music major
  • on campus, off campus [adv.], on-campus, off-campus [adj.]: The master class takes place on campus. She lives in an off-campus apartment.
  • online, off-line
  • phonathon
  • preconcert, premed, prelaw, preoptometry, preregistration
  • sight-reading, sight-singing
  • Social Security number
  • theater, theatergoer
  • toll-free number, number is toll-free
  • underrepresented
  • vice president
  • website, worksite
  • “wide”: worldwide, citywide, campuswide, university-wide, College-wide

Sports Terms

  • all-American (adj. and noun), unless it’s part of official name, e.g., GTE All-America Team, but GTE academic all-American
  • Privateer or Privateers—either may be used attributively: Privateer hoops staff, Privateers basketball game
  • UNO awards: Athlete of the Week Usage: She received Athlete of the Week award; she is the athlete of the week.
  • NCAA Woman of the Year award, she was named woman of the year
  • NCAA Division II Outdoor Track Championships, NCAA track championship
  • NCAA regionals, ECAC playoffs, the “final four”
  • preseason, postseason
  • RBI (singular), RBIs (plural)
  • region 3 of the NCAA, NCAA eastern region
  • runner-up, runners-up
  • United States Sports Academy Directors’ Cup [presented by the National Association of College Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and formerly known as the Sears Directors’ Cup]


With some exceptions—e.g., titles of books, plays, and operas—“the” is generally not capitalized, even if it’s part of a nickname or the official name of a company, group, or periodical.

  • The Old Man and the Sea, The Chicago Manual of Style
  • The Last Supper,The Marriage of Figaro
  • the Times-Picayune
  • the New York Times, the New Yorker
  • the UNO Magazine, the Driftwood
  • the Swedish Nightingale, Catherine the Great
  • the Park Foundation, the Gap, the Beatles
  • the League of Women Voters
  • the Statue of Liberty, the Oval Office, the Bois de Boulogne

Time, Date, and Calendar Designations


Use zeros in even hours and lowercase a.m. and p.m.: 3:00 p.m., 12:30 a.m. The abbreviations may be omitted if the context is clear: The morning flight to Philadelphia leaves at 10:15.

Use the word “noon” for the midday hour—it is neither 12:00 a.m. nor 12:00 p.m.; 12:00 m. is accurate but extremely obscure. Midnight is properly 12:00 p.m., but using the word rather than the numerals eliminates the possibility of confusion.


Follow the format month-day-year and use cardinal numbers, not ordinals: On May 5, 2004, she received her diploma. (As opposed to “May 5 th.”)

No comma is used when only the month and year are used: She received her diploma in May 2004.

Decades use numerals, with no apostrophe before the s: The 1960s were a time of hope as well as upheaval. People nowadays are surprisingly nostalgic for the ’80s and even the ’90s.

Inclusive years take an en dash and the second year may be abbreviated: the academic year 1998–99, the Civil War of 1861–64. Note the exceptions, however, for multiples of 100 and 1,000: the academic year 2000–2001, the fiscal year 2001–2. [NB: In book titles and optionally in headings, use the format 2001–2002: University of New Orleans Undergraduate Catalog, 2001–2002.]


Days of the week and months of the year are uppercased; the four seasons are lowercased: Monday, November, summer.

Holidays or specially designated time periods are uppercased: the Fourth of July, Rosh Hashanah, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Mardi Gras, Latino Heritage Month.

Titles and Offices

Title Case

The primary rules for capitalizing words in title case—e.g., for titles of books or academic courses, or in displayed headings—include the following:

  • Uppercase the first and last words, no matter what part of speech.
  • Uppercase “major” words—e.g., nouns and pronouns, verbs, adverbs, and adjectives.
  • Lowercase articles.
  • Lowercase the conjunctions and, but, for, or, nor.
Lowercase prepositions, regardless of length. There are only a few exceptions: when the prepositions are used as conjunctions, adverbs, or adjectives or when they are stressed. [NB: The latter exception should be used sparingly; it is, however, appropriate for the following University programs: Privateer Plunge, the music series Jazz at the Sandbar.]


  • The Case for Sustainability: Four Things to Think About
  • Your Legacy but Their Future
  • Analysis of Music since 1900
  • Gearing Up for the Discussion concerning the Business School

For compounds requiring a hyphen, always capitalize the first element. Capitalize subsequent elements unless they are prepositions or sharps and flats.


  • Anti-Establishment Methods for Stopping Under-the-Counter Transactions
  • E-Mail Tricks: Sending Emoticons to Non-English-Speaking Correspondents
  • A Run-of-the-Mill Performance of the E-flat Piano Sonata

Academic and Professional Titles

Do not capitalize titles in mailing addresses in running text: For more information contact the coordinator of music admission, School of Music, . . .

In general, titles before a name are capitalized when they may be seen as part of the name or as a form of address; when they act as appositives (that is, when they modify the name), they are lowercased. (Note, however, that Chicago makes exceptions for named professorships. Note, also, that titles don’t have to be used every time—once a title has been given, the last name is sufficient, and often preferred, for subsequent references.) Representative examples are given below.


  • UNO president John A. Doe, President John A. Doe, President Doe, the president
  • provost and vice president for academic affairs John A. Doe, Provost Doe, the provost
  • sciences dean John A. Doe, Dean John A. Doe, Dean Doe, the dean
  • associate dean John A. Doe, John A. Doe, the associate dean
  • head coach John A. Doe, basketball coach John A. Doe, Coach John A. Doe, Coach Doe
  • president emeritus John A. Doe, former University president John A. Doe, former president Doe
  • director of human resources John A. Doe; John A. Doe, the director of human resources


  • professor of business administration John A. Doe, Professor John A. Doe
  • curriculum and instruction professor John A. Doe, associate professor John A. Doe, Professor Doe
  • Professor of Biology John A. Doe; John A. Doe, Professor of Biology; Professor Doe
  • Coca-Cola Endowed Chair in Jazz Studies John A. Doe; John A. Doe, Coca-Cola Endowed Chair in Jazz Studies; Professor Doe
  • professor emerita of music; professor emerita John Doe; Professor Doe

Military, Religious, and Civil

  • General John A. Doe, General Doe, the five-star general John A. Doe
  • the pope, John A. Doe
  • the Reverend John A. Doe, Rev. Doe, the minister
  • John A. Doe, secretary of state; the secretary of state; Secretary of State Doe; Secretary Doe

Titles of Works

Titles of cultural works take title case. In general, shorter works are roman and use quotation marks, while longer ones are italicized. If the title of an italicized work is included within another, use quotation marks: My Life in New Zealand: How I Learned to Love “Lord of the Rings.”


  • With the exception of a few classical pieces, titles of artworks are italicized: Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, The Thinker by Rodin, Untitled by Anonymous, North Dome by Ansel Adams, the Venus de Milo.
  • Full names of exhibitions are italicized: The Other Side of Us at the Handwerker, the Handwerker’s faculty art exhibit.
  • Regularly appearing cartoons and comic strips are italicized: Dilbert, Doonesbury.
  • Film, Television, and Radio
  • Titles of movies are italicized.
  • Titles of TV and radio series are italicized; individual episodes are roman and quotes: “The One with the Monkey” episode of Friends.

Foreign Titles

Titles in a foreign language should be sentence style, i.e., the first word and anything capitalized in running text in that language should be uppercased: Le rouge et le noir, Die Fledermaus.

Musical Compositions

Song titles are roman and quoted, while the titles of long musical compositions, like operas, are italicized: the “La vendetta” from The Marriage of Figaro, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel, Finlandia. NB: Generic names of musical compositions are capitalized but not quoted or italicized: Symphony in B Major, Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto, the Adagio movement from the Fifth Symphony, the Jupiter Symphony


Titles of short stories and poems are roman and quoted; novels and long poems are italicized, but generic sections are roman and lowercased: Frost’s “Stopping by Woods,” Dante’s Inferno, chapter 3 in The Catcher in the Rye.

Plays of all lengths are italicized: act 1 of Romeo and Juliet.

Magazines, journals, and other periodicals are italicized; sections or individual articles are roman and quoted: the “Talk of the Town” department in the New Yorker.


Use the abbreviation in running text only as an adjective; otherwise, spell it out: He was born in the United States. The cost for one night’s stay at the Montreal hotel was quoted in U.S. dollars.