February 8, 2021 - 1:23pm by Anonymous (not verified)


Use The Chicago Manual of Style for any elements of style not addressed specifically below.

Titles of Collections

Refer to a collection as a single entity, using a singular rather than plural verb.  For example, in the ownership and copyright element: “The Thornton Wilder Papers is the physical property…,” not “The Thornton Wilder Papers are…”.


Use complete sentences, as appropriate, and end a complete sentence with a period.


Include diacritics, as appropriate, by using unicode characters.


Use ALA-LC Romanization Tables for transliteration of non-Roman alphabets.


Use brackets and a question mark to indicate uncertainty about spelling, attribution, or date.  For example:

  • [Smyth], John uncertain spelling
  • [Our Town?] uncertain title attribution
  • [Otis, Harrison Gray?] uncertain name attribution
  • [1926?] uncertain date

 See elements definitions for more guidelines in the use of brackets.

Descriptive Terms

When describing a work in the hand of an author, prefer the use of the term “autograph manuscript.” Until 2011, Beinecke staff used term “holograph” in place of “autograph manuscript, so archivists may encounter the use of this term in legacy description. If an item is not known or assumed to be in the hand of the author, use “manuscript” instead of “autograph manuscript.”

[Need more here on standard descriptive terms for writings.

Grey box for item-level options for listing drafts, types and formats of drafts, etc.]


Avoid using abbreviations, except those present in:

  • Authorized headings
  • Transcribed folder titles
  • Other information transcribed from manuscripts

Abbreviations commonly used the past should now be spelled out.  These include:

lin. ft.    linear feet

v.         volume

p.         page or pages

cm.        centimeters

incl.        including

ca.        circa

n.d.        undated

n.y.        no year

ms.        manuscript

ALS        autograph letter, signed

TLS        typed letter, signed

DS            document, signed

Other descriptive terms

Names of months

Personal and Corporate Names

Use name forms in the Library of Congress authority file (LCAF) for

  • Creators
  • Other names that will have 6XX or 7XX access points in the collection’s catalog record
  • Optionally for all listed correspondents where there are a large number of prominent names

Generally, do not include dates, unless necessary to break a conflict with another name.

For names of creators: 

If Beinecke readers are likely to use a form of name that differs from LCAF, consult with the curator and your supervisor in deciding which form to use.  If the authoritative form is not used in the finding aid, do use it in catalog record access points.

If no authority record exists, consider having a NACO cataloger create one.  See the Mixed Materials Cataloging Manual for guidelines about when to create an authority record. 

If no authority record exists, and we are not creating one, use biographical reference sources, the collection itself, and AACR2 to determine a form of name.

For other names, such as those in correspondence inventories, use judgment in deciding whether to search for authority records.  Generally, search for authority records only when necessary to:

  • Verify the identity of a person or corporate body
  • Identify full names present only as nicknames or initials
  • Break a conflict between names
  • Maintain consistency for important names across finding aids
  • Ensure keyword searchability

Otherwise, use the fullest form of the name that appears in the collection, observing the following guidelines:

  • Initials in personal names: separate with a blank space (e.g., Lawrence, D. H.)
  • Initials in corporate names: do not separate with a blank space (e.g., H.P. Kraus)
  • Royal and noble titles: capitalize according to AACR2 Appendix A.13 E1, not The Chicago Manual of Style

Break conflicts between identical names by adding the following in parentheses:

  • Personal names: dates, family relationship, or title (such as Mrs., Dr., Ph.D., Captain)
  • Corporate names: places or dates

Generally, use a consistent form for each name throughout a finding aid, with the following exceptions: 

  • If variant name forms occur in different languages (for example “Tejas” in Spanish and “Texas” in English), clarify usage in a scope and content element at the appropriate level
  • Clarify the presence of significant nicknames in a biographical/historical element, scope and content element, or family tree, as appropriate
  • Use cross references in the box and folder list only for significant name variants likely to affect searching or browsing

When listing names alphabetically (e.g. as file titles):

  • Names beginning with M,’ Mac, and Mc are listed as spelled, but filed as Mac [debate on this?]
  • Names beginning with “St.” are listed as spelled, but filed as Saint
  • French names preceded by a preposition (e.g. Alfred de Musset) are listed and filed under the name (e.g. Musset); however in other descriptive elements, the preposition is included for single syllable names (e.g. de Goy) or names beginning with a vowel (e.g. d’Alembert), while multisyllabic names stand alone (e.g. Vilmorin)

      [Above example very confusing. Rule: default to LC where authority file exists. If there is none, use AACR2 and the Chicago Manual of Style to determine how to file?   ED]

Titles of Works


Use uniform titles in LCAF, if available, for titles that will have 6XX or 7XX access points in the collection’s catalog record.  For other titles, use judgement in deciding whether to search for authority records.  Generally, search for authority records only when needed to:

  • Verify the identity of a work
  • Break a conflict between names of works
  • Maintain consistency for important titles across finding aids
  • Ensure k eyword searchability

If no uniform title authority record exists, or if you are not searching for authority records, use the fullest form of the name that appears in the collection. 

  • For plays, include only bibliographically significant subtitles (e.g. The Orange Tree or The Orange Tree: Life Under the Sun, but not The Orange Tree: A Play in 3 Acts)
  • Differentiate between newspaper/journal titles and corporate names of publishers (e.g. The New York Times (title), but New York Times Company (publisher))

In all cases:  

  • Use initial articles in finding aids, even though initial articles will be omitted in catalog record headings
  • Capitalize titles in finding aids as indicated below, even though capitalization follows AACR2 rules in catalog records


Follow The Chicago Manual of Style.

Use italics for:

  • Books
  • Operas
  • Long poems published separately
  • Pamphlets
  • Movies
  • Periodicals
  • Newspapers
  • Plays
  • Sections of newspapers published separately (The New York Times Book Review)

Use quotation marks around titles of:

  • Articles and features in periodicals and newspapers
  • Chapter titles
  • Essays, Short poems, Short stories
  • Television and radio programs
  • Manuscripts of completed, unpublished writings of all kinds (i.e., books, articles, etc.)


For titles in English, follow The Chicago Manual of Style (Headline Style: 8.167, 15th edition).

For titles in other languages, follow the convention of the language of the work, as defined in AACR2 (Appendix A); see also The Chicago Manual of Style (10.3, 15th edition).

  • English: capitalize all significant words

Five Months in the Argentine, from a Woman’s Point of View

  • French: lower case all but proper names

L’émigration espagnole au Mexique

  • German: capitalize all nouns

Die Affirmation des Chaos: zur Uberwindung des Nihilismus in der Metaphysik Friedrich Nietzsches

  • Italian: lower case all but proper names

La commedia: raffermata nel testo giusta la ragione e l’arte dell’autore da Giambattista Giuliani

  • Russian: lower case all but proper names

Kliuch” k Gogoliu: opyt khudozhestvennogo chteniia

  • Spanish: lower case all but proper names

Los caballeros de la Casa Rosada


Use quotation marks around transliterated titles, and explain the use of transliteration at the series level. 


  • File title: “Varshe” (Warsaw), part II, chapters 1-17, holograph, corrected with additions in another hand
  • Series Arrangement: Writings are arranged alphabetically by transliterated title, with the English translation in parentheses.

Citing Reference Sources

Printed Sources

Use MLA citation rules.

WWW Sources

Use The Chicago Manual of Style.


Victorian Women Writers Project. Ed. Perry Willett. May 2000. Indiana U. 26 June 2002

Thomas: Legislative Information on the Internet. 19 June 2001. Lib. of Congress, Washington. 18 May 2002

Youakim, Sami. “Work-Related Asthma.” American Family Physician 64 (2001): 1839-52. Health Reference Center. InfoTrac. Bergen County

Cooperative Lib. System, NJ. 12 Jan. 2002