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HSLIC LibGuides Style Guide

This guide is intended for HSLIC employees to assist in the creation of their guides.

Audience & Jargon

  • Think about who the user of the guide is. What do they need and why? It can be tempting to start building guides to just house resources, but we need to be purposeful in building instructional tools.
    • You might be creating a guide for a specific department geared towards faculty and researchers one day and a subject guide for undergraduate students getting started with literature searching another day. It is okay to adapt the way you structure guides and how much instructional content you provide based on this. While we do want some standardization of design and tone across all guides, that is not to limit you from adapting the guides you create to suit the needs of your audience.
  • Write content from a user-centered approach, avoiding library jargon, and communicate messages as briefly as possible.


In headlines, capitalize the following:
  • The first word in the headline
  • Verbs, even if they’re short (e.g., Be, Is, Are)
  • Conjunctions and prepositions that contain five or more letters (e.g., About, Around, Beside, Through, Toward, Under)
  • All other words (e.g., nouns, pronouns, adverbs, adjectives)
In headlines, use lower-case for the following:
  • Articles (e.g., a, an, the), conjunctions (e.g., and, but, for, or, nor, yet, so) and prepositions that contain four or fewer letters (e.g., by, for, in, of, on, to, with)
  • For example, Board Is Under No Obligation to Disclose Source, Lawyer Says
Publication titles:
  • Make sure to capitalize "The" if a title in includes it.
  • For example, "The New York Times" or "The Albuquerque Journal"


  • Use only one space, not two, after periods and other punctuation. 
  • Place commas and periods inside (before) ending quotation marks, not outside (after) them.
    • For example: Be sure to visit the Maxwell Museum's exhibit, "People of the Southwest."
  • Use a serial comma.
    • For example: The purpose of this document is to create a vision based on agreed commonalities, strengths, and goals.
  • Insert a comma after introductory clauses.
    • In the pages of this report, we shine a light on our second year of this plan.
  • Use a comma in a compound sentence (a sentence that contains two independent clauses joined by a coordinator such as "and," "but," "for," etc.
    • In the pages of this report, we shine a light on the second year of the plan.

Dashes & Hyphens

  • Use an em dash (—), not a hyphen or hyphens, to indicate a break in thought.
  • Use an en dash (–), not a hyphen, to indicate a range of dates, times, etc. Do not place a space on either side of the em dash or en dash.
    • For example: UNM’s cast performed the play—Disney’s Beauty and the Beast—July 9–11, 2009.


  • Use the ampersand (&) instead of spelling out "and" in guide, page, or box titles
  • Don't use the ampersand (&) in the body of the text unless you are referring to the title


  • Use "we" instead of "UNM Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center." Personal pronouns are more readable and reduce text size. Users will know "we" refers to the Libraries.
  • Use an individual’s self-identified pronouns if known.
  • Use “they/them/their/theirs,” if an individual’s self-identified pronouns are not known. Also note that in this singular pronoun set many use “themself” rather than “themselves” although both are typically acceptable.

Standardized Terms

It’s important that there is standardization of frequently used terms. Some examples:

  • ebook not e-book. 
  • ejournal not e-journal.
  • catalog not catalogue.
  • web not Web.
  • website not web site.
  • email not e-mail. 
  • Internet / internet: Capitalize when used as a noun (e.g. "on the Internet") but not when used as an adjective (e.g. "internet resources").
  • database not research database or online database.
  • health care to refer to provider actions 
  • healthcare to refer to a system
  • off campus not off-campus

Examples when referring to library products or services:

  • Interlibrary Loan not ILL. Though you can put ILL in parentheses after Interlibrary Loan - Interlibrary Loan (ILL).
  • WorldCat not WorldCat Local.
  • Research Guide not LibGuide(s). Only refer to LibGuides as the product not the content.


  • HSC not "the HSC"
  • HSLIC not "the HSLIC"


Use “e.g.” and “i.e.” appropriately, and follow each with a comma.

  • The abbreviation “e.g.” stands for the Latin “exempli gratia” and means “for example.” Use this term to list a few examples of many possible scenarios. When you use “e.g.,” don’t add “etc.” to the end of the list of examples.
  • For example, “In English and mathematics, these courses have numbers that are below 101 (e.g., 098, 099 and 100).”
  • The abbreviation “i.e.” stands for the Latin term “id est” and means “that is.” When you use “i.e.,” you are restating what you just said in another way to clarify the meaning.
  • For example, “One strategy is to base premiums on the expense utilization of both carriers (i.e., Lovelace and Presbyterian).”


  • Database titles should be capitalized.
  • Titles of books, magazines, journals and films/movies should be capitalized.
  • Unlike in formal writing, book, journal, and other titles don’t have to be in italics or quotation marks.
  • Use bold, italics, and different text colors sparingly for accessibility.
  • Avoid using the underline feature, hyperlinks will automatically include appropriate formatting.


Bulleted or numbered lists are encouraged. Create lists with the following in mind:

  • Use parallel construction to ensure all items in list are consistent (e.g., all words are nouns or complete sentences).
  • Use punctuation only if list items are complete sentences.
  • Keep information as short as possible.


  • Do not type out actual email addresses, instead use non-scrape-able text like “email us”  and add the email hyperlink to that content.
    • Note: Unless there is a specific reason why you need to include an email please use the "Need Help? Contact Us!" box or your Profile Box.

Additional Guidelines

  • Use "we" instead of "UNM Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center." Personal pronouns are more scannable and reduce text size. Users will know "we" refers to the Libraries.
  • Don't put opening or closing hours in your text. Hours are subject to change, and your text will quickly become out-dated. Link to the Hours page instead.
  • Don't use absolute directions/positions when referring to a specific box/column. Your guide is responsive and columns will shift around for different screen sizes. 
    • For example: "Additional information can be found in the Resources box."

Division Head; Education, Consultation & Reference Services

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Ingrid Hendrix
Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center
Room 216e