Web Writing Style Guide

The Krieger School of Arts and Sciences Marketing and Communication team reserves the right to edit any page or post on websites within our purview to maintain a consistent editorial style and voice.

Below are some of the most common issues we see, and/or may violate a WCAG 2.0 guideline. For additional editorial guidelines, please refer to the PDF Document: JHU editorial style guide.

adviser

not advisor

academic and administrative titles

In most cases, titles should follow a name and be lowercased; the exception is named professorships and deanships, which stay capped even when they follow a name.

When a formal title precedes a name, capitalize it, but lowercase words that modify the title: Professor Kit Bowen, chemistry Professor Kit Bowen, Assistant Professor Judith Mitrani-Reiser, English Department Chair Eric Sundquist, Vice President Glenn M. Bieler.

Per AP style, don’t use the courtesy title “Dr.” before the name of an individual who holds a PhD. If it’s necessary to note their degree, set it off with commas after their name: James Goodyear, PhD.

Examples within text:

  • Richard Brown, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies, said, “I like math.”
  • “I like math,” said Associate Professor Richard Brown.
  • “Physics is fun!” said Adam Riess, the Thomas J. Barber Professor in Space Studies.

academic degrees

Omit periods (MD, PhD), but avoid abbreviations when possible: John Jones, who has a doctorate in psychology. Capitalize the formal name of a degree (Master of Arts), but lowercase the discipline (Master of Arts in history) and the informal name (master’s degree in history).

academic departments

Capitalize both the formal name of the department and the flip-flopped name: Department of History, History Department. Also capitalize the shortened form for a department (a joint appointment in History and Art History). Note, however, the use of lowercase when the discipline, not the department, is intended: John Smith is majoring in history and political science.

ampersand

Use only when the ampersand is part of the formal name of a department, division, company, etc.: U.S. News & World Report, Evergreen Museum & Library. Do not use an ampersand to avoid the repetition of and, as in, The School of Arts & Sciences and the School of Engineering are based at Homewood. Use instead the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering.

commas

Use a serial comma (i.e., before and in a series): the schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health. If a serial comma does not appear in a proper name (Department of Family, Population and Reproductive Health), do not add it.

email

Email is one word with no hyphen and should only be capitalized if it begins a sentence. Email addresses are written in all lowercase letters. Write out the email address as you would if you were typing it into the TO field, don’t spell it with “(at)” instead of @, or “dot” instead of .

exclamation points

Per AP Style: Avoid overuse. Use an exclamation point to express a high degree of surprise, incredulity, or other strong emotion in an emphatic expression. End mildly exclamatory sentences with a period.

formatting text

  • Italics: Use for titles of books/publications, compositions, exhibitions, and symposium series
  • Bold: Use only rarely.
  • Underline: Should not be used.
  • All text should be aligned left.
  • Text should should be Sentence case or Proper Case, never ALL CAPS.

headings

Heading 3 is the largest size font we use within page content. If your page needs subheads, use heading 3, and then heading 4 for the next level down. Please see the PDF Document: style guide for font information.

Johns Hopkins University/Johns Hopkins Hospital

In running copy, the university and hospital do not need to retain the capitalized The traditionally used with their formal names. Either lowercase the The or use Johns Hopkins University/Hospital without the. In stand-alone copy, however, it is often appropriate to keep the capitalized The. When used as shortened forms of JHU and JHH, university and hospital should not be capitalized. The preferred shortened name of the university and hospital is Johns Hopkins rather than Hopkins.

Johns Hopkins University divisions

Formal names are followed by shortened forms and acronyms. The Johns Hopkins University Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences: Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, the Krieger School, the School of Arts and Sciences, KSAS

links

Hyperlinked text should usually be a verb/noun that specifically describes the content of the page you’re linking to. The words “click here” or “read more” should not be used for a link.

  • Ex.: For more information, see our course schedule. (not Click here to see our course schedule.)

Generally, don’t spell out a URL in page text. Instead, make words into a link that leads to that URL.

  • Ex.: See our course schedule. (not To see our course schedule, visit http://www.jhu.edu/courseschedule.)

When making text into a link, don’t include the spaces or punctuation before or after a word in the link. See our course schedule. (not See our course schedule.)

majors/minors

Majors/minors are not capitalized unless they include a proper noun: East Asian studies major, German major, history major, international studies major, public health studies major, majoring in English, minoring in Africana studies

numerals

Follow AP style: In general, spell out numbers one through nine and use figures for 10 and above: The Orioles finished second. She had nine months to go. There are 12 months in a year. He worked at Hopkins for 33 years.

Spell out the number when it is the start of a sentence: Forty years was a long time to wait. Fifteen to 20 cars were on the road. The only exception is years: 1992 was a good year.

  • Ages: always use numerals.
  • Unit of measure: always use numerals.
  • Grades: follow AP rules for ordinal numbers (e.g., fifth grade, 12th grade).
  • Scores (games, sports): always use numerals.
  • Use a comma to separate hours and minutes: Susan Brown completed the race in 3 hours, 45 minutes (not 3 hours and 45 minutes).
  • Dimensions, formulas, and speeds: Always use numerals: 5 feet 6 inches tall. But: He drove four miles.
  • Within a bulleted list: Use numerals

When writing a number with a “th” or “nd” after it, never use supertext. Ex. 19th century, not 19th century.

phone numbers

Use hyphens in phone numbers, not periods or parentheses. 410-516-0000, not 410.516.0000 or (410) 516-0000.

spaces

Use only one space—not two—between sentences.

times, dates, and places

When providing event information, list it in the time, date, place (TDP) sequence. Place commas between the day of the week and the month. Also place commas between the date and anything that follows it. The concert is at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 22, 2011, at Shriver Hall.

a.m./p.m.—Place periods between these designations. Always place a space between the number and “a.m.” or “p.m.” (lowercase). She played from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (not 10:00, 10 AM, 2:30pm).

“under construction” pages

Placeholder pages containing nothing but text such as “Page under construction” or “Information to come” will not be published. We will wait to put these pages up until the content is available. Pages without any content will be removed.

website

Website is one word and lowercased (unless it’s the first word in a sentence).

This document was last updated on June 29, 2016.