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Libraries House Style Guide: Terms

Terms & more

Term Note
Academic Degrees See: Reference Publications style sheet
acronyms/abbreviations See: Reference Publications style sheet
alumni Indicate when a person (including Libraries staff) is an alumnus/a of MIT with the year(s) of graduation
ampersands (&) Avoid using in running text -- spell out “and.” Exceptions: if it is part of a company or organization's official name (e.g., AT&T) or if space is limited on the website or digital signage
Ask Us We used to include the exclamation point, but no more.
Borrow Direct capitalize
dashes Note the difference between the em dash (—), the slightly narrower en dash (–), and the even narrower hyphen (-). Em dashes can take the places of commas, parentheses, or colons. Use a space on either side. En dashes indicate a range or span (e.g., 2–4 p.m.). Hyphens are used in compound terms and in phone numbers.
Use DSpace when referring to the software.
Use DSpace@MIT when referring to our digital repository.
e- or electronic Make sure the context is clear. Consider audience and whether the concept is familiar. (examples: e-resources, e-reserves)
ebook vs e-book Use e-book
email vs e-mail Use email
the Institute capitalize "Institute" when referring to MIT
Internet capitalize Internet as a noun, but not as an adjective (ex: "internet resources")
Libraries' note correct position of the possessive plural apostrophe in constructions such as "Libraries' web site," "MIT Libraries' policy," etc.
Libraries, the always capitalize the word "Libraries" in "the MIT Libraries" or "the Libraries" when MIT Libraries are meant
Libraries, the plural. Ex: "The Libraries are eager to engage the community."
library, as adj. ok to use as adjective, but do not capitalize it
library, the lower-case "the library" even when referring to a particular library
log in as verb: two words
login as noun or adjective: one word. Ex: "the login screen"
MIT Use "MIT," not "M.I.T."  Use "an" as article with "MIT"
Ex: "an MIT thesis" (General rule is you choose the article based on the way the acronym is pronounced.)
MIT addresses Use Building, not Room (Institute style).
Ex: "Building 14S-216" or just "14S-216"
MIT Libraries, the singular when referring to the organization as a whole
Ex. "The MIT Libraries is committed to..."
ordinals Spell out first through ninth; otherwise, use numerals and letters. Do not use superscript.
Ex: "the 10th anniversary"
pdf vs PDF Use "pdf"
plural/singular see: Archives, Libraries, staff, data
Services All units ending in "Services" are treated as singular within sentences: "Curation and Preservation Services provides treatment for books, manuscripts, and archival materials."
staff, n. Collective nouns such as "team" and "staff" may be either singular or plural depending on use in a sentence. Examples: The staff is in a meeting. The staff are in disagreement about the findings.
telephone numbers Use hyphen between each set of numbers.
titles (for jobs) In news stories, capitalize formal titles only when they precede an individual's name.
URLs, how to represent Do not include "www."
Do not include a final slash after the last directory:
Your Account capitalize