Writing Style Guide

The following guidelines apply to UTSA Libraries promotional/editorial written materials, including website text.

UTSA Libraries locations & areas

The University of Texas at San Antonio

Should be written out on first mention. UTSA or university acceptable on second reference.

The University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries

Should be written out on first mention (UTSA Libraries is acceptable for internal purposes). Upon second reference, libraries is acceptable. Avoid UTSA Library.

UTSA Libraries locations

Applied Engineering and Technology LibraryAET Library acceptable on second reference.

Downtown LibraryDTL acceptable on second reference. Avoid Downtown Campus Library.

John Peace LibraryJPL acceptable on second reference.

Special CollectionsUTSA Libraries Special Collections preferred on first mention. Avoid apostrophe, for example UTSA Libraries’ Special Collections.

Institute of Texan Cultures Reading RoomITC Reading Room and Reading Room acceptable on second reference.

John Peace Library Reading RoomJPL Reading Room and Reading Room acceptable on second reference.

UTSA Libraries departments

Access Services


Collections and Curriculum Support


Downtown Library

Learning Technology

Metadata and Collection Support

Office of the Dean

Public Services

Research Services

Special Collections


Teaching and Learning Center

John Peace Library areas

African American Reading Room/Graduate Group Study Room

Computer Classroom

Faculty Center

Front Desk

Graduate Study Room/s

Information and Technology Support Desk

Information Commons

Laptop Lounge

Meeting Room

Media Viewing Room

Popular Reading

Quiet Computing Room

Quiet Study

Quiet Zone

Special Collections Reading Room

Seminar Room

South Commons (Tomás Rivera Center)

Tutoring Services and Supplemental Instruction/Q Lab

Applied Engineering & Technology Library areas

Study Room A

Study Room B

Study Room C

Downtown Library areas


Information Desk

Special Collections


Photograph Collection

Rare Books

University Archives

Institute of Texan Cultures


Air Rowdy — official name of campus wireless internet network

Blue Crew — nickname for staff

Get It For Me — no longer called E-Delivery, Interlibrary Loan or Book Pulling Services

Library Quick Search

My Account

Print Spot

Quick Print Stations

TexShare Card — not Texshare


Always capitalize, do not use italics or quotations. Link text to publication online whenever possible.

Annual Report

Glimpse — name of donor and friends of the Libraries e-newsletter

La Cocina Histórica — name of blog featuring the Mexican Cookbook Collection

The Grapevine — name of internal e-newsletter

The Top Shelf — name of blog featuring the UTSA Libraries Special Collections

Common Library Terms

Academic degrees — avoid abbreviation, doctorate of psychology. Use apostrophe in bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, etc.

No possessive in Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science.

Use B.A., M.A. LL.A. and Ph.D. only after a full name, John Doe, Ph.D.

Avoid stating title before the name; instead use title after the name and use lower case letters, Krisellen Maloney, dean of UTSA Libraries. For internal communications (such as The Grapevine), the title may be capitalized.

Academic departments — use lowercase, department of history or department of English, except in proper nouns, and official or formal names: The University of Texas at San Antonio Department of Mathematics.

Best-seller — hyphenated in all uses.



Building — Never abbreviate. Capitalize when used with a proper noun, and official or formal names, Buena Vista Building, Durango Building.

Cancel, canceled, canceling, cancellati on

Catalog, cataloged, cataloger, cataloging, catalogist

CD — CD acceptable on all references.

Check-in (noun or adjective), check in (verb)


Collectors’ item

Composition titles — Capitalize first letters in words, including articles – the, a, an. Put quotation marks around all works except the Bible and books that are primarily catalogs of reference material, such as almanacs, article titles, directories, dictionaries, encyclopedias, gazetteers, handbooks, journal titles and similar publications.

Apply to book titles, computer game titles, movie titles, opera titles, play titles, poem titles, album and song titles, radio and television program titles and titles of lectures, speeches and works of art.

“Of Mice and Men,” “Drive,” “Gone With the Wind,” Encyclopaedia Britannica, Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, Second Edition.

Database — not data base

Disc, Disk — optical laser-based devices: Blu-Ray Disc. Use disk for computer-related reference: computer disk.


DVD — DVD acceptable on all references.

DVR — Digital video recorder. DVR acceptable on second reference.

e-book, e-reader, e-journal — Use hyphen with all e- terms except email. Capitalize "e" only when at the beginning of a sentence, or when part of a header or title.

Email — Email acceptable on all references, not e-mail.

Entitled — Avoid using entitled, instead use titled. The book was titled, “Of Mice and Men.”


Fax — Fax preferable on all references.


GIF — Graphics Interchange Format, a compression format for images.

Google, Googling, Googled

Guest — Library users who are not currently enrolled students, faculty, or staff. Community guests are sometimes referred to community borrowing members who are from the Community Borrowing Program

Headlines — Only first letters of words and proper nouns are capitalized.

Home page

Hot spot

HTTP — Lowercase in Web addresses.

iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone, iPod — Use IPad, IPad Mini, IPhone, IPod when it is the first word in a sentence.

JPEG, JPG — Joint Photographic Experts Group

Web — Used as short term of website. Capitalize Web when used alone or separate with other words, the Web and Web page

Website — not Web site


Some well known abbreviations and acronyms can stand alone (such as FBI), but when using abbreviations specific to the Libraries be sure to write it in full on first reference and follow with abbreviation in parentheses. Abbreviation acceptable on second reference.


Capitalize name of proper collections (Mexican Cookbook Collection)

Date & Time

Always write time, day of the week, date — for example: 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 1.

Time — never use :00 (12:00) on the hour — for example: 12 p.m. 

a.m. or p.m. — always use lowercase and use periods with a space between the hour and designation. When there are two times and they are both in the am or pm range, use the time designation only once - for example: 1 - 3 p.m.

Months — abbreviate months when used with date (Sept. 1). Write out months when used with year (September 2001)

Day of the week — never abbreviate

Year — year is not necessary if the date pertains to the current year. Only use year for previous years (July 3, 2012).

Phone Numbers

All library phone numbers should be formatted with the area code in parenthesis:  (210) 458-7506.

Links & URLs

When possible, always attempt to hyperlink appropriate terms/content. Avoid including http:// in URLs.

Serial commas

No comma is needed before the coordinating conjunction (and, or, etc.) in a simple series — for example: I ate toast, eggs and bacon. 

Put a comma before the concluding conjunction in a series, however, if an integral element of the series requires a conjunction: I had orange juice, toast, and ham and eggs for breakfast.

Use a comma also before the concluding conjunction in a complex series of phrases: The main points to consider are whether the athletes are skillful enough to compete, whether they have the stamina to endure the training, and whether they have the proper mental attitude.

Other Resources

The UTSA Libraries Communications Department uses The Associated Press Stylebook and the UTSA Writing Style Guide when writing articles for our website and other publications but will use other styles when deemed necessary for alternative formats, such as signage and promotional materials.