Shortened Titles




5 April 2013

Many published works have long titles that we cite fully in the first reference note that uses that source. Thereafter, we may create "shortened titles," but we should do so thoughtfully. A short title should always

  • draw from the first few words of the title

  • clearly convey the subject of the book, and

  • distinguish that book from other works with similar titles by the same author.

A shortened title should not rearrange the words from the original title—for two reasons. First, doing so makes it difficult to match the shortened title with the preceding full title. Second, many authors who are expert on a subject will have various publications with similar titles. Rearranging words in one of their titles can leave the source unidentifiable. In that same vein, if the publication is a set of edited or abstracted records and the title carries a date span, the shortened title should include that date span.

EE Chapter 12 (Books, CDs, Maps, Leaflets & Videos) treats this subject in considerably more detail.

DebNC's picture
Date span

Thank you, Elizabeth, for another resourceful tip! I have pretty much followed your recommendations with the exception that I had been leaving off the date span from the shortened title. I can see now why it makes better sense to include it.