DMB:Style guide

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You can search the style guide by:

  1. Pressing Ctrl+f on your keyboard if you’re using a PC or ⌘+f if you’re using a Mac.
  2. Typing the word or search term that you’re looking for.

Authors are expected to write in accordance with the house style otherwise they may be refereed.

A to Z

Spelling and grammar conventions for all content published on the Dictionary of Mormon Biography, arranged alphabetically.


Abbreviations and acronyms

Spell out acronyms at first mention unless they’re well known, eg US, UK, LDS etc.

The first time you use an abbreviation or acronym, explain it in full on each page, and then refer to it by initials. For example, Church Handbook of Instructions (CHI). Don’t use an acronym if you’re not going to use it again later in the text.

Don’t use full stops in abbreviations – LDS, not L.D.S.

Article (New)

When creating a DMB article for a person please follow the template. A blank template has also been created to make it easier to copy and paste the format. Each entry should also comprise all or most of the following elements, generally in the order listed here:

  • subject's full birth name
  • occupational description
  • birth date and place
    • unknown dates should be represented as ? or Unknown
  • parents' full names
  • parents' occupations at the time the subject was born
  • subject's education
  • chronological sketch of career
  • family details (marriage and children)
  • distinctions gained
  • critical assessment of his or her work or place in the history of the LDS movement
  • evaluation of his or her character
  • physical description
  • religious denomination
  • baptisms
  • ordinations
  • callings
  • priesthood offices
  • other ecclesiastical callings (temple worker, Primary, clerk, et al)
  • publications
  • portraits and their location
  • death - cause (given for subjects who died at age 70 or younger)
  • death - date and place - details of burial or whether cremated
    • unknown dates should be represented as ? or Unknown
  • select bibliography of the major references used in the compilation of the entry

For some examples, see the pages for Joseph Smith Jr. and Emma Hale Smith.

Article Titles

When creating an article for a person, use the full given name for the title of the article (e.g. Joseph Fielding Smith Sr. instead of Joseph F. Smith) and the dates of the individual's lifespan, e.g. "Joseph Fielding Smith Sr. (1838-1918)". For women, use their maiden name and put their married name(s) in the Alternate Names section of the info-box.

Authority Control

  • DBpedia - database of structured information from Wikipedia
  • EMM - Early Mormon Missionaries database hosted by the Church History Library
  • FamilySearch - a genealogical network and database hosted by the Family History Library
  • FFYRS - biographies as part of The First Fifty Years of Relief Society online supplements
  • GND - the German National Library
  • ISNI - the International Standard Name Identifier
  • JSPP - biographies in the Joseph Smith Papers project
  • LCCN - Library of Congress Name Authority File
  • MPOT - Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel database hosted by the Church History Library
  • SELIBR - the National Library of Sweden
  • VIAF - the Virtual International Authority File
  • Wikidata - the central storage for the structured data of Wikimedia projects
  • Wikipedia - an online, editable encyclopedia
  • WorldCat - OCLC WorldCat identities



Proper nouns (i.e. the names or titles of persons, places, or things) should be capitalised. A common noun is the generic name of one item in a class or group; it is not capitalised unless it is part of a title. Likewise adjectives are generally not capitalised unless they are part of a title. Left and Right are capitalised when used as nouns but not as adjectives. For instance: “western New South Wales … the Left … the left wing of the Labor Party … the new Right.”

Terms associated with government may or may not be capitalised depending on how they are used. When you refer to an entity by its formal title, use capitals. Do the same when using an abbreviated version of this title (especially if it contains a specific element). For instance: “The Victorian Government is responsible for … The Federal Court decided that … Defence is a Commonwealth responsibility.”

Do not capitalise such terms when using them generically, adjectivally, or in the plural – even if you are referring to specific entities. For instance: “The state government proposes to … The debate in parliament continued … The governments of South Australia and Tasmania decided that … Defence is a federal responsibility.”

But note: some nouns used in connection with government and legislation are capitalised to distinguish them from their generic meaning: the Cabinet, the Treasury, the Crown, the House, the Act(s), the Bill(s).


Follow other subject headings (LCSH and CHL’s headings) by making subjects/categories plural: e.g. Missionaries, Bishops, Midwives, et al.

For a list of currently used terms visit the Categories page.

Categories should be listed in alphabetical order at the end of the entry. And those categories for organizations (e.g. Church of Christ (1830), Community of Christ, etc.), should include an Authority Control infobox. See the page for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for an example.


Archival document

  1. Attlee Hunt to Captain Collins, 28 June 1906, Department of External Affairs, series A2910/1, file 417/4/2, Australian Archives, ACT.
  2. Attlee Hunt to Captain Collins, 28 June 1906.


  1. Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns, The War: An Intimate History, 1941–1945 (New York: Knopf, 2007), 159–61.
  2. Ward and Burns, War, 159–61.

Book with Editor(s) instead of Author

  1. Eric Fry, ed., Rebels and Radicals (Sydney: George Allen and Unwin, 1983), 137.
  2. Fry, Rebels and Radicals, 137.

Book Chapter

  1. Peter Spearitt, “The Auburn Plute,” in Jack Lang, ed. Heather Radi and Peter Spearitt (Sydney: Hale and Iremonger, 1977), 17–18.
  2. Spearitt, “Auburn Plute,” 17–18.

Journal Article

Journals can include a volume and/or an issue number. A volume number immediately follows the title of the journal. An issue number is preceded by the abbreviation “no.”

  1. Geoffrey Stokes, “The ‘Australian Settlement’ and Australian Political Thought,” Australian Journal of Political Science 39, no. 1 (2004): 5–7.
  2. Stokes, “Australian Settlement,” 5–7.
  3. Peter Cochrane, “Company Time: Management, Ideology and the Labour Process, 1940–1960,” Labour History, no. 48 (May 1985): 54–68.
  4. Cochrane, “Company Time,” 54–68.

Article in a Newspaper or Popular Magazine

  1. Kevin Rudd, “Global Good not Global Greed,” Sydney Morning Herald, 27 July 2000, 15.
  2. Rudd, “Global Good,” 15.

Thesis or Dissertation

  1. Julie Kimber, “A Bush Christening: Orange and the Great War” (PhD diss., University of New South Wales, 2004), 45–49.
  2. Kimber, “A Bush Christening,” 45–49.

Personal Interview

  1. Patricia Bunker, telephone interview with author, 14 August 2006.
  2. Bunker, interview.
  3. Unpublished Paper Presented at a Meeting or Conference
  4. James Walter and Tod Moore, “The New Social Order? Australia’s Contribution to ‘New Liberal’ Thinking in the Interwar Period” (paper presented to the jubilee conference of the Australasian Political Studies Association Conference, Australian National University, Canberra, 2–4 October 2002).
  5. Walter and Moore, “The New Social Order?”


Include an access date or, if available, a date that the site was last modified.

  1. D. J. Murphy, “Fisher, Andrew (1862–1928)”, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, accessed 15 February 2012,
  2. Murphy, “Fisher, Andrew (1862–1928).”
  3. “About the Federal Society,” Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, accessed 29 May 2012,
  4. “About the Federal Society.”

Work Cited Immediately Above

  1. Ibid.

Common usages

  • Use World War II (not Second World War or WW2)
  • Use per cent (not percent or %, though the latter may be used in a table)
  • In general, use a full stop after an abbreviation (Vic. Tas. ed. no. vol. p. pp. but not after a contraction where the short form ends in the same letter as the word in full (Qld, eds). Exceptions to this rule include: ACT, NSW, NT, SA, PhD, * BA, eg, ie, am, pm
  • Use a space between a shortened form and associated numbers: no. 5, chs 2, 7, * pp. 20–1
  • Symbols for currency and units of measurement have no full stop (17 km, 30 lb, 9s)


Figures and Tables

Figures include artworks such as photographs, drawings, maps and charts. Tables are lists of words and numbers presented in vertical columns and horizontal rows. Figures and tables should be numbered separately and either embedded your article document or provided in separate files. Always refer to specific table and figure numbers in the text (rather than saying “in the following table”). Any lengthy interpretations should be included either in the text or footnote.

For a table, put the number and title above the item and the source beneath it.

For a figure, put all information below the item. This includes the figure number, caption, source (eg name of photographer, date) and acknowledgment of the person/institution providing it.

All reproduction costs and copyright clearances are the responsibility of the author. For photographs, we suggest a TIFF or JPEG file with a resolution of 300dpi at the right size (100%). If the photo is only small, the resolution should be 600dpi so as not to lose quality when it is enlarged. For maps or diagrams, the resolution should be higher – 600 or ever 1200dpi.


All references should be placed in footnotes using the Chicago Style. For referencing matters not covered in this guide, please consult The Chicago Manual of Style.

Footnotes should be bibliographical, ie indicating sources and comments on sources. Other matters should be dealt with in the text of the article.

Please don’t use the author/date style of Chicago referencing and don’t provide a separate bibliography.

Each quotation must be properly referenced in a footnote.

The first time a reference is given, it must include the full bibliographic details. Subsequent references to the same item should be given in a shortened form. Below are examples of both full and short references.

When providing full dates, use the following format: 22 June 1945 (rather than June 22, 1945). This is one of our departures from the Chicago style.



Use initial capitals for major words in the title, subtitle, headings and subheadings. Use bold, not italics. No full stop is necessary. Use a colon rather than a dash between title and subtitle. Please try to keep your titles and headings concise.



Use italics to indicate the title of a journal or a book; for foreign words not in common use; and to indicate emphasis.



  • When entering spouses into the info-box give their names followed by the date of the marriage, e.g. Lucy Mack, 26 January 1796. Be sure to link the spouses name to their entry.
  • In the case of individuals with more than five spouses, create a separate page for the spouses and enter it into the field in lieu of individual names, e.g. Wives of Brigham Young



  • Show major dates as: 22 June 1945 (not 22/6/45 or 22.6.45)
  • Show dates in sources and under callings, etc., as 18 Dec 1888
  • Spell out numbers up to ten and use numerals thereafter eg: nine lives. This rule does not apply if the sentence begins with a number, eg Eighteen men were killed * in a fall at the mine. Avoid ending a sentence with a number
  • Indicate time spans: 1939–45; 1788–1842; 1900–02; 1950s (not 1950’s)
  • Use a comma to indicate thousands, eg 1,972
  • Show hours as: 10.45am – 6.00pm



The first paragraph in each section of an article should be flush with the left margin, and subsequent paragraphs should have the first line indented. This includes new paragraphs which follow an indented quotation. Paragraphs that merely continue after a quotation should not be indented.



For quotes less than 50 words, use double quotation marks (“”). Use single quotation marks (‘’) around quotes-within-quotes.

Indent quotes that are more than 50 words long. Opening and closing quotation marks are not required for indented material. However use double marks for quotes within an indented quote.

Use ellipses to indicate that material has been omitted within a quote; they are not necessary at the beginning or end of a quotation.

Quoted matter must be identical to the original source and is not subject to the in-house style of the journal. Put all interpolations in square brackets. Use [sic] to indicate unusual spellings or turns of phrase. If the author wishes any quoted material to be emphasised, the extract should appear in italics followed by [emphasis added].


Related Entries

This section is for entries with a close relationship (familial, callings, etc.) to the article subject. The full title of the related article should be included, with the relationship in parentheses. When applicable, use the gender neutral noun. For example, "Charles Coulson Rich (1809-1883) (spouse)" or "Benjamin Cluff Jr. (1858-1948) (sibling)."

Familial terms are as follows:

  • Spouse - for a husband or wife
  • Child - for a son or daughter
  • Parent - for a father or mother
  • Sibling - for a brother or sister
  • Nibling - for a niece of nephew

Other terms may be used to indicate a working relationship, such as within an occupation or calling. For example, Marriane Savage Clark served as a counselor to Marion Isabelle Sims Smith, so Marion would show up in her Related Entries section as "Marion Isabelle Sims Smith (1895-1982) (Relief Society General President)."



Use double line spacing for your first submission; single for the revised version. Please leave a line of space before and after indented quotations, and two lines of space before a subheading or at the end of a section. Use only one space between words, even after a full stop. A superscript footnote number is generally placed at the end of a sentence or at the end of a clause. Often it will come immediately after a full stop, a comma or closing quotation marks.


  • Labour/Labor: when referring to the movement, use the spelling “labour”; when referring to the Australian party, use “Labor” (the official spelling)
  • ize/ise: use “realize”; “organization”, “mobilization” etc rather than the “ise” and “isation” forms of these and similar words