August 2005 // Volume 43 // Number 4

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Some JOE Style Points: Capitalization & et al.

"Some JOE Style Points" talks about how to use "et al." and capitalization in JOE articles. "August JOE" highlights the two Commentaries in the August issue, a Tools of the Trade article, and the range of other topics covered.

Some JOE Style Points: et al. & Capitalization

I have been meaning to write a JOE Style Guide for years now. But I never seem to find the time. So I'm taking a new tack. Instead of taking on the task of preparing an entire style guide, I'll do it in bits and pieces. When I have a critical mass of information, I'll turn it all into a style guide, proper. Until then, I'll ask our new Web Developer, Anne Groves, to post the Editor's Pages in which I discuss JOE style on the Help for JOE Authors page.

The term "et al." is the Latin abbreviation for "and others." Note that it is not italicized and that there is no period after the "et" (Latin for "and" and thus not an abbreviation, itself). According to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, the manual you should use when you submit articles to JOE, you use "et al." on first reference only when a work you are citing has six or more authors. After the first reference, you can use "et al." when a work has three or more authors.

Another time-consuming problem to correct has to do with capitalization. JOE does not use all capital letters for titles or headings or table and figure captions or anything. Nor, for titles or headings or table and figure captions, do we only cap the first letter of the first word and present the rest lower case unless the word is a proper noun. The only place that style is used is in Reference sections. For all titles, headings (and subheadings), and captions, JOE uses the cap and lower case style. That is, all words are capitalized except for conjunctions, articles, and prepositions of four letters or fewer.

A surprisingly common error I see is that authors make "is" lower case because they have gotten the idea that you capitalize based on the size of a word. But it's the part of speech that determines capitalization in the cap and lower case style. "Is" is a verb and gets capped.

What I talk about here may seem trivial, but correcting these errors--and they occur often--takes a lot of time and is one of the reasons I have to virtually shut down shop for a week or more when it's time to prepare a new issue.

August JOE

JOE has two very good Commentaries this month. The first, "Extension's Response to an Un-Natural Disaster: Enlisting Your Support for Military Youth and Families," is extraordinarily timely. The second is in a way timeless. " A Diversified Portfolio of Scholarship: The Making of a Successful Extension Educator" discusses the forms scholarship should take for Extension professionals.

Also in the issue is "More Tips: What If a Cooperative Extension Professional Must Work With Two or More Institutional Review Boards?" This is the first of two follow-up articles to a four-part series on IRB's, a subject that is increasingly important in terms of sound scholarship.

There are several articles dealing with manure handling, many fine articles discussing various aspects 4-H, and an article on what kinds of staff development Extension professionals need for international work. And those are just a few topics among a host of others.

Laura Hoelscher, Editor