Archival Processing: Style Guide
Try not to use abbreviations - few are absolutely standardized and it is best to avoid possible ambiguities.
Common words and abbreviations you may not think about:
- memo = memorandum (plural: memoranda)
- info = information
- misc = miscellaneous (try to avoid this word unless the rest of your title or series is more descriptive)
- & = and (except for instances where the ampersand is part of a business name or similar, such as AT&T, Lewis & Clark College)
- # = number
- etc. = et cetera (try to avoid this too)
- St., Jr., and Ft. and similar in city and person names
- U.S. (United States) and D.C. (Washington, D.C.) (note the use of periods in these); Please write out state names if possible.
- Degrees: B.A., M.A., Ph.D. (note the use of periods in these)
Acronyms: Do not use acronyms without describing them fully the first time they are used.
- Use acronyms sparingly: With electronic finding aids, researchers may jump to a portion of the finding aid without reading all of the notes. If you have a series title that has an acronym, make certain that you include the full name in the series title, in addition to the acronym. Example: School of Nursing (SON), Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC)
- If using an acronym and pluralizing it, make it a small 's' and don't use an apostrophe. (e.g., PACs, EISs, EAs)
You can add formatting to your notes and series/folder titles (during data entry), but it is not a quick and easy process. Therefore, whenever possible, make formatting decisions during the data entry process rather than waiting for the end.
- Italicize the titles of published and significant works in the notes and the series/folder titles. When writing titles on folders, underline the words that should be italicized in the final version. When entering data, surround italicized words as such: <emph render=“italic”>Title Name Here</emph>
- For smaller works, such as essays or journal articles, surround the title in quotation marks: “Title Name Here”
- Elements that are bolded are generally handled through the style sheet (such as Section or Series titles), but should you find the need to bold text within a note or folder title, it is similar to the italics coding: <emph render=“bold”>Bold text here</emph>
When adding links to any finding aid notes, use the following format:
<extref href="[URL here]" show="embed" title="[link title]" actuate="onrequest">[Link text]</extref>
Example: Linking to the OHSU web archive
<extref href="https://archive-it.org/home/ohsu" show="embed" title="OHSU web archives" actuate="onrequest">OHSU web archive</extref>
- 1849-1851 (no spaces around the dash)
- NOT 1849-51
If the collection continues to accrue, place the most recent accrual in the date span:
- NOT 1965- OR 1965- (Ongoing)
- 1895-1960, bulk 1916-1958
Significant Gap in Records:
- 1827, 1952-1978
Estimated Date Ranges:
- circa 1870-1879 OR approximately 1952-1978
- 1975 March
- 1975 March 17
- circa 1967
- before 1967
- after 1967 January 5
- Capitalization: Use sentence structure – capitalize the first word and proper titles or names. DO NOT capitalize every word. Do capitalize the word directly after a colon (:).
- Initials: Put a space after each period in a name (J. R. R. Tolkien). For places, do not use a space (U.S., D.C.).
- Possessive case: If a word is singular, but ends in ‘s’, you still need to add ’s in the possessive case (e.g., Lawton Chiles’s notebooks).
- Commas: Please use the Oxford comma (comma used before the conjunction, e.g., one, two, and three) as it helps clarify your intention.
- Pluralization: An apostrophe is not used to pluralize a noun, date, or acronym (e.g., EAs, 1980s) and in cases of doubt (e.g., thank yous), please use a different phrase (e.g., thank you notes, thank you letters)
- Miscellaneous: Avoid the use of "Miscellaneous" whenever possible. It doesn't really add anything to a description. If you absolutely must use the term in a series or folder title, please write a description that includes at least a list of the types of materials included therein (e.g., Miscellaneous financial materials).