The MoEML Guide to Editorial Style

roseList documents mentioning The MoEML Guide to Editorial Style


This manual provides MoEML contributors, research assistants, encoders, and users with an extensive public record of our editorial style conventions. The standards outlined in this guide are to be implemented across the MoEML website. Any inconsistencies should be amended or reported to our editorial team.
The manual’s primary purpose is to help contributors and staff members avoid inconsistencies in editorial style. By confronting the style issues that arise from web publication, especially where web citation is concerned, we hope to establish practical standards that can be used by similar projects. Therefore, the editors welcome feedback regarding style choices and the general usefulness of this guide.
This guide describes how material should appear when it is published on the website, but many of the style conventions listed here are rendered dynamically. In other words, our style depends on the way content is encoded. For example, a journal title will be automatically italicized with following TEI tag:
<title level="j">Early Theatre</title>
Contributors are encouraged to mark up their submissions according to our encoding practices, but some contributors may choose to submit word processor files with markup instructions for our encoders. Contributors are also encouraged to visit the following pages:
Please note that our style conventions change as language, the Internet, and the website continue to evolve. Refer to this manual frequently to note our most recent changes. If, after consulting this guide, you have further queries, do not hesitate to contact our editorial team. It is likely that we have not yet encountered your style issue and will need to include it in this manual.

General Practice

Using this Guide

MoEML’s style conventions expand on the editorial standards outlined in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers and the University of Victoria Editorial Style Guide. Its purpose is to adapt these conventions for more efficient use on the Internet. Since the MoEML guide is not exhaustive, users with style queries should refer We also recommend consulting Amy Einsohn’s Copyeditor’s Handbook as a launching point for general style queries.

Tone and Verb Tense

Usually, contributors should use simple present when referring to any work of literature and simple past when referring to places and historical events.
Avoid gendered pronouns when referring to unspecified persons. MoEML does not use newly coined gender-neutral pronouns like zhe, zhir, shi, or hir, nor does it use they or them in the singular. In instances when avoiding a pronoun is impossible, use s/he, him/her, or his/her.

Spelling and Capitalization


Use down style capitalization (see Einsohn 151) except when quoting or transcribing. For example,
  • The lord mayor of London was John Lovekyn.
  • Lord Mayor John Lovekyn died in 1368.
  • John Lovekyn, lord mayor of London, died in 1368.


For all spelling and capitalization decisions, including the use of hyphens and special symbols, Use preferred spellings and capitalizations (those that are listed first in the C.O.D.) over alternates except when quoting or transcribing. For example,
  • Renaissance
  • early modern
  • fin de siècle
  • bird’s-eye

Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Initialisms

Usually, abbreviations, acronyms, and initialisms require periods after each letter but the last.
  • J.F. Merritt
Familiar abbreviations, acronyms, and initialisms, however, do not require periods unless the letters are arranged in such a way that may confuse pronunciation.
  • OED, EEBO, and ODNB, but C.O.D. (to avoid the pronunciation cod)

special characters

Consult the C.O.D. for spelling that may require special characters.
Ampersands (&) should be avoided and used only when quoting or transcribing. For information on encoding ampersands and other special characters, see Encoding Practices.

Proper Nouns

Proper nouns are generally capitalized, but some proper nouns require special treatment. For example,
  • ingentaconnect
Capitalize the articles of proper nouns. Similarly, italicize or enclose in quotation marks a proper noun’s article. Do not, however, include articles when using a proper noun as an adjective:
  • The editors hope you find The Map of Early Modern London a valuable research tool.
  • How many Map of Early Modern London stubs have you written?


Place names should be spelled consistently throughout the website (excluding quoted or transcribed material). Since early modern spelling varies, consult MoEML’s encyclopedia when spelling place names. If the encyclopedia does not yet contain an entry for that place, consult the editors before choosing a spelling.
Most place names are treated as proper nouns and are capitalized unless they are acting as common nouns. For example,
  • Aldgate Ward is a ward in the City of London. The ward is named after Aldgate.
  • John Stow walks his reader along the boundary lines of all the wards in the city.
However, some place names should remain lower case, except when appearing in titles or at the beginning of a sentence. For example,
  • The city wall
  • The city ditch

Titles (of a person)

Titles of a person are capitalized only when being used as proper nouns. For example,
  • Pope Innocent III was a medieval pope.
  • Janelle Jenstad, general editor, is an associate professor in the University of Victoria’s department of English.

Titles (of a section, a work)

Most of MoEML’s web page titles, headings, subheadings, and other titles use headline style capitalization (see Einsohn 160). The only exceptions are titles taken from the titles of works published before 1900, which are treated as quotations and therefore preserve the original style (see Quotation and Transcription). For example,
  • The Churches of Early Modern London
  • A straunge ſighted Traueller
In titles, words and phrases appearing in parentheses should use sentence style capitalization (see Einsohn 160). For example,
  • Livery Companies (craft guilds)

Theatre Companies

Names of theatre companies should be consistent throughout the website (excluding quoted or transcribed material). When spelling the name of a theatre company, refer to MoEML’s encyclopedia. If there is not yet an encyclopedia entry for that company, consult the editorial team. Generally, MoEML follows the following formula:
  • the Lord Chamberlain’s Men
and not
  • the Servants of the Lord Chamberlain,
  • the Lord Chamberlain and his servants,
or any other variant.

Livery Companies (craft guilds)

MoEML lists livery companies (craft guilds) by their short names in the livery companies page. For example, The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths would be listed as The Goldsmiths’ Company. Note that Company is capitalized when referring to a specific company, even when that company’s full name is not used.
  • The highest ranking livery company is the Mercers‘ Company. The Company is still active today.
Special care should be taken when referring to a person’s membership to a company. Capitalizing the noun Goldsmith, for example, indicates that that person is free (a member) of the Goldsmiths’ Company. A lowercase goldsmith, however, indicates that that person practices as a goldsmith without being a member of the Goldsmiths’ Company. It is possible, therefore, that a goldsmith be a Draper without being a Goldsmith.



Use open punctuation (see Einsohn 72) except when quoting or transcribing material. For example,
  • MoEML can help you research early modern streets including Aldgate Street near Aldgate, Basing Lane in Breadstreet Ward, and Bishopsgate Street in Bishopsgate Ward.
but not
  • MoEML can help you locate many early modern streets, including Aldgate Street, near Aldgate; Basing Lane, in Breadstreet Ward; and Bishopsgate Street, in Bishopsgate Ward.

Quotation Marks and Apostrophes

MoEMLuses curly quotation marks and apostrophes. For important information about using quotation marks and apostrophes, see Submission Instructions and Encoding Practices.
In summary, apostrophes are hard-coded while quotation marks are created dynamically with TEI tags like
<title level="a">John Donne</title>
<quote>mounted on two Golden Leopardes</quote>


MoEML uses the Oxford comma (also known as the serial comma: the comma that appears after the second last item in a list) except when quoting or transcribing.
  • Nicholas Bourne was a printer, bookbinder, and bookseller.

Dashes and Hyphens

Spaces are not used on either side of an em dash (―) or an en dash (–).
  • Hamlet―my favourite of Shakespeare’s plays―has been translated into Klingon.
The en-dash (–), and not a hyphen (-), is used to indicate a hyphenated compound term (e.g. post–World War II), a date or page range, or a tally (see Einsohn 108–9). For encoding instructions relating to dashes, see Get the Most out of oXygen.


Stylistic ellipses are formatted as three (or, in some instances, four; see MLA Handbook 3.7.5) periods without spaces between them, but with one space both before and afterwards. For example,
  • This sentence, which includes an ellipsis for dramatic effect, is ... incomplete.
Editorial ellipses (to indicate omission, for example) are set off without spaces in brackets. A four-period ellipsis (see MLA Handbook 3.7.5) will usually be split up by the brackets unless the editor has added the fourth period.
  • This sentence [...] is incomplete.
  • [...] end of a sentence that contains a period in the original.[...]
  • [...] end of a sentence that does not contain a period in the original[....]


Website Titles

Website titles are treated as monographs and should be italicized. Web source providers, however, are treated as publishers and should not be italicized. Some websites, including MoEML, will act as monographs in some instances and publishers in others. For example,
  • Internet Shakespeare Editions is a useful website when citing Shakespeare.
  • Shakespeare’s plays are available through online publishers like Internet Shakespeare Editions.
  • Be careful when citing articles that are accessed through source providers like JSTOR, EBSCOhost, Wiley, and ingentaconnect; we’ve changed a few rules.

MoEML (Not Italicized) vs. MoEML (Italicized)

Depending on their use, Map of Early Modern London and MoEML should either be italicized or not italicized in documents. When functioning as the name of a publisher or organization, Map of Early Modern London and MoEML should not be italicized. For example,
<p>MoEML adds locations to our placeography.</p>
Conversely, when functioning as the title of a project or website, Map of Early Modern London and MoEML should be italicized. For example,
<p>See the locations in <title level="m">MoEML</title>.</p>

Foreign Words and Phrases

Foreign words and phrases should be italicized and translated (perhaps in parentheses) unless they appear as quotes (see Quotation and Transcription). Anglicized words or phrases of foreign origin that are not italicized in the C.O.D. are not considered foreign. For instructions on marking up and encoding foreign words, see Encoding Practices.

Dates and Numbers

Note that all dates will be tagged using TEI standards (see Encode a Date).
The standard date format within a body of text is 11 May 1598 except when quoting or transcribing.
The standard all-numerical date format is 1598-05-11 (year, month, and day, in that order and separated by hyphens).
The designations CE or BCE should only be used in BCE years or in ambiguous instances such as date ranges involving both a CE and BCE year.
Rather than distinguishing between Gregorian (new style) and Julian (old style) dates with a forward slash (/), dates are expressed in Julian with a pop-up link to a Gregorian date.

Date Ranges

Indicate year ranges with an en dash (–), not a hyphen (-). For the most part, follow MLA’s guidelines for ranges of inclusive numbers (3.5.6), but note that MoEML has special conventions for handling life dates (see below).

Life Dates

Life dates for people in the personography database appear in pop-up windows linked beneath a person’s name. The dates are generated from the personography database. They appear in parentheses as the first piece of information (after the name) in the pop-up window. Life dates for people not in the personography should be indicated in parentheses immediately following the first occurence of the name.
All birth and death dates follow the following basic structure, with additional information provided as noted below:
  • (b. YEAR, d. YEAR)
Use the following abbreviations to provide information about life dates:
  • b. (for birth),
  • d. (for death),
  • c. (for circa, an estimate of ±5 yrs.),
  • ? for a year that is questionable but not understood as a ±5 year estimation—for example, Raphael Holinshed (b. c. 1525, d. 1580?),
  • bap. (for baptized), and
  • fl. (for floruit, i.e. flourished)
Each individual abbreviation (excluding the question mark, which appears after the relevant date) should appear in roman type before the date in question, followed by a space:
  • John Spencer (d. 1610)
  • Geoffrey of Clinton (d. c. 1133)
When only one date is known, indicate that date only:
  • Cnut (d. 1035)
Use fl. as a range:
  • William Fitzstephen (fl. 1162–1174)

Telephone Numbers

Telephone numbers should be stylized in accordance with the University of Victoria’s Style Guide. The style guide outlines the following standards for phone numbers:
  • Separate domestic telephone numbers with hyphens. Do not use parentheses around area codes. For example, 250-123-4567.
  • Format 800 telephone numbers the same way as domestic telephone numbers. For example, 1-800-123-4567.
  • Express international phone numbers in the ITA standard format. Use neither hyphens or parentheses. For example, +22 609 123 4567. Note that the international prefix symbol preceeds the country code, which itself preceeds the area code and phone number.

Postal Addresses

Postal Addresses should be styled in accordance with Canada Post’s Addressing Guidelines. Canada Post outlines the following standards for styling domestic postal addresses:
  • Do not use punctuation in postal addresses. For example, the third line of an address should read Victoria BC V8W 2Y2 and not Victoria, BC, V8W 2Y2.
  • Express street numbers numerically. For example, 2 Dallas Road.
  • If applicable, insert a hyphen between unit numbers and street addresses. For example, #202-618 Dallas Road.
  • Capitalize all letters in street addresses For example, 200B Government Street.
  • Do not abbreviate road, avenue, street, etc. Furthermore, spell out directional abbreviations if applicable. For example, Gorge Road East.
  • Use Canada Post standards for abbreviations of provinces and territories: >BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, QC, NB, NS, PE, NL, YK, NT, NU.
  • Insert two spaces between province abbreviations and postal code. For example, Victoria BC V8W 2Y2.
The following are sample postal addresses formatted in accordance with the aforementioned standards:
  • William Shakespeare
    209-2323B Gorge Road East
    Victoria BC V8T 2W2
  • University of Victoria
    PO Box 1700 STN CSC
    Victoria BC V8W 2Y2

Quotation and Transcription

Quoted or transcribed material should always retain its original formatting. This includes spelling, punctuation, capitalization, ligatures, special characters, stage directions, et cetera.
Titles of works published before 1900 are treated as quoted material and should retain their original spelling, punctuation, and formatting (unless they are listed in the Short Title Catalogue, in which case they should be listed by EEBO record titles; see Citation).
For block quotations, see Parenthetical Citation. For instructions on encoding transcribed or quoted material, see Encoding Practices.


In general, follow MLA conventions for citation, but first consult this guide. Please see Contribute to MoEML to ensure proper markup and encoding practices.

Parenthetical Citation

MoEML does not follow MLA’s cross-referencing system for multiple works cited (5.3.5–6). Similarly, the abbreviation ibid is not used when referring to a previous citation; simply cite the source again.
In block quotations, the parenthetical citation appears on a separate line after the quotation. For example,
Nor are the duties that thy ſubjects owe,
Only compriz’d in this externall ſhow.
For harts are heap’d with thofe innumered hoords,
That tongues by vttrance cannot vent in words.
(sig. B1r)

Cite Signatures

In parenthetical citations, cite signature numbers after the abbreviation sig. and specify with a lowercase r or v whether it is the recto or verso page. For gatherings that have signatures with multiple letters—BBB2, for example—indicate so with a numeral. For example, a recto page with the signature AAA would be cited as sig. 3A1r.
When citing a signature in running text (i.e. not in parentheses), spell out signature.

Cite Stage Directions

Cite page directions by their previous line number, followed by a space and the abbreviation s.d. When the direction is given at the beginning of a scene, the line number is zero.
  • (4.1.25 s.d.)
  • (4.1.0. s.d.)

Cite Dictionary Entries

To cite a term’s definition, give the abbreviation for the dictionary used followed by a space character ( ), the term cited followed by a comma, the part of speech from which the word comes, and the specific definition of the term that you are citing. For example:
A gazetteer is a geographical index or dictionary (OED gazetteer, n.3.).

More Information

For information about encoding parenthetical citations, see documentation on linking to reference material in BIBL1.xml.

Works Cited List

Do not use hanging indents.
Do not follow MLA’s cross-referencing system for multiple works cited (5.3.5–6). Instead, provide full bibliographical details for each individual entry (since the bibliography page is dynamically generated from a database).
Do not use et al as a stand-in for a list of author or editor names in the works cited list. Instead, include each author or editor so that they are searchable. (Note that et al should still be used in parenthetical references).
Works listed in the Short Title Catalogue (STC) should be cited by their EEBO record titles.
  • Goodman, Nicholas. Hollands leaguer. London, 1632. STC 12027. Print.
If the EEBO record appears to be incorrect, contact EEBO to clarify.
When available, a work’s STC or Wing number(s) should be given immediately before the media designation.
  • Peacham, Henry. A Dialogue between The Crosse in Cheap, and Charing Croſſe. London, 1641. Wing P944. Print.
When additional access information is required, provide that information in [square] brackets at the end of the citation.
  • Harben, Henry. A Dictionary of London. London: Henry Jenkins, 1918. Web. Open. British History Online. [BHO’s transcription of Harben’s Dictionary is organized alphabetically. Use keyword searches to find words that appear in entries.]

Cite Web Sources

Unique issues emerge when citing web sources within a digital scholarly publication. As such, MoEML uses an adapted version of MLA style to standardize our web-based BIBL1 entries.
Open Source vs. Subscription Webpages
When citing web sources, it is important to distinguish between open source websites and subscription websites. Open source websites are freely accessible to all Internet users. Contrastingly, subscription websites are only accessible to particular members who personally have or belong to an institution that has a subscription to the website. When citing a web resource other than a journal article, insert the availabilty of the resource (Open or Subscr.) at the end of the citation. If the resource is a subscription website, insert the hosting website’s name or acronym after the Subscr. designation. For open source webpages, tag Open with a hyperlink to the source webpage, For subscription webpages, tag the hosting website’s name or acronym with a hyperlink to the source webpage.
The BIBL1 entry for HOLI3 serves as an example of an open source website:
Kewes, Paulina, Ian Archer, and Felicity Heal, eds. The Holinshed Project. Web. U of Oxford. Open.
The BIBL1 entry for BEVI7 serves as an example of a subscription website:
Bevington, David. Henry IV, Part 1. Enyclopedia Britannica Academic Edition. Subscr. BAE.
Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs)
Whenever possible include a digital object identifier (DOI) at the end of a citation. Note that the DOI for a particular publication can sometimes be difficult to locate. Some online databases, such as Cambridge Journals, Oxford Journals, and Project MUSE, will display DOI information alongside each publication; many online databases, however, will not. Fortunately, CrossRef hosts a free DOI lookup application on their website. This application offers three ways ways to search for a DOI: by bibliographic metadata, by article title, or by DOI query. It may be necessary to use one or more of these searches to locate a particularly difficult DOI. In rare cases, a publication will not actually have an assigned DOI; we then do not include the doi: component of a citation for a print resource accessed through a website.
The BIBL1 entry for MUNR1 serves as an example of a citation with a doi:
Munro, Ian. The City and Its Double: Plague Time in Early Modern London. English Literary Renaissance. 30.2 (2000): 241–61. Web. doi:10.1111/j.1475-6757.2000.tb01171.x.

Cite Sources Accessible in Multiple Media

Occasionally, it may be necessary to cite a work both as a print and a web source, for example, when one contributor has cited a print version and another has cited a web version. In such cases, the citations should be combined, with the print information appearing first and the web information following, separated by a period.
The BIBL1 entry for BRAC1 serves as an example:
Bracken, James K., and Joel Silver, eds. The British Literary Book Trade, 1475–1700. Dictionary of Literary Biography. Vol. 170. Toronto: Gale, 1996. Print. Web. Subscr. Gale Literary Databases.

More Information

For information about encoding sources in the project’s bibliography, see documentation on linking to reference material in the BIBL1.xml database.


Last modification: 2017-02-17 06:05:49 -0800 (Fri, 17 Feb 2017) (tlandels)
Export to RefWorks
RIS file (for RefMan, EndNote etc.)

MLA citation:

Butt, Cameron, Janelle Jenstad, Tye Landels-Gruenewald, and Joey Takeda. “The MoEML Guide to Editorial Style.” The Map of Early Modern London. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Web. 30 March 2017. <>.

Chicago citation:

Butt, Cameron, Janelle Jenstad, Tye Landels-Gruenewald, and Joey Takeda. n.d. “The MoEML Guide to Editorial Style.” The Map of Early Modern London. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed March 30, 2017.

APA citation:

Butt C., J. Jenstad, T. Landels-Gruenewald, & J. Takeda. (n.d.). The MoEML Guide to Editorial Style. In J. Jenstad (Ed.), The Map of Early Modern London. Retrieved March 30, 2017, from

TEI citation:

<bibl> <author><persName><surname>Butt</surname>, <forename>Cameron</forename></persName></author>, <author><persName><forename>Janelle</forename> <surname>Jenstad</surname></persName></author>, <author><persName><forename>Tye</forename> <surname>Landels-Gruenewald</surname></persName></author>, & <author><persName><forename>Joey</forename> <surname>Takeda</surname></persName></author>. (<date>n.d.</date>). <title level="a">The MoEML Guide to Editorial Style</title>. In <editor><persName><forename>J.</forename> <surname>Jenstad</surname></persName></editor> (Ed.), <title level="m">The Map of Early Modern London</title>. Retrieved <date when="2017-03-30">March 30, 2017</date>, from <ref target=""></ref> </bibl>