Style Guide 1.5

by Margaret Shepard Morris Style Guide 1.5

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In general, nanoHUB style adheres to The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Ed. (CMS), and IEEE Standards Style Manual (IEEE) to resolve questions of style and usage on

CMS and IEEE styles evolve with the advent of new technologies, genres, and conventions; for this reason, these guidelines are used by the nanoHUB editors to resolve questions of style throughout the website. Familiarity with CMS is key also to maintaining consistency in nanoHUB materials, which are frequently written by multiple authors possessing different bases for style. In other words, when in doubt, see CMS or IEEE manuals.

Since the style manuals do not account for each particular of evolving terminology in the nano science and nanotechnology community, the NCN Editorial Team has compiled a nanoHUB Glossary for additional information on spelling, hyphenation, and capitalization of field-specific terms. The Glossary represents the best editorial attempt to research how terms are used in the field and to represent them in such a way as to clarify language usage for nanoHUB users. Perhaps the glossary may also serve to help codify terms in the world of nano science communications. The nanoHUB Style Guide and Glossary 1.0 is separated into the following sections: General Guidelines, Specific Guidelines, and the Glossary.

General Guidelines

Audience consideration and informational density of a document: In drafting and revising documents/texts for, authors must keep their intended audience in mind. The density of information in a document must be appropriate for the audience. If a document is intended for multiple or mixed audiences (readers of different competencies and literacies), then authors must take care to tailor sections for those multiple or mixed audiences. The following table offers general guidelines.

Feature of the document Layperson/Undergraduate Managerial/Graduate Expert
Introduction Relevance Problem/Solution Technical
Mathematical models Avoid Avoid OK
Equations Avoid Simple/Avoid OK
Graphics Generally illustrative Simple, presentational Detailed, analytical
Detail level Simple, narrative General, accurate Accurate, numerical
Technical terms General, illustratrive Administrative Expert, technical
Emphasis Informational, interest Operations, costs Analysis

In relation to the taxonomy of materials here at nanoHUB based on undergraduate and graduate education, authors can demonstrate consideration of the audience by using the appropriate level of detail. For example, the composition of a First-Time Users’ Guide undergraduates will be most suited to the audience if the introduction of the document clearly states the relevance of the material to the readers’ interests, mathematical models and equations are kept to a minimum, if not avoided entirely, any graphics are illustrative of points made clearly in the text, the detail level is kept simple and focused on providing a narrative, technical terms are carefully introduced by using the full English term at the first instance with a full description or definition, and only then using abbreviations.

Style Guide

Authors can use forecasting to inform readers where they need to turn for specific information. For example, the introduction of a document can use the forecast of the structure of the document to indicate which readers should begin with a specific section, and which readers can avoid certain sections.

The VEDA manual is comprised of three sections: Part one, for first-time users, introduces readers to the software and guides them through simulations. The second part, for expert users, provides discussions of the theoretical models used to perform the simulations. . . .

General formatting

Font suggestions: If the document is intended for print, then headings should be in a sans-serif font (such as Arial or Helvetica), and the body text should be in a serif font (such as Times New Roman). If the document is intended for online publication only, then the headings should be in a serif font, and the body text in a sans-serif font. Any code should be in a fixed-width font, such as Courier.

Figures and tables: Both figure and table labels should be in bold font to set the descriptions apart from other body text. Figure labels appear below the figure, and table labels appear above the table.

Specific Guidelines

Use of abbreviations

Abbreviations, acronyms, initialisms, and portmanteaus: Abbreviation is an umbrella term that covers acronyms, initialisms, and portmanteaus. Acronyms and initialisms are close cousins, with an acronym referring to terms drawn from the first letters of their parts and read as a single word (AIDS, NATO), and initialisms referring to terms that you read as a series of letters (NPR, ATM, AT&T). Portmanteaus are blended terms, combining the forms and meanings of two words (spin and electronics=spintronics). On nanoHUB, abbreviations typically appear capitalized and without periods. The exception to this non-use of the period in an abbreviation is any lowercased abbreviation, such as, et al., p.m., or e.g. The use of portmanteaus on nanoHUB often takes the form of a tool name (e.g. ABACUS).

nanoHUB users come from a variety of educational backgrounds and levels of expertise. To aid novice users, abbreviations should be defined with the initial use. Also, as nanoHUB serves many scholars and researchers whose primary language is not English, abbreviations for non-field-specific terms (e.g., misc., ASAP, and FYI) should be avoided whenever possible. Acceptable: “Carbon nanotubes (CNT) have interesting, structure-dependent electronic properties. In particular, CNTs can be a metallic or semiconducting depending on the way in which the carbon atoms are arranged in the CNT walls.” Unacceptable: “The program CNDO/INDO is a general purpose combination of the CNDO/S, CNDO/2, INDO, and INDO/S programs. It does RHF (open and closed shell) calculations only, no geometry optimizations, and does Multi-Reference CI. Transition metals are included.”

Formatting: Abbreviations, acronyms, and initialisms typically appear capitalized and without punctuation. Abbreviations for non-English terms are not italicized. Portmanteaus typically appear either entirely lowercase or with the initial letter capitalized, as is the case with tool names.


A few general rules for capitalization throughout the site and in supporting documents appear below. Field-specific terms that appear on nanoHUB are sometimes derived from proper nouns and sometimes not, so correct capitalization requires an understanding of these terms’ origins. For a list of terms that need to be capitalized, as well as the rationale for capitalization, see the Glossary below.

Proper names

Words derived from proper names should be capitalized (e.g., Green’s function). Common terms like capacitors and transistors should not be capitalized. See field-specific names and terms for further elaboration. Tool names are proper names and should thus be capitalized.

Tool names

Band Structure / band structure (always two words; capitalization depends upon context/usage as there is a proper noun and a common noun usage)


All citations should conform to .


Bracketed footnote indicators should follow a space: e.g. transport [7] rather than transport[7].


The little endian system (DD MM YYYY) is to be preferred. The big endian system (YYYY-MM-DD) will be found on occasion. The American system of month day, year should be avoided.


Author names: Digital technologies allow for the inclusion of characters that could not be produced on a typewriters, so when possible, individual’s names should appear as they have been entered. This means attention to spelling and the inclusion of non-English alphabet characters, such as umlauts, tildes, and accents. Authors are allowed to use initials instead of a full name, but initials should be capitalized and followed by a period and a space.

University names: Spacing and punctuation conventions in university names are determined by state legislatures and universities, not popular convention. Be aware that faculty, students, and alum often incorrectly format university names, so err on the side of caution when relying on user-submitted content for examples. See university websites to determine proper formatting for university names.

“Sponsored by” lines should omit “NSF” from before Network for Computational Nanotechnology. (NSF will remain if a specific grant number is listed.)

toward (not “towards”)

Spacing guidelines: Newer print and online publishing styles indicate a preference for single spacing where of double spacing used to be the standard. Chicago guidelines also stipulate that there should be one space between sentences instead of two. The same holds true of spacing following colons and semicolons.



Commas should generally be used (1) at the end of a dependent clause (or introductory clause) preceding a main clause; (2) between items in a list of three or more items, including before the conjunction “and” or “or”; (3) surrounding interjections and descriptive phrases; (4) separating two or more adjectives modifying a noun.

Clauses and use of commas: Commas should not be inserted before a restrictive subordinating clause. If the subordinating clause is essential to the meaning of the main clause, commas preceding the subordinate clause are not needed. need example


The initial word after a colon should be uppercase if what follows the colon is a complete sentence; otherwise, the initial word after a colon will be lowercase.

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