We use the Chicago Manual of Style as our primary guide.

Acronyms: We spell out all acronyms at their first use, even NCPH. We do not use periods in acronyms (eg CV, not C.V.), but will use them in a person’s name, such as E.W. Carroll.

Bio Line: Italicize the author’s name in bio line. Place a tilde before author’s name. Keep the bio line short (a sentence or two at most).

  • ~ Melissa Bingmann earned her PhD from Arizona State University and is currently Director of Public History at West Virginia University as well as serving on the NCPH Board of Directors. She has worked in museums in Chicago, Arizona, and Rhode Island.


For photos, we include a short (ideally one-sentence or less) caption, ending with a period, followed by “Photo credit: name” with no period at the end of the credit note. If the source is posted online with a URL that is likely to remain stable, use a direct hyperlink to the photographer’s name rather than a general source (eg Wikimedia) or full URL. Ideally the source site will clarify the type of license under which the image can be used.

  • Monument at the Manzanar cemetery, 2002. Photo credit: Daniel Mayer
  • NOT Photo credit: Daniel Mayer, Wikimedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Manzanar_shrine.jpg
  • NOT Photo credit: Daniel Mayer, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 1.0 Generic

For drawings, logos, etc, we use the same format but say “Image credit: __________” instead of “Photo credit.”

For screenshots, we tend not to caption if the image is very self-evident (i.e. a screenshot of a homepage that says exactly what the website is). We may also include a hyperlink to the page in the caption, with or without the addition “Screenshot by: __________” (and no period at the end, as in other image credit lines).

Commas: We use the Oxford comma.

Citation: Our house style is to use an embedded hyperlink to a digital source when there is a reliable one available.

For posts in which the author has used more conventional endnotes and there’s not a good source online that we can link to, we follow the Chicago Manual of Style format for notes.

Dashes: We use a double-dash with no spaces between.

  • We ran to the board–not the table–and said hello.

History/historical/historian: We use the article “a” rather than “an” in front of these words.


In general, we tend to close these unless there’s a strong reason to prefer the hypenated version.

  • online, not on-line
  • email, not e-mail
  • Exceptions: non-profit, for-profit, real-time

For “compound nationalities” (CMS term), we do not use hyphens, whether they are used as nouns or adjectives.

  • Italian American history, African American dance, Japanese American protest, “During the Great Migration, African Americans left the South…”
  • We make an exception if a hyphen is used in a title (for example, The Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers)

National Historic Landmark is always capitalized.

Paragraph breaks: We favor shorter rather than long paragraphs, and the copyeditor may break up paragraphs of more than three sentences for ease of online reading.

Title: We do not use title caps; all words in a blog post title, except for the initial word and any proper nouns, should be lower-case.

  • Does the National Park Service have a culture problem?
  • NOT Does the National Park Service Have a Culture Problem?


Last updated: July 28, 2017





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