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CSE Format: Titles

General Rules for Titles in End References

In general, the title of a work is recorded just as the words appear in the publication.

  • Capitalize only the first word of a book or article title.
  • Capitalize proper nouns, initials, and acronyms in a title.
  • Separate a subtitle with a colon and a space. Do not capitalize the first letter of the subtitle.
  • If necessary, include the a content or medium designator in bracketts.
  • End the title with a period.
  • Capitalize every word in a journal or newspaper title.


Book titles

A book normally has one title. But, books may contain chapters or sections with individual titles. Or, a book may be part of a series ( or a single volume in a set. 


Article Titles

Articles may appear in print or electronic journals, magazines, or newspapers. The end reference will contain the title of the article and the title of publication in which it appears. The words of the article title should be given exactly as they appear in the pubication.

Newspaper Titles

The title of newspapers are not abbreviated in references to newspaper articles. Record the words of the newspaper title exactly as they appear in the publication. The initial 'The' may be dropped.

If the location of the newspaper is not indicated in the title, add the location within or after the title. Use 2-letter postal state or province code or the 2-letter ISO country code to the  

Journal Titles

Specific rules apply to journal titles in CSE. Journal titles are abbreviated based on a the traditional need to conserve space in printed bibliographies and early databases. Abbreviate the significant words in a journal title according to ISO 4. Refer to the list of journals indexed by MEDLINE to find the appropriate abbreviation for a journal title or use one of the links in the Journal Title Abbreviation box to the right.

Some Rules for Abbreviating Journal Titles (Appendix 29.1)

  • If the full title is preceded by an acronym, use the acronym as the journal title. If the full title is followed by an acronym, the full title is abbreviated.

JOP: Journal of the Pancreas. becomes JOP.

The American Journal of Bioethics: AJOB. becomes Am J Bioeth.

  • Single word titles are not abbreviated, but there are some exceptions. Human becomes Hum

Science. remains Science.

  • Single syllable words and words of 5 or fewer letters are not abbreviated.

Blood Cells. remains Blood Cells.

  • Abbreviation is preferred by truncation (at least the 2 final letters), but words may also be abbreviated by contraction.

Geological Survey of Finland Bulletin. becomes Geol Surv Finl Bull.

Journal of Heterocyclic Chemistry. becomes Heterocycl Chem.

  • Articles, prepositions, conjunctions are dropped (unless part of a personal place or name). All punctuation is omitted.

In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology. becomes In Vitro Cell Dev Biol.

Protein & Cell. becomes Protein Cell


ISO Country Codes

ISO 2-letter country codes for publisher designation are located in Appendix 29.3 of the CSE Manual.

Journal Title Abbreviations

ISO 4 is the recognized authority for abbreviating words in journal titles. However, the database for this standard is only available by subscription. Authoritative sources for journal title abbreviations are located in the CSE Manual (Appendix 29.1). Here are a few:

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