Answered By: Jeffrey Orrico
Last Updated: Jan 24, 2019     Views: 500

Having the complete and accurate title is very important in searching for the journal in the library.   The proper form of the title is also necessary as you create your bibliography and citations. There are a number of web sites which give quick conversions from journal titles to abbreviations and back:

Style guidelines for research papers in science and health often require standardized abbreviations to keep citations and references as short as possible.  You shouldn’t invent your own abbreviation. 

  • American Chemical Society (ACS): “Abbreviate the name according to the Chemical Abstracts Service Source Index (CASSI), and italicize it.”
  • American Medical Association (AMA) 13.11.2: "Abbreviate and italicize names of journals.  . . . Abbreviate according to the listing in the PubMed journals database (see also 14.10 Names of Journals)."
  • Council of Science Editors (CSE) “Abbreviate the ‘significant’ words in a journal title according to ISO 4, and omit other words, such as articles, conjunctions, and prepositions; capitalize all abbreviated words.  Sources for title-word abbreviations such as the List of Journals Indexed for MEDLINE, published by the National Library of Medicine, and BIOSIS Serial Sources by Biological Abstracts.
  • The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation T.13: “The following list provides abbreviations for the names of English language periodicals that are commonly cited . . .”

Other citation styles require the full title:

  • American Psychological Association (APA) 6.29 “Give the periodical title in full, in uppercase and lowercase letters.”
  • Modern Language Association (MLA) 3.6.1 “In a title or subtitle, capitalize the first word, the last word, and all principal words, including those that follow hyphens in compound terms.”

If you've struggled to identify a source referenced in an article or book, you know how much scholars value clear, complete, and standardized citation formats.  If you're still learning academic writing and citation styles, check with your professor to be sure which format you should use, and ask a reference librarian for help.

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