Editorial web style guide
NEW 2009 To all web editors:
See important new website about the migration of LSE websites into the Content Management System: CMS: migration
This style guide outlines some basic principles for clear communication. The aim is to provide a framework of operation for everyone involved in producing web content. These simple rules will ensure that our website looks professional, can be understood by its target audience, and is consistent.
Abbreviations and acronyms - Do not use full points in abbreviations such as Mr, Dr, eg, ie, etc or for degree titles such as BA and BSc. Spell professor out in full eg Professor Smith not Prof Smith. The first instance of an acronym (such as NATO) or initialism (such as ESRC) on any given page should always be spelled out in full, with the acronym/ initialism in brackets after it. (Eg 'This programme is sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). All queries relating to funding should be directed to the ESRC.') Even on pages that are hierarchically beneath a page where the acronym has previously been explained, the first instance should always be spelled out. A very few extremely well-known abbreviations are exempt from these rules (such as BBC, CCTV, NATO, SOS).
A to Z of services - Should be written as A to Z of services, and not A-Z of services.
Book titles - See Publication titles.
- When referring to LSE as the School
- For all proper nouns - place names, countries, languages/ nationalities (English, French, European), names, etc
- For historical periods - Victorian, Renaissance, Tudor, Medieval
- For months and days of the week but not seasons of the year: autumn, spring, summer, winter
- For very specific job titles of individuals eg Professor of Economics, and for titles used in conjunction with the name eg Professor Smith, but not for more general titles such as: a professor in the Economics Department, chairman, chief executive, partner, editor, governor, director (apart from Howard Davies who, when referred to just by his title without his name, is the Director). Titles commonly used in business, such as finance director, do not need initial capitals. If in doubt, use lower case unless it looks unduly odd
- When referring to the Department ie one particular department, but not when referring generally to departments eg there are 19 departments
- For titles of LSE programmes (eg MSc Economics) and courses (eg AC100 Elements of Accounting and Finance)
- For the main title of a book, but not for subheadings, which are separated by a colon and then lower case eg Environmental Economics: an elementary introduction
- North, south etc are capitalised only if part of a commonly used title of an area - eg South Africa, Western Australia - otherwise they are lower case - eg southern England, the west of Scotland, etc
Do not use initial capitals:
- When referring to higher education, honours degrees, joint, single, major/ minor, master's, diplomas etc
- For references to subjects when not part of a programme or course title
- When referring to the year of study (ie the third year of the course)
- Number, month, year eg 17 October 2003
- In 2000-01
- From 2000 to 2001
- 1990s - no apostrophe
- 21st century, 20th-century ideas
- Don't use the 24-hour clock, it's confusing. Use 11am, 2.30pm, 12 noon, 12 midnight
email - One word, no hyphen, with lower case e.
Event titles - Use initial capitals for the main title, but not for subheadings which are separated by a colon and then lower case eg Islam Under Siege: from clash to dialogue of civilisations. Events titles (lectures, conferences, seminars) are not italicised.
Foreign words and phrases - Should be italicised, unless they are so familiar that they have become anglicised eg status quo.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) - Write the phrase out and put the abbreviation in brackets. No apostrophe required. See also Frequently asked questions (FAQs) style.
Headings and web page titles - All headings and web page titles should use sentence case. Sentence case puts all words in lower case except the first letter of the first word, names, proper nouns, abbreviations and acronyms. Headings never include a full stop at the end. The main heading is always set to Heading 2, thereby allowing four levels of heading beneath it: Heading 3, Heading 4, Heading 5, and Heading 6. See also Publication titles.
Headings should be no more than eight words long.
Homepage - one word.
Hyperlinks and referencing - Always name links the same as the title of the page top which you are linking - except in an index. In an index, list a department, for example, under the main subject name only like this: Economics, Department of - and make the whole listing a link, not just the first word. (You would not list a department under D for department). See Referencing and hyperlinks for more information. For information on citing publications, see Publication titles.
Hyphens - The general rule is to avoid hyphens where possible. Eg coordinate, not co-ordinate. However, where the rules of grammar require it, hyphens should be used eg 24-hour clock.
internet, the - Lower case. The abbreviation 'net' can be used and is also in lower case, although 'the web' is more commonly used now, also in lower case.
Italics - Foreign words or phrases should be italicised, unless they are so familiar that they have become anglicised eg status quo. Book titles and newspaper and journal names should be in italics. Otherwise italics should be avoided as italicised text is hard to read on the screen.
LSE - LSE can be referred to as LSE or the School but not the LSE eg 'they visited LSE' not 'they visited the LSE'. However 'the' is necessary if it refers to a particular office eg further information is available from the LSE Financial Support Office.
LSE for You - The correct style is LSE for You and not LSE for you, LSE for YOU, LSE 4 U or any other variation. To link to LSE for You, use http://www.lse.ac.uk/lseforyou/
Numbers - In body copy, spell out numbers from one to ten, and numbers at the start of a sentence. Use figures for numbers from 11 upwards. However, in a paragraph listing several numbers relating to the same topic, eg comparing numbers of votes cast, use all figures. Use a comma for numbers over 999 eg 1,670. For telephone numbers, where relevant, give the international code eg +44 (0)20 7955 xxxx. Do not use hyphens in telephone numbers.
Online - One word, no hyphen.
Pages - should be no more than 500 words long if possible.
Paragraphs - should be no more than 70 words long.
Publication titles - Book and journal titles italicised. Use initial capitals for the main title, but not for subheadings which are separated by a colon and then lower case eg Environmental Economics: an elementary introduction. Academic pages within journals should be in single quotation marks (not in italics) with all but the first letter of the title in lower case (see Capitals for exceptions to this rule). Please note that event titles (conferences, lectures) are not italicised, but follow the same rules of capitalisation.
Quotation marks - Use single quotation marks except for quotes within quotes, where double quotation marks are used.
Referencing and hyperlinks - Always name links the same as the title of the page you are linking to except in an index where, for example, you would list a department under the main subject first e.g. Economics, Department of, and you would make the whole listing a link, not just the first word. (You would not put the deparment listing under D for department). For more detail, see Referencing and hyperlinks. For information on citing publications, see Publication titles.
Sentences - should be no more than 20 words long.
Spelling and style preferences - Please follow the guidelines below:
- When referring to LSE as an institution, do not use 'the' in front of it (eg 'they visited LSE', not 'they visited the LSE'). 'The' is however necessary if it refers to a particular office eg further information is available from the LSE Financial Support Office
- Word endings: use '-ise' in preference to '-ize', except in the case of book or report titles, which are spelled as published
- Postgraduate and undergraduate are both spelled as one word
- A level is two words, no hyphen, with lower case 'l'
- Course work is two words
- The word 'course' is used for units/ modules
- Use email without a hyphen, and lower case letters. Similarly web and world wide web are lower case. Use internet with lower case letters. You can abbreviate this to 'net', which is also all lower case. Online is one word, with no hyphen
- % is written out in full as two words: per cent
- & is only used within body copy for company names
Subheading styles - See Headings and web page titles.
Time and dates - See Dates and time.
web, world wide web - Use lower case for both of these.
Web page - Two words.
Website - One word.
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