The Technology Source Guide to Copyediting

General procedure

For the technical aspects of copyediting, please refer to the TS procedures manual. The following are mostly style considerations.

1. Read the article for sense and style. Correct errors in grammar and usage. Mark in [bracketed, bold red] any questions you have for revisions (substantive or otherwise) and/or suggest rephrasings that you think might be helpful to our readers. Be nice. Be constructive.

2. Read the reviewers' comments, and if you think the author did not properly address a reviewer's concern, insert a suitable comment in the appropriate spot in the text. It's better to show the author where exactly in the text he/she should address a certain question, rather than simply repeating comments at the end. If you have a more global concern, you can put that at the top.

3. Check that the article follows our language and style conventions (see below). If you have questions about an author's use of certain conventions, please insert a comment in bold red.

Language Use

1. Use "faculty" to refer to the body of instructors at an institution. Use "faculty members" to refer to the people themselves. Example: "At a joint meeting between faculty and staff, several faculty members expressed support for the new initiative."

2. Form the possessive singular of nouns by adding 's. Example: when referring to an article by Stephen Downes, write "Downes's article" and not "Downes' article."

3. "None" and "No one" are singular, not plural.

4. If an author uses a cliche, slang word, or colloquialism, do not add quotes around the phrase. Quotes draw unnecessary attention. If you think the phrase is inappropriate, suggest an alternative.

5. The title of our journal is The Technology Source, and should always be cited that way. The only exception: If you're using the title as an adjectival phrase, drop the initial The. Example: "Recently, it was noted that the Technology Source readership has become more intelligent than ever."

6. A good reference (from which, incidentally, many of these guidelines were derived) is Strunk & White's (1979) The Elements of Style. It's available online at

7. The editor prefers that we not use contractions, except in quoted passages.


We use a modified APA style. You can use the APA manual in the office or access it online. Following is a list of the most common style mistakes you'll need to correct:


1. We use only one space after a period, not two.

2. All em-dashes should appear as unbroken dashes (—), not as two en-dashes (--), and should have no spaces around them. To create an em-dash switch the tabs at the bottom of the FrontPage editing window to view the HTML code, and enter the following code at the place where you want the em-dash to appear: &#151

3. Lists separated by commas should contain a comma before the conjunction. For example: "The Technology Source is up-to-date, interesting, and well-written."


Do NOT include periods in abbreviations for degrees: MA, BA, PhD

Do NOT include periods in abbreviations for states: NC, TX, VA

Do include periods in abbreviations for the U. S.

Do include periods in  the abbreviations p.m. and a.m.


1. Generally, do not capitalize position titles. Examples:

Exceptions: capitalize a job title that introduces a person's name. (Example: "Secretary of State Madeleine Albright spoke to Al Gore, the vice president.") Also always capitalize the President of the United States. (Example: "The president of the Copyeditors' Union wrote to the President of the United States.")

Do not capitalize general areas of study: "I have a history degree."  But, do capitalize languages and proper geographical names: "I study French and Middle Eastern law." 

Do not capitalize "master's degree in education", but do capitalize a "master's degree from the Department of Education at UNC." 

Capitalize MA, PhD, BA, BS, but not bachelor's degree, doctorate, etc.

In article titles, use "e-Learning." In articles themselves, use "e-learning."

Headings and titles

Headings should be 12 point, bold, with all words initially capped, and flush left (not centered). Subheadings should be the same, except italicized, not bold. Titles for figures, tables, and exhibits should not be included in the item itself, as they will be generated by the database.  The same is true for article titles.

To hyphenate or not to hyphenate?

The following terms are presented as they should appear in all TS articles and bios:

do NOT hyphenate: Hyphenate:
postgraduate e-mail
postsecondary not-for-profit
nonprofit in-service
online full-time

Spelling of abbreviations and symbols

1. Spell out numbers zero through nine; express numbers 10 and above as numerals.

2. Use the abbreviations a.m. and p.m.

3. Denote percent and percentage by the symbol % rather than writing it out.

4.  The British pound symbol (£) is created the in same way as the em-dash (see above) by typing &#163.

Spelling of Internet terminology



log in, log out, log off (verbs); login, logout, logoff (nouns/adjectives)



Web, World Wide Web

Web site


In-text references

See the APA manual (in print or online) for general guidelines (the author/date format is describe on pages 168-174).

1. Book and journal titles are italicized; article titles appear in quotes.

2. Link all cited websites using the date of publication, not the author's name. Example: "This is a beautifully copyedited journal (Smith, 2001)." To cite specific parts of a Web document, indicate the chapter, figure, table, or equation as appropriate.

3. Punctuation comes after the parentheses in the citation.

A common in-text citation, with a link to a website, looks like this:

The simulation is based on the following four essential ingredients (Linser et al, 1999).

4. For quotations, give page numbers (or paragraph numbers) if they are available. For example,

As Myers (2000, 5) aptly phrased it, "positive emotions are both an end - better to live fulfilled, with joy [and other positive emotions] - and a means to a more caring and healthy society."

References section

1. Article titles are in plain script, without quotes. Only the first word of the title is capitalized. If there is a colon in the title, the first word after the colon is capitalized.

2. Book and journal titles are in italics. In book titles, only the first word of the title is capitalized. In journal titles, all words have initial caps.

3. Do not capitalize Internet and Web (except where otherwise indicated), even though we capitalize them in the body of the text.

4. Make sure the date in a reference is in plain script, not italicized. Example: "Morrison, J. (2000). The stunning brilliance of TS staff members."

5. References to articles published in TS should have the months of publication inserted after the year. Example: "Downes, S. (2000 May/June)."

6. Volume numbers are italicized. Example: "Windham, S. My life as a TS copyeditor. Copyediting weekly, 39 (6) 45-50."

7. Articles accessed from websites are cited in the references section, but websites themselves are not. If an author wants to include a link to another website, that should be done in-text only.

8. If an author cites a work that appears both in print and online (or in some other electronic form), he/she should give the reference for both the print and the online article.

9. Make sure that quotations of materials published electronically give a paragraph number where the quote can be found. Example: "As Ligett (2000, para. 5) put it, "TS staff are beyond peer."

10. The citation for a personal communication requires the initials of the person's first name (and middle name, if appropriate), not just the last name.

11. Common entries in the References section look like this:

Benchley, P. (1999). The results are in. Multivision, 9, 4-7. Armonk, NY: Goody.

Brown, M. (1998, September). New teacher for a new age: The myths and realities of the global classroom. Paper presented at Flexible Learnings: The Apple University Consortium Conference at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Burgert, S. (2000). Mayville State and Valley City State Universities: Sharing a vision. EDUCAUSE Quarterly, 23 (1), 46-49.

Chaffee, E. (1999). Finding the will and the way. In M. Luker (Ed.), Preparing your campus for a networked future (pp. 81-92). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Chaffee, E. (2000). The impact of technology on institutional planning. In J. Boettcher, M. Doyle, and R. Jensen (Eds.), Technology-driven planning: Principles to practice. (pp. 69-78). Ann Arbor: Society for College and University Planning.

Linser, R., Naidu, S., & Ip, A. (1999). Pedagogical foundations of Web-based simulations in political science. In J. Winn (ed.), Proceedings of the Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (pp. 191-198). Retrieved October 23, 2000 from the World Wide Web:

Winn, W. (1997, May). Learning in hyperspace. University of Maryland System Institute for Distance Education and the International University Consortium Conference on Learning, Teaching, Interacting in Hyperspace: The potential of the Web. Retrieved October 10, 1998, from the World Wide Web:
        **Note the unusual number of proper nouns in this title means almost every word is capitalized. Although it looks strange, APA says this is the correct form of capitalization for this title.

Checklist after copyediting

1. Run a spell check.

2. Proof the author's bio for the same mechanical and stylistic problems. References should be in the third person, using the author's last name. Titles such as "Dr." or "Ms." are not used, and positions are not capitalized. Example: "Dr. Smith is Director of The Lobotomy Group, Inc." should be changed to "Smith is director of The Lobotomy Group, Inc."

3. If the article you are copyediting has already been posted to the mockup, correct any problems with the way the article appears on the Web, including font and font size, color, heading size, etc. Note that the titles of the articles are bolded and in a different color, but that they are in the same font and font size.

4. Make sure that each reference cited in the text of the article has a corresponding entry in the references section, and vice versa. If not, ask the author about the discrepancy. Make sure all the bibliographic information is provided for every entry. If any of the references are online, all in-text citations and the entry in the reference section for that work should be linked to it. Check to make sure that the links take the reader directly to the page s/he would expect to find, not to a search page or the contents page of another journal.

5. Make sure all in-text citations and all references in the references section conform to TS style.

6. Make sure all links work, including the links to the author's name and bio and any links within the bio.

7. Make sure the article looks right in IE and Netscape.