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UA 16: Stewart´s corner (9.11.00)

Capitalization in report and publication titles

1. Titles of books and reports
The general standard in scienti-fic/academic work is to use upper case for the first letter of the main words in the titles of books and reports. Use lower case for «a, an, the, and, or, for, nor» and prepositions, unless they are the first word or last words in a title. Examples: «The New Oxford Dictionary of English» «The History of the New West» «Cancer and the Symptoms to Look For»

2. Chapters and sections
In scientific/academic reports and doctoral theses, they are few general standards about when to use capitals in chapter or section headings. Nevertheless, at NTNU and SINTEF there is a general trend towards using block letters (all capitals) for the level 1 headings (the chapters in a thesis). Level 2 headings (such as Section 2.1, Section 2.2) have the main words capitalized (as in point 1 above). Level 3 headings (Section 2.1.1, Section 2.1.2) have the first word and only proper nouns capitalized. Examples: «Section 2.1.1 Modelling of Cartesian coordinates» «World history from a German perspective». However, a quick study of the doctoral theses that are about to be defended at NTNU reveals that there is little standard-ization in this matter at present. One organization that has tried to standardize this is Statoil’s Research Centre where Levels 1 and 2 are written as above, but their 1999 in-house style guide suggests level 3 headings follow the capitalization rules as in level 2, but are in italic. Example: Section 2.1.1 Enhanced Seismic Studies in Block 123.

3. Brochures, press material, web
As many feel that capitals shout at the reader, titles without capitals are softer and easier to read. Thus sales brochures, press material and text on the web show a clear movement away from capitals in titles when they are optional. A study of various guides to authors shows that some scientific journals are also moving in this direction.

Tricky words

Series, string of, succession of, train of eventsSeries (Norw. rekke) means a number of things, people or events that occur one after the other. Note that «a series of something» is not necessarily close in time. «He gave a series of lectures last year». As the singular and plural forms are both series, the translation of the Norwegian term «serie» may be series for TV programmes (a new crime series) and electric connections (the batteries are connected in series), but in many technical terms, serial is used. Examples are «seriebehandling» (serial processing) and «serie-nummer» (serial number). String of (Norw. rekke) means either a sequence of similar items that are found close together: «a string of shops» and «a string of pearls», or similar events that occur very close together: «a string of murders» and «a string of best-sellers». Note that the similarity and closeness in place or time are important here. Succession of (Norw. rekke) means a number of people or things with a similar characteri-stic following one after the other: «A Swede now joins the succession of English national team managers», «he had a succession of parking-by-ear acciden-ts». The important thing about succession of is the negative connotation of there being too many. In a job applica-tion letter, avoid writing that you had had a «succession of jobs». Use the positive term «wide experience» instead. Train of events (Norw. rekke) means a series of events where each action causes the next action to occur: «The fall of the Berlin Wall started an incredible train of events in Central and Eastern Europe». If the related events occur in a particular order, use sequence of events, as in «the police are trying to find the sequence of events that led to the murder». The next «Stewart’s Corner» will consider hyphenation in titles.

Enlightening Danglish

If delayed connecting flights mean you miss the last flight back from Copenhagen, you may end up in the Lautrup Park Hotel. A highlight of the evening in this dreary hotel may be the samples of Danglish in its informative 160-word brochure called «Informations»:

«Car rent»

«Flight informations»

«Jogging - suitables paths from the hotel»

«Taxi – orders trough the reception»

A tourist attraction is the swimming Danish bathtub: «Swimming bath 1,5 km from here».