Writing Index

Abbreviations and Acronyms

While some well-known abbreviations and acronyms can stand alone (FBI, NAACP), when using abbreviations specific to the Library be sure to write in full on first reference, follow with the abbreviation in parentheses, and then use the abbreviation on all subsequent references within the webpage. Be sure to include the full first reference on each separate webpage (unnecessary with print publications).

The Digital Preservation Network (DPN) will be launched soon. DPN will create long-term preservation of the complete scholarly record.

When pluralizing abbreviations or acronyms, follow Chicago: Simply add “s” to “capital letters used as words, abbreviations that contain no interior periods, and numerals used as nouns.” When pluralizing lowercase letters, abbreviations with interior periods, or those with a combination of lowercase and capital letters, add an apostrophe and an “s” to form the plural.

p’s and q’s


Always lowercase and use periods as shown (no space between the first period and the “m”).


Names of manuscript collections should not be enclosed in quotation marks, but should be capitalized as a title.

The William Faulkner Collection includes everything in print by the author, in every edition (including foreign language editions) and every printing.


Use the “serial” comma when using commas to separate items in a list or series. That is, use a comma before the “and” or “or” that precedes the last item in a list.

“Flowerdew Hundred: Unearthing Virginia’s History” is a permanent exhibition in the Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture.

Ellipsis Points

Ellipsis points indicate an omission of a word or words within condensed text with three spaced periods ( . . . ). Ellipsis points are not necessary if text has been left off the beginning or end—only if text has been eliminated from within the quoted passage. There should be a space before and after the ellipsis points.

“If on a winter’s night a traveler . . . looks down in the gathering shadow in a network of lines that enlace, in a network of lines that intersect . . . What story down there awaits its end?” (Italo Calvino, If on a winter’s night a traveler)

En Dashes

Use en dashes to connect numbers (and sometimes words), signifying “to,” “up to and including,” or “through.” There should be no space before or after an en dash.

The exhibition will be open Mondays, 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
We beat North Carolina 21–5.
Truman Capote (1924–1984) wrote In Cold Blood, the first “nonfiction novel.”

However, do not use the en dash when used with “from” or “between.”

The Ming Dynasty lasted from 1368 to 1644.
Please stop by the exhibition between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

En dashes are also used to replace the hyphen when one element of a compound is a hyphenated or an open (nonhyphenated) two or three-word element.

Moby Grape, the Grateful Dead, and Jefferson Airplane were all San Francisco–based bands.
(“San Francisco” is a compound in itself, so the en dash is used to connect it with “based.”)


No hyphen is necessary.


Titles of exhibitions are capitalized, and put in quotation marks.

“Bestsellers: Popular Fiction in America” is currently on display in the main gallery of the Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture.

University of Virginia

University of Virginia should always be written out in full on first mention. On second and/or subsequent references refer to U.Va. or the University.

University of Virginia Library

The University of Virginia Library should be written out in full on first mention; on second and/or subsequent references refer to U.Va. Library or just the Library. Observe the periods in “U.Va.” on all subsequent references. Capitalize “Library” when referring to the U.Va. Library system as a whole. Use “library” if using the term generally or to refer to an individual branch.

University of Virginia Library branches and places

The proper first and second references:

Alderman Library (Alderman)
Charles L. Brown Science & Engineering Library (Brown Science & Engineering Library)
Astronomy Library
Biology/Psychology Library (Bio/Psych Library)
Chemistry Library
Mathematics Library
Physics Library
Clemons Library (Clemons)
Fiske Kimball Fine Arts Library (Fine Arts Library)
Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library (Small Special Collections Library)
Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture (Harrison Institute)
Curry Library Innovation Commons (CLIC)
Music Library
The Camp Family Library at Darden (Camp Library)
Claude Moore Health Sciences Library (Health Sciences Library)
Arthur J. Morris Law Library (Law Library)
Scholars’ Lab (SLab)

The Timothy B. and Lisa Nelson Robertson Media Center should be referred to as the Robertson Media Center on second reference, and may be shortened to RMC subsequently.